Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Features and More

The temperate rock star

CLEARWATER — They bellowed and shouted and huzzahed, a worshipful, wahooing sold-out crowd at Ruth Eckerd Hall Monday that slobbered affection on Eddie Vedder like a pup dripping drool. The 2,180 in the packed house meant well; a lot of them just didn't listen well.

"Tell you what," the gone-solo Pearl Jam frontman smirked at one fan who refused to stop shrieking requests, "I got it allll under control up here."

Indeed, he did. Vedder is still a lot younger than his rock heroes — such grunting truth-tellers as Neil Young and Bob Dylan — but he's no idealistic young punk, either. He turns 48 this month, decades removed from his Seattle-boosted PJ heyday. He's earned this cozy lil' solo tour, which ends on our shores tonight after two final gigs.

The man deserves some quiet to work with, too. He eventually got it toward the end of the two-hour-plus gig — but not without a few sly reprimands. To one boisterous moron who yammered on after he played a gut-check version of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt: "That's a really long sentence to be shouting out loud."

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.

Vedder is an eclectic dude, and his guest list was equally colorful. He had a bunch of family in the house (his kids scampered on stage as the most adorable roadies you've ever seen). Good buddy Sean Penn, with whom he's worked on films, stopped by on his way to Haiti. And right there in the front row was Vedder's childhood hero from the Chicago Cubs, baseball great Jose Cardenal, who stood and waved to the crowd. (Wait — what?!)

The singer was almost as romantic talking about Cardenal's former 'fro as he was gushing about Mrs. Vedder, to whom he dedicated PJ ballad Just Breathe. (His wife, he said, grants him "the ability to write a love song and not have it be fiction." Wow, that's a really great line — every man on the planet should steal that immediately.)

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.

Behind Vedder was a subtly shifting backdrop: a back alley, a circus tent, a sea of stars that left the crowd oohing. He put on no airs; he stuttered and stammered through his, though usually managing to find the punch line. By the end, he had presented a rather mellow portrait of a middle-aged rock star who's found wisdom, happiness — and a whole lot of patience to deal with the wild things who love him so.

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Comments
Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

No matter what Cress Williams does the rest of his acting career, he’ll always be remembered as the first to play Black Lightning.The 47-year-old actor with roles on ER, Grey’s Anatomy and Friday Night Lights is now that face of a DC comics franchise...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Give your arms a workout, too

Give your arms a workout, too

In addition to appearance, it is very important to maintain strength in those arms, as they are needed for practically every upper body movement we perform. We often take our 23 arm muscles for granted, until we reach a point where it suddenly become...
Published: 05/22/18
Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Going long hours without eating isn’t good for us, we are often told. Our bodies need fuel regularly. Otherwise, we may become lethargic, tired and hungry. Our thinking can become mushy, our ability to work, and even play, hampered.Not so fast.A new ...
Published: 05/22/18
Five ideas for cooking with lavender

Five ideas for cooking with lavender

Lavender is almost as pretty to smell as it is to look at, but as far as taste goes, the results aren’t always as appealing. A little like cilantro, lavender can taste soapy to some people, making it a tricky plant to use properly. But, when used the...
Published: 05/22/18
I tried making restaurant-quality braised short ribs at home

I tried making restaurant-quality braised short ribs at home

One of my 2018 cooking resolutions was to cook at least 10 things this year that I never have before. Somewhere near the top of my list was short ribs. You can hardly eat at a restaurant now without seeing short rib in some form on the menu: braised,...
Published: 05/22/18
Taste test: new (and very sugary) cereals

Taste test: new (and very sugary) cereals

My addiction to sugar began as a child. I loved sugary breakfast cereals as a morning meal or an evening snack, the sweeter the better. We used to joke in my house that I even added table sugar to Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms. Thankfu...
Published: 05/21/18
Restaurant review: Baytenders Oyster Bar & Steamer is a low-key, friendly spot to gather

Restaurant review: Baytenders Oyster Bar & Steamer is a low-key, friendly spot to gather

ST. PETERSBURG Brian Storman has had a long and colorful career in the Tampa Bay area. In the 1980s he had the insanely popular Storman’s Palace in Feather Sound, which in 2008 became the grownup playground "ultralounge" called the Venue (25,0...
Published: 05/21/18
Florida Orchestra closes 50th masterworks season with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

Florida Orchestra closes 50th masterworks season with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

TAMPA — The Florida Orchestra wraps up its final masterworks concert of the season with a masterfully complex Johannes Brahms piano concerto and Ludwig van Beethoven’s warmly accessible Symphony No. 6, commonly known as the "Pastoral."Friday’s sold-o...
Published: 05/19/18
Walt’s Fish Market, a Sarasota institution, to celebrate its 100th anniversary

Walt’s Fish Market, a Sarasota institution, to celebrate its 100th anniversary

A Sarasota seafood fixture is celebrating its 100th anniversary.Walt’s Fish Market, Restaurant and Tiki Bar, 4144 S Tamiami Trail, will host a party at noon on Sunday complete with a mechanical shark, live music, live auctions, silent auctions, an al...
Published: 05/18/18
Prince Charles to walk Meghan Markle down aisle at royal wedding

Prince Charles to walk Meghan Markle down aisle at royal wedding

WINDSOR, England — Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at the royal wedding — stepping in after the father of the bride fell ill just days before the ceremony. Kensington Palace said Friday that Markle’s future father-in-law, the he...
Published: 05/18/18