Band of Horses + Pearl Jam = Awesomeness

Pearl Jam kicked off what might be their last nationwide tour in Kansas City last night. I gladly made the two-and-half hour trip to go see them for the first time. Oh, and having Band of Horses open was quite the bonus. Two birds with one stone and all.

Band of Horses did an ample job of getting the house ready for Eddie with a simple 9-song set opening with The General Specific and including favorites like The Great Salt Lake, Ode to LRC, No One’s Gonna Love You, and closing to a standing ovation with their anthem The Funeral. They also included a song from their upcoming album, Infinite Arms (May 18th), called Northwest Apartment. Cue David Spade joke about bands playing “new songs” at concerts being pointless.

After what seemed like a lifetime of an intermission, Pearl Jam entered stage left, and proceeded to rock my brains out with a two-and-a-half hour, 28-song setlist that included almost all of my favorites.

I have to give a lot of credit to Pearl Jam and bands with similar stature and history. It must be difficult to strike the balance between satisfying the fans that have been with you since the beginning and would like nothing more than for you to just roll out and play your debut album straight through but at the same time give credit to your recent work that you are no doubt proud of. Pearl Jam struck this balance playing a lot of their newer stuff early making us wait for the payoff in the end.

Opening without introduction with a heavier version of Of the Girl off of Binaural (a somewhat surprising pick to open) set the perfect tone. After a short salutation, the band went right into a rip-roaring Animal from Vs. This put the crowd in an absolute frenzy as we all tried to keep up the pace with Eddie. Keeping with the theme, the band continued with Worldwide Suicide, Got Some, and Unthought Unknown from their latest album, Backspacer.

Eddie then took to the microphone with some more pleasantries for KC, and introduced his next song as one that would help us warm up our voices, Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town. I have never heard a crowd sing so loud at a concert, almost drowning out the band and causing Eddie to mess up a couple of the lyrics.

The next set the band continued to rock with MFC from Yield, crowd-favorite Even Flow, an edgier version of Present Tense, Daughter, among others and closing with Do the Evolution.

The first encore brought Eddie back on stage with…an acoustic guitar. Now we’re talking. After a short diatribe about someone on death row, PJ played Off He Goes which is among my favorite songs of all time. He followed that up with their latest single, Just Breath while the crowd joined him on several occasions. Pearl Jam finished the encore with an incredible version of Porch that included plenty of riffs from Gossard.

For the second encore, Eddie brought up Tomas Young, an Iraqi war veteran and KC native now paralyzed and wheel-chair bound. He is also the subject of the documentary Body of War for which Eddie Vedder did the music. With Tomas on stage, waving to the crowd, Eddie played an emotional No More.

Far from done, the band continued with the PJ conert staple, Black. And while Eddie didn’t let us sing the end by ourselves, he didn’t need to as the crowd had now completely drown him out. After Better Man, Alive, and Neil Young’s Rockin’ In the Free World we thought that was it. But Eddie asked, “One more?” The answer was obvious. He brought up another guest, this time Curtis Tomasevicz, the anchor of the gold medal-winning US bobsled team to chants of “USA! USA!” Eddie explained that Curtis used a PJ song as a way of getting fired up before each race. That song was Yellow Ledbetter. The song that almost everyone had been waiting for. And while nobody knew the lyrics, because…there really aren’t any, we sang along anyway.

A fitting end to an incredible show. On to the next item on my bucket list.

Band of Horses set list:

Marry Song
The Great Salt Lake
Ghost In My House
Northwest Apartment
General Specific
No One’s Gonna Love You
Ode To Lrc

Pearl Jam set list:

Of The Girl
World Wide Suicide
Got Some
Unthought Known
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
Johnny Guitar
Amongst The Waves
Even Flow
Gods’ Dice
Present Tense
Do The Evolution
Off He Goes
Just Breathe
Given To Fly
The Fixer
Life Wasted
Encore 2:
No More
Better Man
Alive Play
Rockin’ in the Free World (Neil Young cover)
Yellow Ledbetter

*photo credits to the Kansas City Star

11 thoughts on “Band of Horses + Pearl Jam = Awesomeness

  1. Sounds awesome, and very similar to the Pearl Jam show we saw in SLC last summer. I really like the new album especially “Unthought Known.” I’ve been playing that album on Rock Band and “Just Breathe” is so tough that it has given me great respect for Eddie as a guitarist.

  2. Sounds like a great show. I have a lot of respect for Pearl Jam. I wish Eddie would just shut up sometimes though.

    Wait, who’s playing drums? Matt Cameron just reunited with Soundgarden, is he also touring with PJ?

  3. Did Eddie play any songs before the opener? Did he in St. Louis? Just curious to see how early I need to be in my seats in Indy. Thanks

  4. Any recollection of what time the bands went on stage respectively? Going to the show tonight in Columbus but traveling to get there and trying to determine how early to leave. email me if you can. Thanks!!

  5. Show started right at 7:30pm (CT) with Band of Horses. They played for about 45 minutes and then after about a 15 minute intermission Pearl Jam came out right around 8:30.

    And Eddie did not play anything before the opener.

  6. People are so crazy when they get all pissed when eddie talks… I LOVE an interactive band leader.. Freedom of speech people.. Deal.

    I’m seeing in in Columbus and Indy!
    Cant wait!

  7. I love an interactive band leader too. Making speeches is not exactly interactive, though. I want to see a band perform, not stand around and talk. For the most part. Talking about what inspired a song is OK, and usually very interesting.

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