Wraps up North American tour in Seattle Dec. 6

By E.J. Daws Explore Big Sky Staff Writer

SPOKANE, WASH. – Iconic artists Pearl Jam brought their Lightning Bolt tour to Spokane, Wash. on Nov. 30 after a 20-year hiatus from playing in the Lilac City, and their show did not disappoint the crowd of 12,000 strong.

In a blistering three-hour set, the band burned through 34 songs that spanned its 23-year career, including covers of classic acts such as Lou Reed, Tom Petty and Van Halen, in addition to a wide selection of their own creations.

In a set that has cemented the band as timeless live performers, the music ranged from campfire acoustic, to ear-shredding riffs of the grunge-era. There was truly something for everyone’s palette, and the sold–out crowd represented a cross-section of ages and fans from all walks of life.

Highlights included new music from their recently released – and Number One album – Lightning Bolt, six songs from their early 90s debut album Ten, and a few songs from each subsequent LP.

Former New Orleans Saints safety, Steve Gleason (a Spokane native), who is currently suffering from ALS was in attendance. A diehard Pearl Jam fan, Gleason was given the opportunity to write the set list for the show. In a tear-jerking finale, lead guitarist Mike McCready walked into the crowd and wailed a “Yellow Ledbetter” guitar solo in front of Gleason as the lights came on and the show ended.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Earlier in the show, a fan in one of the front rows held a sign that read, “[Will] cut dreads, if you play Brain of J?” Frontman Eddie Vedder obliged. Veering from the set, he brought the man with 12-year old dreadlocks to the stage where they head banged to the album Yield’s fast paced song. In the middle of the number, Vedder sat the young man down and clipped off the matted cords with a hair trimmer.

Pearl Jam finishes their North American leg of the tour on Dec. 6 with a final show in Seattle before heading to Australia in January and February. Lightning Bolt, Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album, reached Number One on the Billboard charts on Oct. 23, selling 166,000 copies in its first week.

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