With relatively few UK gigs under their belts, it's always nice to have Pearl Jam in town. Assuming they aren't one of your most hated bands, of course. As noted by the band, their first UK gig was at The Borderline in '92 - and they were often described as being 'full of energy'. Probably because they "only played eight songs" - a long way from tonight's three-hour-plus show in front of a packed house. So packed, that Eddie Vedder wisely hypnotized the crowd into taking a unified three steps back about four songs in, reminding everyone of why they were away from Europe for so long before.
With the band maturing gracefully, and the Ten reissue garnering such nostalgic praise, it's hard not to suspect that Pearl Jam may be winding things down somewhat. Tracks from imminent new release Backspacer didn't make much impact, while the set was packed with often overlooked tracks from the earliest (four) albums.
Surprise opener Release was a highlight, plus plenty of favourites from Vitalogy, the spine-tingling Footsteps, personal favourite Light Years - as well as obligatory singalongs Black and Betterman, plus the rousing encore of Crazy Mary.
While you might expect the enormodome proportions of the O2/Millenium Dome to make for a stale atmosphere, with the right band it makes for an exuberant party vibe. We're all here to see Pearl Jam, but with the beer stand so easy to get to you'd be foolish to pull the usual trick of backing up your toilet breaks to the end. And so evolves a new dilemma: where to take your break. With so many favourites flowing easily it's a tough descision, especially when unknown newer songs provoke a mass exodus/bigger queues. Like choosing which kid to throw out the boat first, I went with Rats, while BC chose lesser known b-side I Got ID and CJ bizarrely chose Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town. At least he was back quick.
If you hate them, you hate them, but if you love them you'll wish you had been there for a typically roof-raising performance from the definite 'grunge' (ha!) rockers.
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
I Got I.D.
Rats (with a bit of Michael Jackson' Ben)
Blood (with a bit of Atomic Dog)
Love, Reign O'er Me
Do The Evolution
Better Man (with a bit of Save It For Later)
I've put the best part of the setlist into a Spotify playlist here.
19th Aug 2009 - Tumblr4.5
Dry As A Bone / Rehab Doll
I'm Not There [Music From The Motion Picture]
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Continually clichéd rock romance that never breaks into originality.
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Sympathetic retread of Single White Female, with added #hashtags.
26th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Welcome to the Jungle
Fun updated reboot with added Breakfast Club.
26th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Low-tide mark for super hero movies. I only finished watching to see how bad it could get.
14th Aug 2018Read more 1 star reviews
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8th Aug 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Well written, well paced sequel. Surprisingly competent and heartwarming.
4th Aug 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
70s pot boiler that lazily meanders through a series of mediocre set pieces.
23rd Jul 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Enjoyable change of pace for the super hero genre. Comedy wins.
21st Jul 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Great concept, but shoddily directed and utterly devoid of jeopardy.
17th Jul 2018Read more 2 star reviews
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15th Jul 2018Read more 3 star reviews
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6th Jul 2018Read more 1.5 star reviews
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2nd Jun 2018Read more 3 star reviews
A Star Wars Story
Reasonable, forgettable addition. Overfilling that mysterious back story.
1st Jun 2018Read more 3 star reviews
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24th May 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish, incredibly depressing portrait of life on the margins.
12th May 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
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29th Apr 2018Read more 3 star reviews
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13th Apr 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
The Last Jedi
Every moment is undermined by a gag and the few serious scenes are sloppily handled.
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31st Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
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30th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Overly dry, eccentric western. Jarmuschian overtones.
16th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Incredible, tense, original thriller. A western with snowmobiles.
14th Mar 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Career retrospective doc that keeps it fun and doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.
11th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Blockbuster-by-numbers as Universal clumsily attempt to build a franchise.
24th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
The Story of Mudhoney
Unsurprising history run-down, enlivened by the band’s ferociously DIY attitude.
21st Feb 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Some good ideas, buried by shambolic direction and storytelling.
20th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Intense, eerie thriller that’s surprisingly straightforward and a little old-fashioned.
30th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Disappointingly slow, underdeveloped and literal monster metaphor from Nacho Vigalondo.
27th Jan 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Long, but moving and stylishly directed period drama. Fantastic cinematography.
15th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Grown-up superhero flick. Handled far better than most, but ridiculously violent.
6th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Slated by the critics, this is a stylish, slight, small movie - with two massive stars in it.
6th Jan 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Fun, original take on an otherwise ageing property. Apocalypse Now meets Watchmen.
5th Jan 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Clunky Brit thriller that telegraphs every one of its sub-Hitchcockian twists, despite the decent premise.
3rd Jan 2018Read more 2 star reviews