How did Pearl Jam top its guest-laden headlining set at Saturday's PJ20 birthday celebration / festival in East Troy, WI? The band capped the weekend Sunday (Sept. 4) with a three-hour workout that included a second Temple of the Dog reunion with Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, inspired individual guest spots by The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, John Doe, Liam Finn, Mudhoney and Dhani Harrison, as well as a finale-jam featuring all 12 of the fests other acts. But Pearl Jam itself and its powerhouse of rockers and soaring ballads was the clear star of the 33-song fusillade of music.
While the first night's set leaned heavily on rarities, the Seattle veterans threw Sunday's packed crowd into a frenzy by hitting hard with favorites from the early days -- "Alive," "Even Flow," "Jeremy" and "Black" (all from 1991's "Ten"), 1993's "Daughter" with a special tag of Dead Moon's "It's Ok," -- to post-millennial gems. 2009's "The Fixer" was a crowd riler, and 2002's "Love Boat Captain," a song written after PJ's own concert-death tragedy in 2000, was played "with love and support" for the bands and families affected by the recent stage collapses in Indiana and at Belgium's Pukkelpop festival.
But the guests spots throughout the three-encore night made it special as well. When else might you catch Chris Cornell turning Pearl Jam into Temple of the Dog and rocking "Reach Down" with a backup choir of Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard, Dhani Harrison, David Garza and Liam Finn? And collaboration had already been afoot earlier as not only did Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Mike McCready play during Joseph Arthur's set and Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme sat in for The Strokes' "New York City Cops," Eddie Vedder dueted during the sets of Liam Finn (singing AND drumming), John Doe (for a sweet version of Doe's "Golden State"), Glen Hansard ("Falling Slowly") and the Strokes ("Juicebox") in the bright cool sunshine of summer's unofficial last weekend.
Marking 20 years of Pearl Jam, "doesn't make us feel old," frontman Eddie Vedder announced halfway through the night. "It feels like a rebirth, a new beginning." And to prove it, he performed a song he'd somehow written in the mere 14 hours between leaving the stage Saturday and showing up Sunday. The emotional, as-yet-untitled acoustic ballad, seemed to capture Pearl Jam's two decades of hard-earned vitality with lyrics that included, "to be so in love with life as we are now / never thought we could / so glad we made it 'til when it all got good."
Pearl Jam's Canadian tour kicks off Wednesday (Sept. 7) in Montreal, they play "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" on Sept. 8-9, Cameron Crowe's "Pearl Jam Twenty" doc premieres at the Toronto International Film Fest on Sept. 10, and the accompanying book lands Sept. 13.
Here is Pearl Jam's Sept. 4 Set List:
All Night (w/ Glen Hansard, David Garza & Joseph Arhur backing vocals)
Given To Fly
Love Boat Captain
Habit w/ Liam Finn
Red Mosquito (w/ Julian Casablancas)
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter A Small Town (w/ Dhani Harrison)
New World w/John Doe
New Song, Vedder solo acoustic
Public Image (Public Image Limited cover)
Smile (w/ Glen Hansard)
Spin The Black Circle
Hunger Strike (Chris Cornell duets with Vedder)
Call Me A Dog (Cornell w/ PJ)
All Night Thing (Cornell w/ PJ)
Reach Down (w/ backing vocals by Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard, Dhani Harrison, David Garza and Liam Finn)
Sonic Reducer (w/ Mudhoney)
Rockin' In The Free World (w/ all acts on the bill)
Yellow Ledbetter/Star Spangled Banner