Review by Meridith Hart, photos by Michael Hart
When Seattle rock legends, Pearl Jam, announced they would be playing two in historic Wrigley Field, both shows sold out in mere minutes. Three years prior, the band played an inaugural show at the ball park which consisted of a three hour rain delay that required special permission from Wrigleyville to break curfew and end at 2am.
Fans were worried history would repeat itself on night one as rain fell a good part of the afternoon. Alas, the rock gods smiled on Chicago and Pearl Jam was able to begin their show at just after 8pm and play over three amazing and emotional hours. The band started off slow with “Low Light”, “Release”, a cover of The Beatles “Rain’, and “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” before plowing into “Do the Evolution” and “Last Exit”. Pearl Jam not only played music but also engaged the crowd with stories of Vedder’s youth in Chicago, a marriage proposal offered during “Just Breathe”, and an emotional speech from Steve Gleason. The 3+ hour set came to a close with the promise to do it again soon.
Night two at Wrigley was one for the collectors offering rarities such as “Don’t Gimme No Lip” and “Black, Red, Yellow” with a special appearance by Dennis Rodman. Both nights included the hopeful anthem of the Cubs, “Go All The Way” with a nostalgic look at the team both past and present.
The crowd was loud and proud, singing along, without incident until the fast-paced song , “Lukin” was stopped abruptly when Eddie Vedder witnessed a man in general admission acting aggressively toward a female fan. The front man had the aggressor promptly ejected.
Night two ended with Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” with Vedder fulfilling his obligatory tambourine toss into the crowd. The lights were on, the stage was empty but the fans did not want to go home. These two nights at Wrigley were a magical close to the 2016 Pearl Jam tour.