Eddie Vedder at the Fox Theatre, 7/1/11: Review, Photo, Setlist

eddie-vedder-review-setlist.jpg
Jason Stoff
​Eddie Vedder | Glen Hansard
Fox Theatre
July 1, 2011

Nobody tell Nic Cage, but Eddie Vedder's voice is basically a national treasure at this point. It's the voice that launched a thousand alt-rock vocalists, those of Creed and Fuel least notable on the list. And when it comes to shows with the level of intimacy created last night at the Fox, it's the only instrument that actually matters, a guttural, still-jarring yaw that is as dramatic as it is dynamic. Vedder can -- and did, frequently -- take that voice from Bolton to Jackson to Jagger in one note. Sometimes, it's almost alarming.

"I'd like to start with something I don't say very often," Vedder said by way of introduction. "Hello, St. Louis."

In the past four years, Vedder has released two solo albums, the Into the Wild soundtrack and Ukulele Songs, the reason for his current tour and the tiny instrument he played for about 80 percent of the show. His fans are generally divided into camps: Some worry that his Dad-rock focus will kill out his stadium-rock beginnings, and others rock equally hard to both and don't really give a shit. The night held a sizable share of each inside the almost uncomfortably personal experience that is a predominantly acoustic show at the Fox. Vedder himself, wearing, at alternating times, a T-shirt, a lazy button-up and a lab coat, falls cleanly into the second camp.

What would quickly become a dramatic, all-out marathon of passionate interaction between the audience and the 46-year-old Pearl Jam frontman began with one of his most famous project's songs, a ukulele version of Pearl Jam's "Can't Keep" that leads his latest album. Although the generous selection of Pearl Jam tracks found overwhelmingly positive reception as the show continued, it was to the crowd's credit that fan-friendly knockouts such as a toned-down, tender "Better Man" received the same appreciation as the rowdy renditions of Into the Wild tracks "Society" and "Hard Sun."

The man behind the ukulele -- and both acoustic and electric guitars, a harmonica, an ocean-sounds machine and looping equipment -- was a charming but almost clumsy entertainer between songs. Constantly pushing his telltale rowdy locks to the back of his head, Vedder looks like a bear but comes with an awkward charm that could rival even the smooth Sinatra in its power to enthrall. Simply put, Vedder knows his fan base. Signs of the ease with which he relates to his audience were apparent throughout the jokes and stories he shared during a set as tight-knit as a VH1 Storytellers session. At one point, the oversized voice dedicated "I Am Mine" to a fan in Joplin, while later anecdotes found him rehashing time spent doing drugs with Keith Richards and recounting the birth of his daughter. One eccentric but endearing story ended in the line, "Now even goddamn Snoopy is a terrorist."

Vedder began his set with a simple black background, but that changed rapidly depending on the mood and instrumentation of each song. A cover of Cat Stevens' "Trouble" found him seated in a brick alley setting, while later songs such as "Hard Sun" saw the singer rooted in a beach scene and sporting a white lab coat. His awkward but arresting stage presence didn't mesh with the forced backdrops, but he found comfort again when bantering with audience members and teasing one of the show's sign language translators.

While he spent long, expansive musical runs augmenting his songs with the ukulele he bought in a dive shop devoted to fishing equipment, the real instrument, as always, was that voice. In a single song, such as "Society," Vedder can trace the lineage of his almost notorious vocal chords through yodels, falsetto and painful, frantic shouts before returning to a surprisingly gentle faded outro. Although the show's three encores varied as much in theme as the different parts of their host's career, it seemed pretty clear that the show would end after "Hard Sun." Vedder, his lab coat akimbo, waved to the audience while drinking wine out of the bottle. This is the Vedder we know.

There were both literal and figurative gasps, then, when Vedder returned for a fourth round, now in only a T-shirt, his beginning bars almost drowned out by the sound of so many hands clapping. Vedder pushed his hair back from his face, sat on his stool, picked up the ukulele and sang, with the deepest and softest variant of his trademark roar, "Dream a Little Dream." It turns out we know this Vedder, too.

Critic's Notebook: It must be really tough to be the sign-language translator at an Eddie Vedder show. The man's voice is confusing at best and dramatically muffled at worst. That being said, the interaction between Vedder and one of the translators was a highlight of the night. After showing appreciation for her work and offering her wine, Vedder faked both her and the audience out by singing the lines, "The singer is a fucking asshole. The singer is a prick." While both laughed and she signed, he continued with, "Somebody was signing to me the other day. I thought maybe that's what they were saying. Now I've confirmed it."

Overheard: "Man, I really want to see Pearl Jam now," a man in a T-shirt with a fake license plate reading ED VEDR said outside after the show. Don't we all? In general, the post-show elation was met with much unjustified surprise that he "still has it." Did he ever lose it? Better question: What is it? I need to get some.

Eddie Vedder Setlist:
Can't Keep
Sleeping By Myself
Without You
Goodbye
You're True
Light Today
Trouble
Sometimes
I Am Mine
Thumbing My Way
Drifting
Better Man
Far Behind
Long Nights (with Glen Hansard)
Guaranteed
Rise
Just Breathe
Small Town
Unthought Known

Encore one:
Wishlist
Immortality
Sleepless Nights (with Glen Hansard)
Society (with Glen Hansard)
Falling Slowly (with Glen Hansard)
Last Kiss
So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star
Lukin
Porch

Encore two:
Hard Sun (with Glen Hansard)

Encore three:
Dream a Little Dream of Me



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26 comments
Kittykibble
Kittykibble

What links Eddie Vedder to Nicolas Cage and even Al Capone is the fact that, he, like the latter 2 personalities can be charged with tax evasion! Washington Federal Government records would show that Vedder hasn't been dutifully paying his taxes for his so called side projects since 1993  upto the present. He can therefore be called Mr. Eddie "tax-eVader." 'Tis really true...

Christy
Christy

I was there, tenth (no pun intended) time seeing him in concert!!!!  AMAZING!!!

Terry V. West
Terry V. West

The single most unbelievable night of my life. It was an awesome show all the way around. I talked to several people about going that all said  "Ukulele?" I Knew he would bring it no matter what he was doing. It was spectacular!

Vincentlatino
Vincentlatino

Who ever wrote this article forgot to mention the best song of the night. The last song before the first encore "Arc". Your truly, Vincent Latino. Was at the concert with my brother and best friend.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... 

Timmer
Timmer

And note EV's sticker on the equipment behind him:  "Cub Power".  Go Cubs Go Eddie! 

Lldlwys
Lldlwys

Can anyone who was at the concert tell me the name of the song glen hansard played to end his set? I'd greatly appreciate it.

Gina Marshall Larkin
Gina Marshall Larkin

Eddie Vedder is still so cool.  Great concert at the Fox Theatre last night!

Mike
Mike

The show was F-ING AMAZING!!!! I been going to Pearl Jam shows all over the country for 18 years. I have seen alot of graet shows. Did not know what to expect with Ed doing a solow. But to me it had to be one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. Thanks for coming and choosing the Fox. Cant wait for the next PJ tour. 

Happy
Happy

We also went to see Glen Hansard and stayed for Eddie Vedder.  If you're interested, the Post Dispatch wrote several lines about Glen's performance.  Both acts were amazing.  It speaks volumes about both artists that they performed Glen's "Falling Slowly" during one of Eddie's encores.

smokey
smokey

Unbelievable show.  "Just Breathe" and "Immortality" were my favorites!  Very cool hearing Eddie speak of his daughter.  He is an amazing performer...so intense!  I love it.

Annemo
Annemo

The show was amazing, due in large part to Glen Hansard.  I'd love to see a review of his set, along with a set list.  Glen is the main reason I went to the concert.  I do love Eddie, and he was great. 

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