June 26, 2007
By Ryan Colditz
This show was 7 years in the making...
While playing at the nearby Roskilde Festival in Denmark in 2000, nine fans were killed during Pearl Jam's set by the surging crowd. Last night was their first return to Denmark since the event that nearly brought an end to the band, and it was clear the tragedy was still forefront in everyone's minds. It was a night to honor the nine lost, while at the same time a celebrating life and the long road it is.
Before the show even started, Eddie Vedder brought everyone together when he surprised the early-bird crowd by coming on stage with an amazing version of "Throw Your Arms Around Me." Following Vedder's appetizer, The Futureheads opened up with a very upbeat opening set, high in energy that carried through the eentire evening. I had the chance to meet the guy in The Futureheads before the show – they're an amazing group of guys who lent a helping hand to me and all my friends, making this night one for the history books. Check them out next time they come to town, well worth the time.
What followed was one hell of an emotional concert. Even the big vikings who were in desperate search of a mosh pit to stomp around in were awestruck, dripping in tears rather than blood by what was happening on stage. "Love Boat Captain," written about the tragedy in Roskilde, directly addressed the horrible accident, while "Long Road," "Hard to Imagine" and "Alive" brought the 10,000 people from all over the world together as one single voice of strength to get each other through what happened and embrace the night of powerful music with friends all around.
The real jaw-dropping moment of the night occurred when Peal Jam unleashed their the first-ever live performance of The Who's "Love Love Reign O'er Me." The classic piano intro was nailed masterfully by the band's keyboard/organ player, Boom Gasper, and from there Vedder reigned over the entire city for five minutes as he belted out Roger Daltrey-like screams and wails to a shock and awed crowd. You'll have to listen to the official "bootleg" they will release of the show, but it was bone-chillingly good, with even more passion than the studio version. It's just one more reminder that even through all the tragedy and sadness, Pearl Jam are still going strong, sounding better than they have in a decade, and are here to stay.
After the first set, which contained one-after-another jams that had everyone going from tears to shear insanity from one song to the next, everyone was spent like an Amsterdam hooker, and the encore sets were more relaxed and fun, as the crowd sang along to "Black," "Alive," "Better Man," and "Rockin' In The Free World," followed by another Mike McCready-led "Yellow Ledbetter" to close the show. The band was visibly affected by the warm reception and love from the crowd, and as Vedder said, this event was not meant as a closure to Roskilde, but rather as a way to connect some roads and paths, and then move on.
Not much more can explain this show, no written account could convey the feeling inside that building where fans from all over the world came together for one reason. The nine lost friends we all who were taken too early seven years ago. We miss you all.
Eddie pre-set: Throw Your Arms Around Me (by Hunters & Collectors)
Set List: Long Road, Corduroy, Why Go, Do The Evolution, In Hiding, Love Boat Captain, Love Reign O'er Me (The Who), Severed Hand, Light Years, Marker In The Sand, Given To Fly, Breath, I Am Mine, Small Town, Hard To Imagine, Life Wasted, Porch
1st encore: No More, World Wide Suicide, Down, Once, Black, Alive
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2nd encore: Better Man/Save It For Later (General Public), Rockin' In The Free World (Neil Young), Yellow Ledbetter
Photo by Lars Krabbe: Click the photo for more of his photos from the concert