BB&t Center
Sunrise, FL
Friday, April 8th, 2016
Review: Matthew Pashalian
Photos: Scott Nathanson

American Airlines Arena
Miami, FL
Saturday, April 9th, 2016
Review: Matthew Pashalian

Night 1 (Sunrise)

It’s been said that 1968 was the year Led Zeppelin destroyed America – that being said, I think this year will be known for Pearl Jam’s current 2016 tour blazing across states, which luckily kicked off with a pair of near sold-out dates in the South Florida area in Sunrise (April 8th) and Miami (April 9th). Having not performed in the Fort Lauderdale area since 1996 (my first time seeing them), and 1994 for Miami, (for the record the last South Florida area show was 2008) the band definitely made up for the lost time with two inspiring 3 hour marathon sets that included songs from all 10 of their albums.

One thing Pearl Jam does that puts pretty much every rock act to shame is that they don’t rest on the laurels of their singles; they recognize the fact that they have 10 albums and honor those songs by varying their sets every night. This is exactly why after 25 years the band still has such a rabid fan base that will travel for their shows, not only cross state, but country too!

Opening night at the BB&t Center in Sunrise had the band come out swinging with “Go,” “Mind Your Manners,” and “Corduroy,” before delving into deeper cuts “Help, Help,” ”Unthought Known” and “Amongst the Waves.” With this being the evening that friends Cheap Trick were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band paid tribute with a short rendition of “Surrender” after a crowd sing along wishing guitarist Mike McCready a Happy 50th Birthday.

Other show highlights included front man Eddie Vedder doing a humorous dance in a Donald Trump mask during the break in “Do the Evolution,” and a tribute of “Light Years” to one of the bands longtime former techs, Tim “Skully” Quinlan. The second encore was concluded with the house lights on and a joyous version of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” before Vedder took center stage with acoustic guitar in hand and a speech about the many veterans we have in South Florida dedicating “I Am a Patriot” to the son of an audience member. The show ended with a wonderful and surprising version of “Indifference” that was definitely one for the mega fans in house not clamoring for the doors in hopes to beat the traffic.

Pearl Jam (Stone Gossard) April 8th, 2016 Sunrise, FL Photo: Scott Nathanson

Pearl Jam (Stone Gossard)
April 8th, 2016
Sunrise, FL
Photo: Scott Nathanson

Night 2 (Miami)

This was my 10th time seeing the band in 20 years and this show ranks up there with the shows I experienced from 1998’s Yield tour. I have to admit I was truly blown away by the set given in Miami as the band only repeated 8 songs from the previous nights 32 song set. Once again energetic with “Corduroy,” “Do the Evolution” and “Mind Your Manners,” the band changed things up with the upbeat “Save You” from 2000’s Binaural disc. Big guns like “Even Flow,” and “Daughter” were present, whilst surprising the crowd with “Wishlist” from Yield and an interesting crowd request of “Tremor Christ” from the sometimes underrated Vitology album.

Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder) April 8th, 2016 Sunrise, FL Photo: Scott Nathanson

Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder)
April 8th, 2016
Sunrise, FL
Photo: Scott Nathanson

Before going into “Dissident,” Vedder apologized to the crowd about going on a bit later than expected, joking that they weren’t trying to pull a Guns N’ Roses on anyone but since there was no curfew for the Arena they were ready for a fun night! The first set finished off with the massive kick in the face of “Jeremy” “State of Love and Trust” and a thunderous version of “Rearviewmirror.”


The first encore again had Vedder with an acoustic guitar for “Good Woman” and “Just Breathe,” as well as a striking performance of Roger Waters “Comfortably Numb” that had guitarist Mike McCready tackling the songs legendary solo with unmatched emotion. Though “Sirens,” “Given to Fly” and “Porch” were played the previous night in Sunrise, tonight’s performance just seemed even more explosive as the crowd held cell phones above and chanted along in grandeur.

As with the previous night, the band played a song just for the fans that had seats facing the bands backs. Interestingly enough, Sunrise got “Last Kiss,” while Miami got the B-side of that single, “Soldier of Love.” Coincidence?

The second encore was one to finish the crowd off with one punch after another in the raucous “Spin the Black Circle,” and quite possibly the loudest crowd sing along of the night with “Rockin’ in the Free World,” and radio staple “Alive.” It is truly an amazing sight to see a crowd of 15,000 fans chant with “Alive” and the heartbreaking “Black.” Pearl Jam is a reminder that rock isn’t dead; but at the same time are pedestals that all bands should hold themselves to in every way. From song selection to performance, Pearl Jam are truly passionate about their craft and seriously give fans not only their monies worth and then some with unforgettable concerts that only make you want to get in your car and make the trek to the next date.

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