Düsseldorf, Germany, ISS Dome
June 21, 2007
By Ryan Colditz
The German crowd at the ISS Dome Germany was more reminiscent of a fütbol match than a rock concert, but tonight Pearl Jam was the attraction, playing the town for the first time in the 21 German appearances the band has made over their career. To say these fans were excited to see the Seattle band was an understatement, as the crowd brought singer Eddie Vedder to tears, professing how this was the best crowd they have seen of their most recent European tour.
Everyone was treated to an onslaught of head-banging jams, more than your usual, run of the mill Pearl Jam experience we're used to seeing in America. Maybe the band was rested, maybe it was the fans' intensity, but what happened was a performance that everyone will remember for a long time to come. Even from the opening song "Sometimes", the tempo started calm and collected, then rose to a fever pitch as the band ripped. In-your-face jams "Whipping" and "Brain of J", followed by "Do the Evolution" worked the crowd into a fury that wouldn't ease up until late into the opening set.
An enthusiastic, energized and inebriated Vedder fed off the thirsty, beer-drinking crowd, smashing a stage light to death with his mic stand, sending a message just how urgent the night was and how nothing would get in his way. Things were going to be different tonight. Feeling the overwhelming open arms of the local crowd, many who have never seen the band live before, he took the opportunity to thank everyone for the hospitality, asked if speaking in English was alright, and took the opportunity to take a request from a fan, offering up a rare deep cut performance of "Rats", off the bands' third album, Vitalogy. (oops, that would be their 2nd album, Vs.)Back-to-back songs "Breath" and "State of Love and Trust" were a special treat.
Between each song of the two and a half hour show, I was reminded time after time how boring US crowds can be and why American bands love to tour overseas. Up front, bodies moved like a vast sea with the energy of the music. Even in the very back people were engaged in every song, feeling the passion that filled the room.
Taking their cue from the fütbol matches normally held here, everyone in the building held hands outstretched, flickering their fingers in what looked like religious ecstacy, drawing the band back to the stage for more. During "Why Go," everyone sung along in perfect English, chanting the chorus "Why go home?" and I couldn't agree more. We were all ready to make this evening an all-night affair.
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But it wasn't to be. The crowd was sent off in style by guitarist Mike McCready serenading us with a moving version of "Yellow Ledbedder." A classic end to a classic performance, and a big danke schoen to Düsseldorf.
Pearl Jam - Not For You, Dusseldorf, June 21, 2007
Ryan Colditz wrote about Pearl Jam's Live at the Gorge album, and is following the band across Europe for the next week.