by clint gilders - clubkingsnake staff
Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tennesee
June 14, 2008
I can say that previously a concert has never moved me close to tears. June 14 was the night that changed. Pearl Jam embraced the spirit of Bonnaroo and performed an extended two and a half hour plus set that ebbed and flowed through some of the greatest music of this generation.
As the lights shone over the assembled throng for the first time frontman Eddie Vedder remarked that he no idea of the scale of this event until this moment. Then "Black" flowed over the crowd and the show rose to a new level for me.
Later, Eddie introduced Victoria Williams' "Crazy Mary". This was a song they originally recorded for Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams and among my favourite songs of all time.
Next Eddie performed "No More" after talking about his friend Tomas Young (subject of the recent documentary Body of War) and his recent decline in health related to a pulmonary embolism and subsequent infection. I photographed Tomas in Texas earlier this year and my heart and prayers go out to him, his family, Eddie and anyone close to him during this terrible time.
The Audience during Pearl Jam at Bonnaroo
photo by Clint Gilders - staff photographer
My emotions finally got the best of me during "Release" which Eddie Vedder dedicated to his friend Luke whom had recently lost his father. PJ's debut Ten and especially this song bring back memories of a fantastic yet disastrous time in my life.
The marathon set closed with "Alive" (also from Ten) and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower".
Later that night, and throughout the festival I heard of similar reactions from other festival goers. They may have been moved by a different song, or felt a different emotion, but the common thread was that Pearl Jam came to Bonnaroo and joined with a multitude of like minded individuals and created something beautiful and powerful.