Pearl Jam began its fall 2023 tour last night (Aug. 31) at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Mn. in unexpected fashion by performing its 1993 song “Indifference” as an opener for just the third time ever, and first since March 6, 1994. It’s the last song on the band’s sophomore album, Vs., and is almost always played as a finale or near the end of a show, but tonight, it set the table for a 24-song set packed with hits and a handful of other rarities.
Among them were the first performance of the Binaural rocker “Insignificance” since May 10, 2016, and just the second in the past five years of Riot Act‘s “Love Boat Captain,” before which frontman Eddie Vedder spoke emotionally about the devastating wildfire damage in Maui, where he and his family own a home. No Code opener “Sometimes” was also aired for only the third time since 2018.
Before “Black,” Vedder mentioned that his teenage daughters recently watched Pearl Jam’s legendary 1992 performance on MTV Unplugged in his presence. He admitted to not remembering the taping, but after seeing it again, pronounced it “really fucking good.” Vedder also dedicated “Even Flow” to Minnesota Twins baseball legend Rod Carew as well as the team’s current roster, and performed Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” acoustic on 12-string guitar as the first song of the encore, in recognition of Pearl Jam having opened for the late Rock and Roll Hall of Famer at Xcel Energy Center in June 2006.
Pearl Jam returns to the same venue tomorrow and will be on the road through Sept. 18-19 in Austin, Tx. Afterward, Vedder will play with his side band Earthlings at his annual Ohana Festival in Dana Point, Ca., on Sept. 30, and will also stage two solo benefits at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall on Oct. 23-24.
Meanwhile, work continues on Pearl Jam’s 12th studio album with producer Andrew Watt, who first rolled tape with the group in summer 2021 at his Beverly Hills, Ca., studio. The as-yet-untitled effort is expected to be released in 2024.
Here is Pearl Jam’s setlist:
“Given To Fly”
“Mind Your Manners”
“Dance of the Clairvoyants”
“Love Boat Captain”
“State of Love and Trust”
“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”