Three hours and three encores, what else can a fan ask for from a band? Well, for us Pearl Jam fans, we didn’t need to ask for such a performance as the boys provided a show that bordered on life-altering. I don’t know if it was the abundant electricity that flowed through my veins the minute they stepped on stage, or the scented waves of Mary-Jane that wafted past my face, but Wednesday night the Air Canada Centre in Toronto was the site of one of the best concerts I have ever experienced.
Pearl Jam, as many of us know, has had their ups and downs, especially after the Ten album and the fall of grunge. But 15 years later, and with their abundance of talent, they have had a resurgence lately with the release of their latest self-titled CD. Their fans, many of whom I met on the train ride to the concert, would say that Pearl Jam hasn’t gone anywhere. They would go on further to say that its music, as a whole, that has regrettably spiraled away from the independent core of grunge music to a place that is more commercial and void of defiance. To that end, I cannot argue. What I do know is that Pearl Jam, coming or going, can undoubtedly still bring the goods.
To those of us who have had the pleasure of seeing them live, Pearl Jam is a band that begs to be seen in a large venue. Their music translates its inherent energy to the masses with an abundance in reserve. Eddy’s pipes are as throaty now as they were when I first heard “Alive”, and Stone’s nimble fingers can still announce edgy riffs that shake your insides, charge your soul, and leave a ring in your ears that lasts for days. Believe me; I can still hear “Word Wide Suicide” as if they were playing right next to my computer.