Pearl Jam @ Big Day Out Perth – 2 Feb ’14

Perth – the last stop on this crazy adventure and another scorching hot day. Not as hot as Adelaide, but the lack of shade meant little reprieve from the blistering sun. A long day of waiting, waiting and waiting all while encountering fans that had travelled to see Pearl Jam before, or had travelled this time all staking out a spot along the railing.

But again, the apparent standstill of time eventually reached 8pm at the blue stage, albeit with the familiar lighting rigged up as at previous Big Day Out appearances. An earlier than expected sunset, and a cool breeze provided a little reprieve before a killer combo of Go and Do the Evolution. Evidently the mood was more fiery and indignant than on previous nights, but fitting given the set list.

Pearl Jam @ Big Day Out Perth

Pearl Jam @ Big Day Out Perth

Earlier than expected, a surprise entrance from Last Exit blasted through, and there was no sign of slowing down with Animal and Mind Your Manners following in turn. The tempo and energy remained, with the all too familiar sounds of Corduroy cueing some keen crowd contributions, continuing beautifully into Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.

Eddie Vedder @ Big Day Out Perth

Eddie Vedder @ Big Day Out Perth

Faithful was dedicated to those of us who got there early – and the early arrivals responded in kind, cheers and lyrics sung whole heartedly. Then, the opposite of shallow – Deep! An unexpected, but staggering live delivery with intensity delivered in every word and accompanying facial expression.

Sure, there was no Down (again, after it was scratched off the set list – so close!) but another epic Unthought Known made its way into the evening’s set. Humour aside after the introduction of the ever romantic Lukin, more surprises continued throughout the evening with Satan’s Bed.

Toasts were made all around as proceedings continued, not to mention advanced birthday celebrations for Boom Gasper included the obligatory Happy Birthday singalong was followed later by a birthday cake – thrown into the crowd. No doubt the velocity and impact took care of any required cutting of said cake…  🙂

Someone had yelled out Crazy Mary earlier in the night, and after all we’d heard, somewhat spontaneously murmurings on stage began – to play Crazy Mary.  A definitive crowd pleaser, and not to be overshadowed, Comatosed was thrown in.

MIke McCready @ Big Day Out Perth

MIke McCready @ Big Day Out Perth

Did we want to go home? Absolutely not – clearly the right answer with what was to follow – Given to Fly (hearing your fave song at three of four shows – not a bad effort!).

Was that enough? No, because we got Black and Porch as well.

A hasty set up of a second mic stand cued to something – not Mark Arm joining Pearl Jam tonight, but Win Butler from Arcade Fire joining for Rockin’ in the Free World. Continuing the aerial missiles launched into the crowd for the evening, Win detached his mic and threw that in before the tambourines came down.

Eddie and Win Butler (Arcade Fire) @ Big Day Out Perth

Eddie and Win Butler (Arcade Fire) @ Big Day Out Perth

And then with what was surely one of the quickest goodbyes witnessed on a Pearl Jam stage, it was over. No real second encore as is typically expected. No lingering waves or absorbing the sounds of crowd accolades travelling towards the stage. The crew were already on stage as the crowd chants began, begging in earnest for more with no chance of receipt. A minor disappointment, but after a close to 2.5 hour performance with yet another incredible set, this minor incident was really no reason to complain.

The body was weary and while the physical evidence of elbow bruises from the railings may be almost faded, the soul is revived and memories remain etched in my mind. Circumstances permitting, I’ll be ready to do this all again next time around.

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