By Dan Leach
Many Tigers fans waking up Wednesday morning will yet again have a baseball hangover, wondering what happened in games 2 and 3. All of the sudden, the Tigers are in a 2-1 hole in the series after Detroit was just pitches away from a 2-0 series. Well, something I like to do when things are going rough is listen to music. Music helps give me some perspective and gets me back in the right frame of mind. Because of what happened, I thought there was no better time than now to send beautiful music your way and maybe, just maybe, make you forget about the last two insanely frustrating games… at least for a little while.
I was lucky enough to travel to Pittsburgh last Friday to see a band (Pearl Jam) that has always meant the world to me, and one I truly believe is among the greatest of my lifetime. The road trip was epic, there and back in less than 14 hours. Along the way we met many beautiful women, had a random early morning encounter with 97.1 The Ticket listeners from Sterling Heights on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, and met an endless amount of amazing PJ fans throughout the journey.
The show got going about 50 minutes after it was supposed to, (When do musicians not named Josh Grobin ever start on time these days?) but the delay was well worth it. The band ripped through 31 songs, including some beautiful new ones from their recently released album “Lightning Bolt.” The show ended in epic fashion: first with “Black” at its bone-tingling best, into the classic “Alive” which became an all-crowd sing-a-long , and then with the house lights being brought up for an insane version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”. Finally, Pearl Jam closed the night out with a deep and jazzy rendition of “Yellow Ledbetter.” The band was in some of the best form I have ever seen them in and my first live show was way back in 1997. They seemed reenergized, focused, and having fun, like when they made one of the most seminal albums in music history, “Ten” back in 1991.
I had been nervous my favorite band was selling out when I started hearing their music being played on Sportscenter, and when Fox Sports announced they would be using 48 of their songs during the broadcast of this year’s World Series. After seeing the live performance in Pittsburgh and listening to their phenomenal 10th studio album, my fears were quelled. I realized this was a band that had truly matured and knew that they wanted to do their best to change the world for the better, as music so often can.
They fought Ticketmaster and changed the way that many bands tried to gouge their fans with insane ticket prices. They decided not to do music videos, as they felt they were just a prop for the record companies to make money off of them. So They formed their own record company and made videos on their own terms when they wanted to. I truly feel that the reason the band was against modern day common practices of the music industry for so long is because they know the power of music and what it can do to affect peoples lives. When a band comes to terms with that and does it while all believing in each of its members, it is a beautiful thing to see.
I am so grateful to have been able to make this trip with one of my best friends, as this the kind of thing you never forget. On the way back, I thought that while even though rough things happen to all of us in life, perspective gives an opportunity for us to appreciate life. Pearl Jam has always been able to give me perspective, and for that I am eternally grateful.
The Setlist – Click to read
One of the deep grooving new songs from Lightning Bolt- “Infallible” (live debut)
“Nothingman” One of my all time PJ Faves
“Whipping” joined on stage by former Detroit Tigers reliever Jason Grilli
“Sirens” another new song from Lightning Bolt that is fast becoming one of my favorites of their catalog. (live debut)
A “Rearview Mirror” to remember to close out the first encore.
A mind-bending “Black” into “Alive” and then Eddie requesting the house lights up for the encore and his request is granted for “Rockin’ In The Free World”
Lights on for the ripping 4 song encore.
My friend Mike Roby and I on the Roberto Clemente Bridge at 1 am (picture taken by 97.1 The Ticket listeners from Sterling Heights who just happened to walked by and helped us with the photo-op.