Pearl Jam, Plant Get The Led Out In Chicago
A thousand dollars is a lot for a concert ticket, but Pearl Jam and special guest Robert Plant justified the price last night (Oct. 5) during an intimate benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims at ChicaA thousand dollars is a lot for a concert ticket, but Pearl Jam and special guest Robert Plant justified the price last night (Oct. 5) during an intimate benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims at Chicago's House of Blues. The show raised $1 million for the American Red Cross as well as Habitat for Humanity and the Jazz Foundation of America -- none of whom, joked Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, are subsidiaries of Halliburton.
Plant doesn't typically play venues this cozy, nor does he usually serve as an opening act, but he modestly submitted to both changes of pace for a strong 45-minute set composed mostly of songs from his new "Mighty Rearranger" album, plus Led Zeppelin classics such as "Black Dog" and "Four Sticks."
Pearl Jam's two-hour set felt more like a love-in than a concert, with the vast majority of the crowd made up of rabid fans with deep pockets. "It's good to know people still know how to have fun with their money," quipped Vedder.
With only a passing mention of the event's purpose, Pearl Jam stuck mainly to a career ranging set ("Even Flow," "Better Man," "Corduroy," "Black," "Alive"), each song of which had the audience singing along in unison.
As the last date on its current tour, the band looked a little beat. But the fun was ratcheted up during the second encore, as "Given to Fly" segued into its melodic inspiration, Led Zeppelin's "Going to California," which Plant and two members of his band the Strange Sensation performed beautifully.
Plant then stayed on stage for a run through his past, with Pearl Jam as both accomplice and awed spectator. He and Vedder traded verses on Elvis Presley's "Little Sister" and the apt "Money (That's What I Want)" before offering a unique duet: Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain," with Vedder and Plant sharing a lyric sheet since, shockingly, the latter had never it played in concert.
Following a gorgeous take on "Thank You," with Plant's voice in fine form, he and Pearl Jam returned for Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," featuring a rare instance of Plant foregoing his frontman status by strapping on a guitar and playing along at Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready's side.
Pearl Jam will spend the next month fine-tuning its next studio album, due early next year via J Records, before beginning a South American tour Nov. 22 in Santiago, Chile. Plant resumes his North American outing tonight in Grand Prairie, Texas.