Power of Metal.dk Live Review

Location: Milton Keynes National Bowl, UK
11 July, 2014

 Pearl Jam


The Bowl is a bitch to get to. A good half an hours walk from the central station and not very well organized in terms of queuing for drinks. On the left side of the stage there was one server for every 30 people. That’s ridiculous. Luckily on the other side there was one for every half dozen or so. Also – the 40 taxi fee for a 12 mile journey. Fuck RIGHT off!

Not a band you would normally expect to find reviewed on a website called ‘The Power Of Metal’, but once in a while a band just smacks you round the head that hard that it doesn’t matter.

Pearl Jam are one of those bands. Much like Iron Maiden – there is something indescribably different about Pearl Jam fans. Perhaps the best example of this was in seeing security guards, presumably bored, timing each other running at the hill on the left side of the stage where there were no fans.

Eddie Vedder always, for some years now, has made a long, drawn out point of telling fans to be careful and look after each other. The crushing of some fans a few years back has, as you’d expect, remained very much ingrained in his memory.

He talks a lot, and he’s slurring 'cos he is swigging wine throughout the performance. Thing is, he gets away with it because even when drinking his voice remains phenomenal. Very few people have a voice that doesn’t waver after over 25 years of doing what he does. It is fantastic.

I was not sure if Matt Cameron would be present on drums or not due to the fact he has been touring with Soundgarden, but he is obviously fulfilling his duties to both bands while they are both touring. That’s commendable.

The only thing that could be improved upon a little is how much the songs are drawn out – making a 3 and half minute song last 8 minutes is a little tiresome in a couple of places. In ‘Daughter’ there is much talking in the middle due to the bands disdain at the various conflicts going on in the world. Though no state is identified, I can only assume he means Russia and Israel because he mentions people ‘going and taking land that doesn’t belong to them’. As much as I agree, I really hate it when this kind of thing comes in to a gig.

Despite the amount of talking and the 3 or 4 excessively drawn out songs, Pearl Jam are there for almost 3 hours and give us over 30 songs.

The set is a very diverse mix with many fan favourites thrown in at the right time to keep people engaged well, and they also know how and when to best change the pace of the set, not letting people wind down too much by having back to back ballads like ‘Black’ and ‘Nothingman’ immediately followed by ‘Go’, the hard hitting opener on their second album, ‘Vs’.

They don’t really have much off of their first two albums – possibly in order to prove (not that I thought otherwise) they are not a band riding on nostalgia like a lot of others that were around at the same time. No. Pearl Jam deliver the goods consistently. It is Pearl Jam gig number 3 for me and there definitely will be many more to come.


Attending: Matt Fabi