Pearl Jam * 6.15.08 * Bonnaroo * set two

The second set from Pearl Jam's epic performance at Bonnaroo 2008, featuring "Black," "Porch," "Crazy Mary," "Alive," "All Along the Watchtower" and more. You can find set one here, and a solo concert from Eddie Vedder here. Enjoy!

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"...let it be known that everyone seemed in fine fettle as they took the stage to a deafening roar at the end of a beautiful day. The lovely "Hard to Imagine" bled into "Corduroy," then the outtake "All Night" showed up for the first time in history to test the song-recognition skills of everyone present. (For the record, neither I nor some people who really should have known could figure out what it was until we heard it.) "Elderly Woman..." was its usual en masse effort (Hel-LOOOOOOOO), and by the time things reached "Severed Hand"-- a newish track now warm and familiar-- Ed was coated in sweat, his Boy Scout uniform shirt soaked through as he reached out, imploring the audience to join him on whatever emotional plane he'd found. On "1/2 Full," he pulled out my favorite Vedder trick: using his guitar as a mirror to reflect a stage spotlight out into the crowd, holding the exploding beacon above his head like He-Man's rock n' roll sword.

From the platform above the stage, the crowd was a literal rainbow of orange, red, yellow, green lights, faces and arms outstretched all the way back to the arch that marks the farthest spot on the mainstage field, at least a three-minute golf cart ride away. I ran a couple system checks to determine the ratio of Jamily to casual fan-- do they know to boooom at Boom? do they have the hand gestures up and running?-- and amazingly, I think most in attendance were just here because it's Bonnaroo, and Pearl Jam are something to see. Last night's wasn't a greatest hits set, particularly, but who needs that? The strength of this band is in their ability to transfer their passion into others, "Jeremy" or not. Everyone stayed, everyone sang, everyone responded when Ed asked them to. "Music cannot make change," he said at one point, saying it was instead the right and responsibility of each and every one of us to change our world. "Do you agree that this is the time and place for this kind of talk?" Yes. Yes we did.

Further snippets from the show stand out: the cover of "Reign O'er Me" that got me psyched for VH1 Rock Honors, and whose violent beauty I have decided to rename "Rain On Me" and dedicate to MMJ; the 4-minute breakdown in the middle of "Rearviewmirror" that reminded me the second word in this band's name is, after all, "jam"; Ed comparing the crowd to Amsterdam ("If you told me to f--- off in Dutch right now, I wouldn't be surprised"); hearing "W.M.A." live. Eventually, because I am an extraordinarily lucky girl and the Pearl Jam staff are the nicest people on the planet, I found myself on the side of the stage, able to look out from the band's perspective and gasp at the sea of lighters that appeared during the opening chords of "Betterman." The music quieted down, Mike McCready kneeled at the back line, at we all took a minute to marvel at the sparkling black. "F---in' beautiful," Ed said, before resuming the singalong."