Review: Eddie Vedder captivates an irksome crowd at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
Eddie Vedder's solo concet Monday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall -- the first of two sold-out shows at the venue; the second is tonight -- was meant to be a stripped-down, gentler affair.
Too bad the crowd didn't see it that way.
The audience -- which included notables like actor Sean Penn and former Chicago Cub Jose Cardenal -- kept hooting and hollering throughout the set, Sean Daly writes, calling out requests from their grunge god. When the Pearl Jam frontman managed to calm them down, he delivered a spellbinding set:
On the penultimate night of the tour, Vedder, mostly alone on a puckishly spare stage, swapped cover songs (Cat Stevens' Don't Be Shy, Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down) with solo cuts (Long Nights) and PJ gems (Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town). He had a few effects pedals (for his ukulele, his guitars, his stomp box); a few special effects too, like a cheeky campfire that ignited just before he launched into a gorgeous take on the Beatles' You've Got to Hide Your Love Away. ...
If you came to the show hoping to hear some PJ hits, well, Vedder reprimanded one guy shouting out popular titles by saying, "Man, you're so off-base. You need to nominate somebody else." Yeah, buddy, not that kind of night. But he sure sold the heck out of the deeper album cuts, including ferocious, arena-racket versions of Immortality and Porch, the final ending like a fistfight.
Photo: Jim Damaske, tbt*