Eddie Vedder, 4.8.08

It’s pretty terrible that I didn’t report this closer to the actual concert. So many apologies – I know that the depths of my memory are inversely related to the length of time that passes after an event. Well, that’s not always true. Anyway, I went into this concert a bit apathetic. My original intent was actually to make fun of a friend whose musical tastes have settled comfortably within the Alice In Chains/Eddie Vedder/Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave realm. I think I would consider that “Post-Nirvana Seattle grunge” but, I do admit that I’m not the expert here. My point is that I wasn’t the hugest fan. I will even admit that I found Vedder’s voice annoying whenever I would hear it on the radio, although I could certainly tolerate it over that God-awful grating whine of whoever sings for System of a Down. I really dislike that band.

But there was something intriguing about it. It was certainly intriguing enough for me to fork over the steep Zellerbach entry fee, and I am certainly glad I did. I was pleased to see my friend in such an extended state of joy, and I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the performance. Eddie Vedder is a legend and a pop culture figurehead for a reason. He finishes his thoughts in music, and becomes more expressive with a guitar in hand. Moreover, I could kick myself for finding fault with his voice before; at this concert, his voice was perfect. It was meant for singing, meant for smoothing over rough emotions with a deep, gravelly baritone. And even though I didn’t know the words, I felt like I had heard most of them before. The music was so transcendent, and there was evidence for its immortality in the audience alone. He played covers of Beatles songs and Dylan songs, he referenced his own soundtrack from into the wild, and he played a few classics that i recognized. Everything was simple, acoustic, solo, and timeless. And, to top it off, para colmo, he brought Mike McReady (a fellow Pearl Jammer) and Sean Penn onto the stage.

So I’m pretty sure that, after a three hour show, I got my money’s worth.

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