Pearl Jam were supposed to play Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater in March 2020, but COVID had other plans. It took until last night (Sept. 10) for the band to make up the gig, which was broadcast live on the band’s SiriusXM channel Pearl Jam Radio. It was open only to contest winners.
As has been the case on the first four shows on this leg of the band’s current tour, the show started with band members seated and playing more down-tempo material. “Footsteps” as opened and was followed by the infrequently performed “Pendulum,” “Sleight of Hand” and “Parachutes.”
Something wasn’t working quite right with the PA, however, and the band stopped while the system was reset. Vedder killed time with a solo rendition of Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me in Your Heart,” and within a few minutes, the other members returned to showcase seven songs from the 2020 album Gigaton, the release of which was meant to be celebrated at the original Apollo show.
The newer material sounded excellent, with guitarist Mike McCready providing multiple highlights thanks to his solos and manic energy on “Take the Long Way,” “Retrograde” and “Quick Escape.”
“Spin the Black Circle” was dedicated to Howard Stern and his co-host Robin Quivers, the latter of whom Vedder said he’d finally met for the first time earlier in the evening. “Whipping” was also a nice touch, despite a false start and some flubbed lyrics by Vedder.
The encore was packed with “Better Man,” “Do the Evolution,” “Baba O’Riley” and “Indifference,” after which Vedder profusely thanked the Sirius staff as well as the hardcore fans who’ve stuck with the band for more than 30 years.
Tonight, Pearl Jam will play Madison Square Garden on a night that will have extra significance on the 21st anniversary of 9/11.
Pearl Jam Apollo Theater Setlist:
Sleight of Hand
Hard to Imagine
Keep Me in Your Heart
Who Ever Said
Dance of the Clairvoyants
Spin the Black Circle
Take the Long Way
Do the Evolution