Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Good Things With Pearl Jam

Baltimore Raven/GoT Themed Poster

The circle is complete. Chicago...Album Release....Baltimore. Last Sunday marked the end of my personal Pearl Jam trilogy for 2013. Of course the concert was great and they sounded amazing. Folks were right when they said the "sound" in the Baltimore Arena is excellent. I hadn't been to a show there in years and couldn't remember. Everything was loud and clear, unlike being near the top of the Verizon Center where everything sounds like junk.

Sad day for music fans as Lou Reed died earlier on Sunday. Pearl Jam paid tribute to Lou with a few words and a few songs. The setlist (below) was solid. I'll admit that I'd probably switch out at least a dozen of those songs for other tunes they are playing on this tour. But don't mistake that for not wanting to hear what they played. It was more of a desire to hear songs that I haven't before on tour.

Setlist with Mr.Reed

Now comes the drama and the happy ending for my story. Headed up to Baltimore early to stop by the arena and hit the merch tent. My goal was to buy a t-shirt, some stickers and two Baltimore posters (one for me, and one for Timmy). Looking at the Ten Club group on Facebook, it seemed that these tents opened around 12:30, so getting there between 1-2 shouldn't be a problem. Well.....they opened before noon and were sold out of posters when I got there.....stickers too. I bought a Baltimore t-shirt and figured I would be there when doors opened to get a poster inside.

I was holding tickets for 2 others and our communications were messed up. I thought they were meeting me at the arena and then getting dinner before the show. When they arrived, I headed back over....but when I got back there they had already hopped a cab to go grab dinner around 10 blocks away. So, the doors opened and I was unable to go inside for a poster run. Eventually I was able to leave their tickets with somebody else but by then it was too late. Posters were sold out again. Checking Ebay....people had already begun putting them up there for $100+ with pictures of them from their cars.

On Tuesday I posted this story on the Ten Club facebook group as a vent. Still loved the show and my t-shirt. Just wished they had posters available to members and wanted to share my frustrations. Then something happened......another member that was near me in MoCo had an extra Baltimore poster. She bought it for her cousin who was going to the show also. But this cousin managed to get one for themselves, so she had an extra. She offered to sell it to me for face value. But I had another idea. I offered an extra Chicago poster I was planning on framing to show the back (these posters have messages from the artists on the backs) in exchange for her extra Baltimore poster. She agreed and Diane is my new favorite Pearl Jam fan. She's been to over 100 shows and flown to other countries to see them. Also, she tells me that she has been collecting posters for a long time now. I hope one day to meet back up and see some of these. Either way, she was my Pearl Jam Angel and I can't thank her enough. My new poster is on the dinning room table now being flattened out. Once ready, I will be framing it along with my ticket.

So....a story that started with Craig being sick and unable to go to Chicago (bummer)....ended with a happy story of fans coming together. I love my poster. Diane says she digs the Chicago poster. Everybody is happy.

The End.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Belated Review: Gravity

I like Sandra Bullock mostly because she can be really funny. Yeah, she's been in a wide range of movies that range from action to drama to comedy and now Sci Fi. But its stuff like this that makes me like her so much.

However, Gravity is her "Castaway". Gravity is the movie people like me will look back at and think "Man, she did a ton of alone time and I was totally sucked in". She will win some big time awards for this.

Usually I am not a fan of 3D movies because I have to wear the special glasses over my other glasses. But this was a movie that enough people recommended to be seen in 3D, and they were totally right. This doesn't mean I am a 3D fan, or would pick it over clean IMAX. But if the reviews for a 3D version of something are enough.....then I might be game.

Anyway, I don't like to give away the, I'll post a link to the trailer and let you see for yourselves.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Belated Review: Sound City

One of my favorite cable stations is Palladia, usually because they will play these great festival shows that are happening in Europe. I especially enjoy when its an 80's tour and you might see Howard Jones, then Billy Ocean, and maybe the Bangles (I just invented that line-up). On top of the live music they replay on this station, they also will run great music documentaries like Pearl Jam 20 and one that I've watch twice through already, Sound City. Produced and directed by Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), the documentary is about (duh) Sound City Studios in the Los Angeles area. Check out the trailer........

After watching this a few times, I went online to look up some of the history and the artists who have recorded at Sound City. Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Neil Young, Tom Petty all made hit records there. It seemed that most of them gave credit to two things. That for whatever reason, a room that looks like drums shouldn't sound great it......helps drums sound great. Then most importantly to a lot of artists, the custom Neve 8078 mixing console.

Rick Rubin and Dave Grohl
The documentary goes back to the late 60's with the beginnings as a smaller recording studio, to the formation of the most popular version of Fleetwood Mac basically happening there. All the way into the 80's with the hair-rock stuff, and then something of a rebirth in the 90's with Nirvana. Then their battle to stay relevant with everything going digital and finally their closing and Dave Grohl buying the Neve console and bringing it to his own private studio.

I want to basically just write the story of the whole film, which would be a waste since I want everybody to actually see it. So, watch the the documentary. I very much recommend it.

If you do....let me know what you think. @AEEckert

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And a Lightning Bolt Strikes

Feels like this is the second part of a trilogy for my own personal Pearl Jam experience this year. Part One was flying to Chicago to see Pearl Jam play at Wrigley Field. Now, we didn't know they would also be going on tour this fall when the tickets for Chicago were purchased. Not that it matters, but the original plan was only that show.

Side pose waiting for schwag

Chicago was interesting.....Friend Craig was unable to go because of some medical stuff. Lucky for Lisa, Leah and myself, another friend MaryEllen and her family live in the Chicagoland area and her husband was willing to take the open ticket. Weird thing was that the show only got through 20-30 min before a huge Lightning (Bolt) delay that last 2 hours. Bryce was unable to stick around (bummer) and I was sitting there thinking the show would be canceled. A little before midnight the band came back out and Eddie Vedder told the crowd that the city extended curfew until 2am....which was 3am east coast time. Eddie played "All The Way" which I believe is the Chicago Cubs anthem and they brought out 80+ year old Cub great Ernie Banks who welcomed everybody to his home. It was one of those shows I am thankful to have attended. Show did end at 2am Chicago time and we dragged our asses back to the place we were staying. Awesome show.

Here is the setlist from Chicago

Set One:
  • Release 
  • Nothingman 
  • Present Tense 
  • Hold On 
  • Low Light 
  • Come Back 
  • Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town 

Set Two:
  • All The Way 
  • (Eddie Vedder song) (with Ernie Banks)
  • All Night 
  • Do the Evolution 
  • Setting Forth (Eddie Vedder song)
  • Corduroy 
  • Faithfull 
  • Mind Your Manners 
  • Lightning Bolt (live debut)
  • State of Love and Trust 
  • Wishlist 
  • Even Flow 
  • Leatherman 
  • Eruption (Van Halen cover)
  • Bugs 
  • Why Go 
  • Unthought Known 
  • Rearviewmirror 
  • Encore:
  • Future Days (with Brendan O'Brien) (live debut)
  • Mother  (Pink Floyd cover)
  • Chloe Dancer (Mother Love Bone cover)
  • Crown of Thorns (Mother Love Bone cover)
  • Porch 
  • Wasted Reprise 
  • Life Wasted 
  • Black 
  • Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young cover)

Quick note - Thanks for MaryEllen and Bryce to showing me their Chicago. MaryEllen came and toured the city with me the next day. Then we went back to their house in the burbs and Bryce, his Pal and I went to pick up an authentic deep dish pizza. Awesome time....thank you both.

Willis Tower

Today (10/15) Pearl Jam released the new studio album "Lightning Bolt" about 5 days after they started their fall tour. I've listened to it once through this morning and really enjoyed the whole thing. Sounds like Eddie's voice has been resting and/or the range has expanded. Either way, he sounds strong. The band sounds great. Its a solid album with a number of good songs.

Songs that stood out to me immediately are.....

  • Lightning Bolt (Title Track)
  • Infallible
  • Let the Records Play
  • Sleeping By Myself
  • Yellow Moon

So, today is "Part Two" of this trilogy. Had the first show and the new release. Next will be the Baltimore show a week from Sunday.

Stay tuned for that.