Archive for the ‘Pearl Jam’ Category

The 34th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert Virtual Edition 17 Feb 2021

TibetHouse_Announce_1200x1800So once again, I ventured into the virtual world of live streaming. This tempting event was to celebrate the 34th birthday of Tibet House in New York. Unknown to me, there is an event every year to mark the birthday of the opening of Tibet House, largely orchestrated by Philip Glass and often featuring artists who I admire, such as Patti Smith in particular. So, when I read the streaming included Iggy Pop, Philip Glass, Patti Smith and none other than the Dalai Lama himself, I could not resist buying a ticket for virtual attendance.

“Tibet House US was founded at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who at the inauguration in 1987 stated his wish for a long-term cultural institution to ensure the survival of Tibetan civilization and culture, whatever the political destiny of the six million people of Tibet itself.”

dali lama tibet“I feel that Tibetan culture with its unique heritage –born of the efforts of many human beings of good spirit, of its contacts with Mongolian, Chinese, Indian, Nepalese and Persian culture, and of its natural environment – has developed a kind of energy which is very helpful for cultivating peace of mind and a joyful life. I feel that there is a potential for Tibet to help humanity, and particularly our Eastern neighbour, where millions of young Chinese have lost their spiritual values. In this way, I feel very strongly that Tibetan culture will have a role to play in the future of humanity.” (His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

iggy 1 tibetThe show started with a very dark performance by Iggy Pop of the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”. Iggy was staring right at me, his deep rasping voice emanating from his stark, wrinkled face. Quite scary stuff and not what I expected, but a great introduction to the concert.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas, 1951)

This was followed by a musical performance by avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson. There were quite a few artists who I did not recognise but each one performed a unique and appropriate contribution to the evening. Jessie Paris Smith, daughter of Patti, performed a solo acoustic “Monster”, followed by the Black Pumas. Then someone more familiar appeared. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips sang “Flowers of Neptune” from within the familiar bubble, which I have seen him perform from before.

After contributions by Angelique Kidjo and Brittany Howard, the more familiar face of Annie Lennox appeared at the piano singing a short set of “You Placed a Chill In My Heart”, “Cold” and finishing with the Eurythmics “Here Comes the Rain Again”.

After several further offerings, Eddie Vedder, performed Pearl Jam’s “Can’t Keep” on ukulele.

tibet alan and philWe were then treated to a video from a previous concert; of Philip Glass accompanying the legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Stunning stuff, which brought back memories of when Laura, David, Shauna and I travelled to Edinburgh Playhouse and were lucky enough to see Patti Smith perform an evening of Allen Ginsberg poetry, again accompanied by Philip Glass on piano.

Philip Glass is, of course, widely recognised as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He is one of the fathers of minimalism, although he often rejects this title. His striking repetitive style has influenced many important popular music artists, including David Bowie, and he regularly, to this day, provides accompaniment to poetry readings by artists such as Patti Smith.

Alan Ginsberg was a seminal figure in the “beat” movement, promoting, through his poetry, anti-war messages, the counterculture, sexual freedom and Eastern religion. I have a vague memory of him appearing at Morden Tower, Newcastle University in the 1970s, and for some reason, I did not go along; something I regret to this day.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to us, marking the importance of Tibet House and its significance to culture and religion.tibet patti

The evening concluded with Patti Smith and her daughter, accompanied by Joan Baez and many more of the performers, singing very appropriately “People Have the Power”.

Not quite what I expected, but nonetheless an enjoyable event.


The Who Wembley Stadium July 6, 2019

who tix 2019 2I have taken some time to write this account of my trip to see The Who at Wembley Stadium. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I wanted to describe something of the logistics of my trip, and secondly this was not a normal Who concert and it has taken me some time to decide my genuine opinion of the event. So here is the full story starting with the logistics of buying tickets.

Before my accident, buying tickets was very different, and much easier. I would go to my computer; a few clicks and I had my tickets! Ticket buying is very different now that I need a wheelchair space. I have to locate the accessible phone line and phone that number, only to be put into a queue, listening to music until I finally get through to an operator. I am then allocated my spot in the stadium and a free ticket for my carer. Sometimes I could be in the queue for over one hour, hoping to get tickets. This is admittedly much easier than queueing for tickets which I did many times in the 1970s. I once queued 28 hours outside Newcastle City Hall to buy tickets for the Rolling Stones!

Tickets for major rock bands have always been relatively expensive. In recent days they have reached exorbitant rates. The Stones can charge up to £1000 for prime seats and Who tickets are much more reasonable at £200 a pop. However this was still expensive for The Who and they received some bad press as a result.

One fan wrote: “The Who charging circa £230 for front block at Wembley is disgusting. All they’re doing is ripping off their loyal fans that have probably seen them many a time. Plus to make the pitch all seating when they know everyone will stand is obscene. Just comes to pure greed.” Another aggrieved fan raged: “The Who are asking £79 plus postage for the worst seats in Wembley, and £212 for the best. Talk about taking the p***.”

The logistics of travelling to a major gig have changed since being in a wheelchair. I need to plan ahead carefully. I book an accessible taxi to the train station, accessible seats on the train and two hotel rooms (one disabled room for me, one twin room for my carers). I take two carers with me, for different shifts during the night. Booking the train involves phoning the accessible travel line and then another number to book train tickets. I need to arrive at the station early and look for the friendly guys with a ramp who assist me on to the train.

whp pixSome nifty manoeuvres around a tight corner take me to my seat accompanied by my entourage of carers. A small bottle of red, a bacon sandwich and I am set up for the journey direct from Sunderland to King’s Cross station, courtesy of Grand Central trains. Then onward to the tubes and we are on our way to Wembley. Now what I never realised, until I was in a wheelchair myself, is that not every tube station is wheelchair accessible so you have to choose a route that enables you to change tubes at a station which is accessible. Luckily the line from King’s Cross to Wembley Park is completely accessible, so all sorted. Then we check into our Premier Inn, which is only a few minutes walk from Wembley Stadium me in my accessible room, and my carers situated only a room or two a way.

We have a short rest, a bite to eat and then we make our way to the stadium. Being mean, or on meagre income (choose whichever you wish) we are situated towards the back of the stadium in the cheap seats looking right down onto the stage. Nonetheless we have a reasonably good view of the proceedings. We catch the end of Eddie Vedder’s set, having missed the Kaiser Chiefs. At the point at which we enter, Eddie is in full throttle, the crowd loving it.

Now I have seen the Who many times, having watched in disbelief a crazed Pete Townshend smashing his guitar in 1973, the return of the band after the passing of drummer Keith Moon, and more recently after the loss of bassist John Entwistle. Today two original members of the band remain: guitarist Pete Townshend, and vocalist Roger Daltrey. However, the soul of the 1960s mod band continues. This was a special concert; the Who were to perform with a full orchestra. They opened with songs from their 1969 rock opera Tommy, followed by “Who Are You” and some new tracks. The orchestra left the stage and the band moved into familiar territory, playing early hits “Substitute”, “The Seeker”, an acoustic version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. The orchestra returned to support the band in a segment from Quadrophenia. They finished with “Baba O’Reilly” and no encore. A different show, but still enjoyable. We took a short walk to our hotel.who prog 2019

Reflecting back on the concert after some time, I remember the distance between ourselves and the band, and the fact that the stadium was far from full. What I could see was The Who surrounded by an orchestra in a massive, cavernous stadium. There was little atmosphere. The sound was good and comparatively clear given the nature of the venue and the band performed well. I’ve seen The Who with an orchestra before, performing Quadrophenia at the Royal Albert Hall and it worked quite well. However, this time it didn’t quite gel and I long to hear the old rock band that is so familiar to me. As a concert this was good but not great; however for me, these days any chance to see The Who live is worth taking.

A few drinks at the hotel bar, a restful evening and up in the morning to take a somewhat torturous trip around the tube network (one of the lines was closed). We were back home for mid-afternoon, none the worse for our adventure.

As I write this, I’ve just heard that The Who have cancelled their 2021 concert tour as a result of Covid. I was to see them at Newcastle Arena in a months time. We live in strange times. Let’s hope it isn’t too long before I can experience The Who in concert again. And many thanks to my great carers Alison and Joanne who supported me during my adventure.


With Orchestra: Overture; 1921; Amazing Journey; Sparks; Pinball Wizard; We’re Not Gonna Take It; Who Are You; Eminence Front; Imagine a Man; Hero Ground Zero; Join Together.

Band Only: Substitute; The Seeker; Won’t Get Fooled Again (acoustic; Roger & Pete only); Behind Blue Eyes.

With Orchestra: Ball and Chain; The Real Me; I’m One; The Punk and the Godfather (with Eddie Vedder)   ; 5:15; Drowned; The Rock; Love, Reign O’er Me; Baba O’Riley



Pearl Jam Leeds Arena 8th July 2014

Pearl Jam Leeds Arena 8th July 2014
pearljamtixThis was my initiation to Pearl Jam. I’ve been meaning to go and see them for some time and finally did so last night in Leeds. The closest I got until now was seeing singer Eddie Vedder guest with The Who at the Albert Hall a couple of years ago.
My evening started shortly after 5pm, as I set off down the A1. I had am uneventful journey south into Yorkshire and was parked up in a multi- storey car park in Leeds by 7pm. It was then a short walk to the First Direct Arena, before I took my seat in the first tier, just to the left of the stage. Pearl Jam came on just before 8.30pm; there was no support act. This was one of only two UK dates which they are playing this time around, the other being a massive open air show at Milton Keynes bowl.
Leeds First Direct Arena is a fine venue, which holds around 10,000 people, but somehow has the feel of a much smaller hall. This is my second visit, having seen Springsteen there last year.
I’m familiar with very little of Pearl Jam’s material, but I’ve read a lot about them, and was really looking forward to this gig.
Got home late last night. This was an epic 3+ hours, 30+ songs, set from the band, and they exceeded all my expectations. Few bands connect with the audience in the way Pearl Jam did last night. At times I felt like I was the only one in the entire arena who didn’t know all the words to every song as the whole crowd sang along, arms waving. It was like being an observer at someone else’s massive party. The band were very clearly having a great time, and made several references to being pleased to be playing in Leeds, where The Who recorded their famous live album. The encores included covers of two Who classics: The Real Me and Baba O’Reilly. I find Pearl Jam’s music difficult to categorise; although they grew out of the grunge movement, their songs reflect their classic 70s rock roots. You can hear The Who, punk, The Ramones all mashed in there somewhere. In some ways the epic, lengthy nature of the set, and the loyalty of the fans reminded me of seeing the Grateful Dead back in the day. Perhaps that’s a strange comparison, as the music of the two bands is so different. However, I am not alone in making it: “Is Pearl Jam a Modern Grateful Dead? Pearl Jam has long been linked to flannel, but what about tie-dye? As the band closes in on its second decade making music, Pearl Jam and its follow-them-anywhere fans have slowly become one of the tightest communities in rock ’n’ roll, complete with a vibrant bootleg trade centered around the band’s ever-changing, much-lauded live show that many claim transcends the pomp and circumstance of normal rock shows for something more human. Sound like a mouthful? Sure. Sound like the Grateful Dead? Absolutely.” (You can read the full article by Justin Jacobs at )
Last night what I witnessed was a classic rock act who transcend genres, were obviously enjoying themselves and unquestionably playing on top form. Many fans are already proclaiming it the best Pearl Jam gig they have attended.
Setlist: Pendulum; Of The Girl; Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town; Breakerfall; Hail Hail; Once; Mind Your Manners; Lightning Bolt; Tremor Christ; Wishlist; Who You Are; Ghost; Even Flow; Sirens; Push Me, Pull Me; Do The Evolution; Don’t Gimme No Lip; Army Reserve; Present Tense; Given To Fly; Setting Forth; Rearviewmirror.
Encore 1: Man Of The Hour; All Or None; Fatal; The Real Me (The Who cover); Porch.
Encore 2: Smile; Leaving Here; Black; Jeremy; State Of Love And Trust; Alive; Baba O’Riley (The Who cover); All Along The Watchtower (Dylan cover); Indifference