Tag: <span>Pearl Jam</span>

We’ve been to theatre to see Alan Cumming in MacBeth. It was stunning, powerful, and brilliantly acted. We were sat in the front row, at eye level with the actors. The premise is simple enough, Alan Cumming plays a MacBeth gone mad, revisiting the routes of his demise, set in the scene of a 60s psychiatric hospital room. He plays most of the parts himself, with some subtle use of props to help distinguish each role. There are some clever interludes to make it fit within the setting but plaudits must go to Cumming, he was sensational and must be absolutely knackered after each performance.

Whilst I’ll admit the ‘star’ name may be what draws the likes of me to the theatre, when the star can deliver a performance like that it can only be a good thing.

We’ve also been to Manchester. Stayed at the fabulous Velvet Hotel on Canal Street, saw Pearl Jam live, drank far too many cocktails and enjoyed a random wander round the city.

We’ve also been to Edinburgh for a night of debauchery which was, as always, a lot of fun. We are getting out and about a lot more and it certainly helps when you know a good number of people.

I’ve also bought a guitar. An acoustic, to get me started. Much cheaper than a keyboard and something new for me to try and learn. Will see how it goes.

And this coming weekend I’ll be buying a new suit, and NOT GOING OUT AT ALL! Just a quiet weekend for us. Can’t wait.

Life

And so it was that, 20 years since first hearing a single called Alive by a band named Pearl Jam, that I sat and listened to the opening chords of Release with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

We’ve been through a lot, Pearl Jam and I, more than I probably remember. Almost every song has some meaning, some emotional memory attached and I’ll happily that I was probably a little over-excited to finally be seeing them live!

Setlist was interesting, they change it every night* so you never know what to expect but some of the song choices weren’t MY favourite but that didn’t detract from the fact that this is a well-seasoned rock band doing something they obviously enjoy. No gimmicks are needed, especially when you’ve got someone with a voice like Eddie Vedder, and despite my general loathing of overly guitar wank solos, even when Mike McCready was letting rip it seemed to fit, seemed to be ‘right’ for the song choice.

Pearl Jam have always been that little bit different. They don’t seem hell bent on commerical success and whilst they are very much a rock band, they always seem to have been happy treading a slightly different path, lyrically and musically. My love for word play drew me to them as I listened to Ten, their first album, and I’ve been a pretty faithful fan since then.

They don’t tour in the UK all that often, and I baulked at £90 for a ticket in London a few years back, but this time around it was a must. I’ve heard a lot of their live stuff, largely because they record most of their gigs and release them on their website for fans to buy. That said, you don’t half get value for money, two and a half hours worth of songs which continued even though the house lights had come on! Quite a sight to see a sold out Manchester Arena singing along to Rockin in the Free World (yup, Neil Young cover) and refusing to leave!!

The only downside was finding out that someone who spoke to Eddie before the gig requested a track, got it played and… yeah well it wouldn’t have been my choice of song, and from the less than enthusiastic response I don’t think it was a massive favourite all round!

Regardless, it was an excellent gig by one of my favourite bands, and for once it was great to have my expectations both met and overwhelmed!! Memories of Eddie swigging on a bottle of wine, the opening chords of Just Breathe (as part of Encore 1), a soaring Given To Fly, Pilate (not often played), and the closing encore of Better Man, Come Back, Jeremy, Alive and that stonking cover of Rockin in the Free World, will remain with me for a long time. Hopefully I’ll see the band sooner rather than later though, and if that means a trip to the USA, so be it!

* Setlist from the gig we attended vs setlist from the gig the next night (and yes, I now wish I’d got tickets to the second night!)

Media

Consequences #7 – Gordon

(Posted over at Vaughan’s)

Take my record collection.

Seriously, help yourself.

It’s an affliction you see, I buy CDs. Lots of them, on whims, or fancies, or to keep up with a particular artist, or.. well.. because I happen to wander past a record shop. Old CDs, ‘classic’ albums, chart releases, obscure artists, compilations, you name it, I’ve probably got it – or at the very least got a track or two by the artist somewhere.

This materialistic affliction has cost me thousands of pounds, not least for the CDs themselves, storage is also an issue (never mind having to dust the damn things). But why do I feel so compelled to continue to buy them? I know fine well that I am prone to hunting down a CD based on a single rave review, usually by someone I don’t know, found on a distant messageboard somewhere. I also know that I like to ‘keep up’ with new releases from my favourite artists, which also includes hunting down their back catalogue lest it be thought I’m a ‘new’ fan (Ohhh whitefish dead – been into them for years, got all their albums you know..).

An inevitable side effect, which I thought I’d managed to escape, reared it’s head just yesterday. The offending item: Pearl Jam – Binaural.

I’d bought it about a year ago, and brought it into work on Monday. A colleague spotted it and borrowed it. On returning it she offered her views on the music. I listened, intrigued, before admitting that I’d never listened to it. Ever.

See that’s the problem. Too many CDs, and never the right mood for some of them. I hate the feeling the most. Of the 500 or so CDs I own,

I can quite easily browse through them looking for something to match my mood, and just easily I can come away thinking “Nah… nothing there”. 500 CDs and I can’t choose one? Of course, all that does is fuel my passion. Can’t find a CD to match your mood? Hit the shops and buy one. Simple!

I’ve tried many times to get to the root of the problem. Is it the acting of buying the CDs that gives me pleasure? No. I don’t buy any old rubbish, I am fairly picky with my choices (Army of Lovers CD aside). Is it the pleasure I get from listening to music? Partly, but I tend to rely on old favourites, so large numbers of my CDs don’t get listened to from month to month (OK, year to year).

I just can’t figure it out. Much to my bank managers consternation.

Help me, I’m confused.

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