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July 1st Pearl Jam @ Nissan Pavilion

Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge in Manassas, VA is a decent place to see a concert. It's a large enough venue to draw big names, and the acoustics are good. The parking and road considerations, however, are HORRIBLE. Bad enough to make me think twice about going to any more weekday shows there, thanks to the congestion on the DC beltway and along I-66 to get there. Even leaving takes forever, as the mass of humanity puts too many cars on too little roadway.

Thankfully, Pearl Jam had an awesome show. Due to traffic I missed catching the Buzzcocks, who were the opener. Pearl Jam came on around 8:30 pm, and played through until 11:05 pm. The house lights were on for the entire second encore. I think they were supposed to leave the stage, but they wanted to keep playing. They'd already slagged the place beforehand. Eddie Vedder (who cut his hair short, BTW) mentioned that their original plan was to play "this other place [they] like, Merriweather." Which is in Columbia and MUCH closer for me.

They played bunches of songs from across their albums. Evenflow, Why Go, Jeremy, Black, Daughter, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Rearviewmirror, Spin the Black Circle, Do the Evolution, Given To Fly, There He Goes, and many more. They even pulled a Sting and started singing White Male American over the instrumentation at the end of Daughter. After two verses, the guitar part changed, and Eddie sang "We don't need no education" and the crowd cheered and picked up from there. After the crowd sang "Teacher leave them kids alone", Eddie repeated that line twice, though the second time he changed it to "Rumsfeld leave them kids alone." That caused some cheering and snickering. But he spoke out during the concert about the importance of activism regardless of belief, of being heard.

As I said before, they did two encores. The second was composed of Why Go and a cover of Neil Young's "Keep On Rocking in the Free World". That song is my favorite memory of Pearl Jam from TV, where they performed that song with Neil Young himself as part of some MTV award show some years back. They're still a solid band today, and worth seeing.

On a side note, some guy in front of me on the lawn section was sitting down and staring at his indiglo cell phone for a half an hour. He keeled over after that and passed clean out. Enough that one other person near us ran for security to make sure he was okay. The guy woke up after being shaken by security for two minutes, but he was obviously whacked out on something. They were going to let him leave if he could under his own power. He made the mistake of coming back later and they spotted him and I believe they then escorted him out. Not exactly a smart manuever.

- Pookah

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