Forget about Sting and his never-ending tantric sex. Pearl Jam just proved that its own Eddie Vedder is the master at giving it to us long, hard and deep.
Pearl Jam rocked a packed Scottrade Center on October 3 with three exhilarating hours of hits spanning the band's 25-year career. Three hours. Let that sink in. Three freaking hours. That's how long the Gilligan's Island crew was to have been on their doomed boat. That's longer than many baseball games. That's almost enough time to drive across the state to Kansas City. Three hours. An epic set like that is practically unheard of these days, but the grunge gods made sure that every glorious minute counted.
See also: Photos: Pearl Jam at Scottrade Center
Before any of that delightful rock happened, though, fans had to deal with unorganized security and massive lines. We're not sure what caused the backup -- after all, Scottrade Center had successfully processed Pearl Jam's sell-out shows and legions of fans in years' past. All we know is that RFT Music arrived at 6:45 p.m., didn't move forward more than five feet in 30 minutes, and finally made it through security and to our seat at 7:45 p.m. -- fifteen minutes past the start time listed on the ticket.
Good thing, then, that the show didn't begin on time. As Pearl Jam promised in a tweet, video screens in the arena showed the Los Angeles Dodgers trouncing the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in the National League Division Series. At first, that is. While waiting for PJ to show up, fans were treated to Matt Carpenter's solo home run that ignited a Cards rally over several innings. When the arena lights finally went out at 8:30 p.m., the Redbirds were up 7-6, and Scottrade had transformed into a mini Busch Stadium full of euphoric fans. (The Cardinals went on to beat the Dodgers 10-9.)
Most attendees were cool with Pearl Jam taking the spotlight away from the Cardinals. Seconds after the band walked onto the stage, Vedder already began making a "Come on, give it to us" gesture, beckoning the crowd to lose its shit over a group they hadn't seen since 2010. With nothing but spotlights on a darkened stage, Pearl Jam kicked into "Pendulum" from 2013's Lightning Bolt.
Pearl Jam seemed thrilled to be performing again after taking a short break from the Lightning Bolt tour. The St. Louis show was the second of the latest leg of said tour that's been grinding around the world for the past year, and Vedder and guitarist Mike McCready were especially animated, jubilantly bouncing around the stage and interacting with fans. Even Jeff Ament, who often looks like he believes playing music is the worst chore in the world, grinned a bit as he crouched low and made his bass purr during "Go" and then did some classic rock-star kicks for "Do the Evolution."
For a lesser band, a three-hour set might get bogged down with a few duds or too many downers. In Pearl Jam's capable hands, though, the time was filled with powerful singles and B-sides at a pace that gave the audience just enough time to breathe between monster rockers. This show's iteration of "Corduroy" was one of the best and most rousing we've seen, with Vedder singing a quick "Top of the eighth" Cardinals update first and McCready thrilling fans with an extended, funkified version of his classic behind-the-head guitar solo. "Corduroy" was so damn good, it felt like a no-holds-barred finale song, even though we were only about eight tunes into the night.
Likewise, "Even Flow" from 1991's Ten was freshened up quite a bit, with McCready howling out a solo that occasionally dipped into some minor chords and sounded like a freight train intent on plowing into your brain and leaving you happy about it. Meanwhile Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard battled it out next to the amps, teasing each other into a "Whose dick is bigger?" guitar-off that left fans breathless.
Find out which covers Pearl Jam did on page two.