Hot in more ways than one. It was around 40°C in Sydney (that's about 104°F for the Yanks) so we were sweltering out on the field. But really, once the show started I didn't notice. Pearl jam sizzled. Eddie croaked out the vocals with more or less his trademark growl. Apparently he had a bit of a flu so the fact they played for a full 2 hours was pretty damn fine and we barely noticed anything wrong with his voice.
For some reason I thought they'd be a bunch of old fat blokes reliving past glory but nothing could be further from the truth. They looked and played like it was 1995 all over again (shorts n'all). I was lucky enough to be fairly close to the front so had a great view. Sometimes I wonder why the people up the back in and in the stands even bother at these big stadium events. I know that after U2 back in '93 I swore I'd never go to another stadium event with a seat in the stand or the back section of the field. Give me the mosh any day. And speaking of the mosh. Not much going on mosh wise. It looked like most people were obeying the the big warnings flashing up every now again about not moshing or crowd surfing. Considering there were 40,000 people there it wasn't too crowded and no dickheads pushing for the sake of pushing. I suppose that is why they divided the field into two - back and front. Yellow wrist bands got you into the front section. If anything the crowd was too subdued.
Sound wise it wasn't that loud. I'd forgotten my earplugs (hey I'm old, I need my what's left of my hearing and I've been doing this for 25+ years as well) and I could have gotten by but I ended up ripping up a napkin and plugging my ears with that and that worked adequately. It knocks off the top couple of decibels and stops your ears from ringing the next day. Ringing means ear damage.
I thought the set was okay. A good mix of old and new stuff. Anyone hoping to get a greatest hits set though were probably disappointed. They didn't play a few of their monster hits from the early years unfortunately but it would be hard to keep everybody happy. I wonder if they actually sit down and decide, Even Flow or Alive? We got Even Flow.
Ben Harper came out and did his thing on the slide guitar with PJ, and Eddie and Liam Finn did a version of Hunters and Collectors classic "Throw Your Arms Around Me". I think Eddie called it the Blue Summer Sky song though. This is the point where I thought the crowd was a little bit too subdued. I was belting it out, as is tradition for this song, and I could hear myself. Not many people were joining in around me. It was kind of weird and un-Australian to not sing along considering it looked like your average Triple M type crowd. Now that I think of it though, there were quite a few foreigners around me. Europeans I think. I'm sure I heard Spanish and a Nordic language as well as the usual Irish and English accents so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on the people around me for not joining in.
I went in with low expectations. I was annoyed by the heat and the bar situation didn't help. We weren't allowed to take booze in to the stadium itself so it was a bit of an effort to get a beer. Queuing for ages pissed me off but we passed the time chatting to other punters. Pearl Jam went off though and rocked the place. Totally worth it. I still can't believe it has taken me 20 odd years to get around to seeing them.
Pearl Jam have a link to comments about the gig here. For extra awesome I think they also make bootlegs of the shows available from their website at some point. Cool.