Pearl Jam: June 24, 1995
San Francisco, CA - Golden Gate Park
Support: Bad Religion, Crash and Brittany

Main Set:
Last Exit
Spin the Black Circle
Tremor Christ
Not for You
--Eddie Vedder was very ill and left the stage after seven songs.  After a brief break, Neil Young joined the band and played most of the album he recorded with them, Mirrorball.

"NeilJam" set:
Big Green Country
Act of Love
Throw Your Hatred Down
Truth Be Known
Rockin' in the Free World
The Needle and the Damage Done
Hey Hey My My
I'm the Ocean
Down By the River
Cortez the Killer

Peace and Love
Rockin' in the Free World

Notes: This show took place the day after my birthday and it was a very different experience from the one I had just 48 hours previous.

The show started at noon and it was a 3 hour drive from Fresno.  Julia, Josh and I went to this show, and Josh drove my parents' mini-van.  We also went with some friends of mine from school, and I think we left Fresno around 6am.  I'd had only a couple of hours of sleep the night before, I'd overslept and didn't have time to take a shower that morning. I also didn't dress appropriately for the weather.  It was an uncharacteristically hot day in San Francisco, I wore a black t-shirt, long jeans and heavy Doc Marten boots.  No sunscreen.  No hat.  I don't know if I even had sunglasses with me or not.  I ended up getting the worst sunburn of my life on my arms and the top of my head.

It was hot. Really, really hot. Most of my group split up and I just stuck with my sister for the day. There were over 50,000 people on the Polo Fields and the lines for water were loooong.  I cared more about getting something to drink than watching Pearl Jam play.  Eddie got sick and there was a lot of confusion about what was going on. Neil Young took the stage and played with the rest of Pearl Jam for about two hours. I wasn't familiar with most of his material. I remember trying to find shade under a tree along the raised perimeter of the field and kind of drifting in and out of consciousness because I was so sleep-deprived and a lot of the songs had very extended instrumental jam sessions. Listening to Mirrorball now always brings me back to this day.

Eventually someone came out on stage and announced that Eddie would not be coming back because he was very sick.  This elicited a number of boos from the audience.  I felt pissed off at the angry fans.  It put me in a foul mood and was just a rotten end to a very long and tiring day.

Fortunately, five months later, the band came back to the bay area to make up this show, and it ended up being one of the greatest shows I've ever seen.

Thirteen years later I would see Pearl Jam again on the day after my birthday, this time in New York City at Madison Square Garden, fulfilling a dream I'd had for five years, to see my favorite band perform in such a historic venue.

(May 11, 2010)


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