Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Eddie Vedder solo!

| August 27, 2008

Eddie Vedder
Auditorium Theatre, Chicago
Thursday, August 21, 2008


It could just as easily have taken place next to a campfire, the mood was so relaxed. But there was no denying the anything-but-subdued ovation that greeted Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder was coming from an enraptured, ticket-buying audience who snatched up some 5,000 tickets in record time. The occasion was the first of two sold-out solo performances at Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium Theatre.

The Evanston native was in the final dates of an East Coast tour that, by evening’s end, seemed less about a trip through the hits of the multi-platinum band he fronts and more about a homecoming/glimpse into his record collection.

During a loose and casual, two-hour performance, Vedder delivered impassioned versions of plaintive songs like “Guaranteed,” “Society,” and “Far Behind,” which were written exclusively for the Into The Wild soundtrack. He also tore through covers from seemingly unrelated artists as diverse as Daniel Johnson (“Walking The Cow”), Cat Stevens (“Trouble”), Nine Inch Nails (“Hurt”), and Nick Cave (“The Ship Song”). Although a few PJ songs made appearances (“Sometimes,” “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town,” and a beautiful reworking of “Better Man”), the greatest-hits package some of the faithful jonesed for was not in the offing.

But to dismiss the opportunity was to do so at your own risk. Vedder’s rich, expressive baritone easily filled the palatial spaces, even if his now patented vocal tics were in seemingly limited supply. And never one to tone down some righteous indignation, the venue occasionally felt like an anti-war rally.

Phil Ochs’ “Here’s To The State Of Mississippi” was recast as an anti-Bush anthem, calling W.’s cronies (Cheney, Gonzales, and Roberts) out onto the mat and demanding them “to find another country to be a part of.” But the evening’s emotional highpoint came when the singer invited his friend and disabled war veteran Tomas Young onstage before a bile-soaked reading of “No More.” The soldier was greeted by a lengthy standing ovation and a packed house singing “No more!” in call-and-response fashion.

Almost two decades ago, Time magazine put Vedder’s face on the cover of a fall issue. Without saying it, the photo painted him as the face of the then-peaking grunge movement. Who would have guessed, 15 years removed from the angst, aggression, and flannel shirts, lurked the sleeping conscious of a modern-day hippie?

Curt Baran

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

About the Author ()

Comments (13)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Chris Justin says:

    Eddie Vedder…….just another Bush basher,who used to be relevant,a long time ago.I wish Vedder and his Hollywood playmates would “find another country”.Perhaps he could go live with Neil Young in Canada.They could sit around and bash Bush,the war and the United States and continue to output musical drivel.

  2. Chris Justin….Just another idiot who is happy that his country has been mauled for the past 8 years by crooks and theives. Perhaps if someone would have given him a decent education outside of his church he would be more thoughtful in his comments.

  3. m. mc says:

    There are very few artist’s in show business who actually know anything about politics. Eddie wears his feelings on his sleeve and he speaks his mind. At least he knows what time it is and he ain’t afraid to say it!
    Long after he ceases performing, he will still be out there protesting in the streets the wrongs of our government. I say, ‘stay strong brother’. I will continue listening to him speak truth to power.
    As for him being a hippie? Labels are convenient tools for fools.

  4. Chris Justin says:

    Well Matt…I’m a Vietnam-era veteran who’s been around the world and lived in both the middle east and Europe and would venture to say that my worldly experiences far surpass any education you may think you possess.You fail to list any examples of crookery or theivery,and also fail to list any solutions to the problem,so that makes you part of the problem.Also,resorting to name calling is generally perceived as a form of aggravation,often due to inability to articulate one’s opinion or debate with any semblance of intelligence or wit,neither of which you possess in any quantity.The fact still remains that Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam both ceased making good music about 15 years ago.Don’t get mad at me because Eddie can’t sing and you can’t it or leave it still works for me! And you can join Eddie and Neil in Canada.I’m sure that would make you happy….I know it would make me happy!

  5. Shawn says:

    Chris, it’s pretty lame to embellish reality to make a point. You volunteer your “credentials” as a means to proclaim your opinions are more valid than that of others. How very facist of you. And, really, do you expect us to believe you served in Vietnam and lived in the Middle East?

    You know, it’s the ultimate responsibility of the American people to question those in power and hold them accountable for their actions. When you watch individuals put this country in harms way in the name of private interest and greed, you’re damn right people are going to speak out against it. Corporate conservativism is the new communism. Are you for the people or are you a lap-dog?

    Opinion: Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam have been making exceptional music for over two decades. Their art and social awareness has helped sustain a successful career that they’ve never taken for granted.

    These guys use their privilidged position to shed light on issues that are important to them and many other people. Their contributions to charitable functions and organizations supporting those in need are truly commendable. They don’t just talk the talk. They take action, like Americans should.

  6. amy says:

    In disagreement, Pearl Jam’s self titled last album is well worth listening to, and Vedder’s solo album is a soulful set that I (as well as my children) love to listen to. Music, is always up for different opinion, this is just mine.

    As for the political views, Vedder and I seem to have oppostie opinions a good majority of the time. I respectfully listen to him speak his mind (I know going in that’s what to expect). I love the music and I like to person that goes out and speaks his mind and tries to make aware situations that people should be aware of. Vedder is an activist, he supports his words with actions. Just because everyone doesn’t agree with him doesn’t make him wrong or right. He believes in helping others and working to make this world a better place. Anyone committed to what they believe is is alright in my book and a true inspiration.

  7. Chris Justin says:

    Well Shawn…in the first place you should learn to comprehend what you read.I never said I served in Vietnam.I said I was a Vietnam-era veteran,which means I served during Vietnam.And yes Shawn,I was stationed in Bahrain,aboard the USS LaSalle AGF-3.I had an apartment off base so that means I lived in the middle east,despite your ignorance.I stated my credentials only to refute Matthew’s contention that I’m an idiot.Apparently I’m not entitled to state my opinion in the opinion section of a local music rag.Also,it’s fine to question those in power,that’s why we fight.Eddie Vedder was not questioning George Bush,he was imploring George Bush and his administration to find another country to live in (how is that constructive?). I was merely suggesting that Matthew do the same.If you don’t support the war,you don’t support our troops.There is no gray area here, and I don’t care how many whiny,cry-baby musicians or actors come out of the wood work,saying otherwise.People like Matthew and Mr. Vedder do our troops no service when they create ill will.I’m still waiting for a solution to be imparted by Mr. Vedder or his prot’eg’e Matthew,but as yet have heard no potential resolutions or remedies.Oh and one more thing Shawn,I could care less what you believe.There are many things about my life that would be hard for you to believe,that’s mainly due to your limited ability to rationalize and economy of imagination.

  8. Shawn says:

    Ok, Chris. If you care so little about what I believe, why the extensive response to my post? And contrary to what you might believe, you can’t be right about everything all of the time. Nobody can. Also, I’m sorry you think the lives of soldiers are worth the whims of cowardly bureaucrats serving private interest. I didn’t think the military was a toy for the energy industry. So, sorry, I CAN and WILL show support for the troops and oppose many of the reasons that have led them to their current deployment. I didn’t know the philosophical police were patroling the IE message posts. I guess I should get back in line and shuffle on down to the book burning at the town square.

  9. Chris Justin says:

    See what I mean?…..when you wrote “….the lives of soldiers are worth the whims of cowardly bureaucrats…”.Guess what …you don’t get to make that decision. That decision is reserved for the men and woman who serve in combat. bOur fighting men and women don’t need you making moral decisions for or about them. As for the “philosophical police” line…I have no idea what your talking about and I’m not sure you do, either. My extensive responses are due to the fact that this is an open forum. I’m addressing any and all readers…don’t flatter your self dude. I’m concerned with quality,not quantity. Meanwhile,your postings are more of the same; the government blew up the World Trade Center, Kennedy was killed by the CIA, we invaded Iraq for the oil, all of it drivel. Come up with something original, instead of the same old tired, shopworn imposture. Once again your post is devoid of any solutions or intuitive ideas or even simple suggestions, about how to make things better. It’s just so much pissing and moaning. So it is you,not I, who is part of the problem. By the way bro’….do some research…the United States gets 70% of it’s oil from Canada, Saudi Arabia,Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria. All of it, every last drop,from private sector speculators.Our biggest supplier is Canada.The USA gets a less than half a million barrels of oil from Iraq (hardly a war prize).With the proceeds going to the Iraqi government. So your argument doesn’t hold water. Anything else you wanna debate?

  10. Chris Justin says:

    Quarters on the eyes
    Rejected Sacrifice
    Cauterized at best
    Failing your litmus test
    I know it’s dumb to say
    But turnabout’s fair play
    Always knew that you
    Were suffering a fool

    You go ahead – as good as dead

    Okay – I understand
    But I don’t want to be your friend
    I don’t need another friend
    I’ve got too many friends
    If I was Eddie Vedder
    Would you like me any better?
    That’s it – I quit – I don’t give a sh*t

    You go ahead – as good as dead
    Coming to a head
    You’re as good as dead
    “Eddie Vedder” by Local H

  11. Shawn says:

    “If you don’t support the war,you don’t support our troops.There is no gray area here…”

    You seem like a rather intelligent person to make such a stupid statement. This proclamation suggests a thought, feeling, or philosophy outside of what YOU believe is beyond the realm of possibility. That’s macho reductionism. Again, pal, you can’t put empirically finite emphasis on a spectrum of opinions and scenarios relating to such complex subject matter. You cannot be right about everything all of the time. Apparently, your ego keeps you from seeing or respecting a view that doesn’t match your own. You make valid points. I’m just not gonna roll over and give you the satisfaction of feeling you’ve won some kind of contest. You’re a bully and that’s sad.

    And thanks for putting words in my mouth regarding conspiracy theory and my opinions in relation to what Iraq means to us as a country. Anytime there is conflict or severe political/militarial turmoil, there is an economic cost associated with such occurrences. I know you’ve witnessed gas prices rise dramatically over the past five years. Why do you think there’s so much interest in the Georgian/Russian conflict? Wouldn’t have anything to do with that pipeline, now would it? And it’s not about who supplies what to who and how directly. Surely, you’ve figured that out by now.

    My biggest issue with our ocupancy of Iraq is the fact that the guy who was behind 911 was never brought to justice. bin Laden was just an afterthought once we shifted to Iraq. Millions of dollars that were intended to assist in deployment to Afghanistan was reallocated to efforts in Iraq. So we nab a thug we helped put into power on the premise of his possession of WMDs that we had part in providing him and bin Laden and the Taliban/al Qaeda grow stronger in the process. We should have been in Afghanistan at full force the entire time until the job was finished. That’s no criticism of the military. That’s criticism of the Bush administration past and present.

    Ask yourself this: are we better off than we were eight years ago? Cost of living, international relations…….

  12. Chris Justin says:

    I’ve got news for you…I just attended a military reunion and guess what…there’s a whole lotta people that feel like I do.They feel things aren’t that bad in the USA right now,despite what people like the aforementioned Mr. Vedder,Madonna,,Rosie O’Donnell,Alec Baldwin and the original traitor Jane Fonda and others of that ilk,say.They don’t talk about things like; thanks to the US military,there are more hospitals and schools in Iraq than there have ever been,that the troop surge has basically wiped out Al Qaeda in Iraq,that Saddam Hussein who used weapons of mass destruction to kill 5000 Kurds in his own country,is now himself deceased.Nobody ever mentions the fact that when there is a disater any where in the world,the USA is often the first to render aid and assistance.Gee…we’re such an evil country! And while I’m on the subject don’t patronize me,man.I don’t need your seal of approval for any of my thought processes.By the way,I’m quite aware nobodies right all the time.You seem to be a master of the obvious.But when it comes to supporting our troops and their mission…I will forever be on their side,the right side.So lead,follow or get the f*ck out of the way.Incidentally,while Clinton was busy lying under oath to the American people,he blew two chances to nab bin Laden.The CIA had him pinpointed in a house,in Somalia.Both times Clinton instructed the US military “hands off,it’s a law enforcement problem”.So don’t put this on Bush.They now know 9/11 was being planned and orchestrated on Clintons watch and he did nothing except bop Lewinsky. And what do you know about international relations…what you hear on the news like anybody else.I’ve been there,so who’s in a better position to comment? You? I sincerely doubt it.I’ve been to a quarter of the countries in the world,where have you been? Peoria? Naperville maybe? Milwaukee? It’s not ego talking,it’s EXPERIENCE! You’re the one being obstinate and closed minded.

  13. the one who doesnt believe our votes are counted anyways says:

    wow …..

    um did he play hard sun or are we too busy having a dick/clit measuring contest to discuss the full set list.