ROCK royalty was on Leeside last night, as Eddie Vedder delivered one of the great Live at the Marquee performances.
It was an epic two hour and 25-minute show, featuring over 30 songs, by one of the most distinctive voices in rock.
It opened on the perfect note with Pearl Jam’s Better Man drawing an ecstatic response and concluded on an electrified Hard Sun, as Vedder bounced around the stage hammering his guitar with The Who’s Pete Townsend’s trademark windmill move. All while wearing a red ‘People’s Republic of Cork’ t-shirt!
There was a link to the icons of another era throughout, with Vedder referencing the fact Roger Waters played at the Marquee before an aching piano-driven cover of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. Neil Young is another legend who lit up the Marquee and Vedder’s version of Rockin’ in the Free World was as good as you’d expect.
Wishlist was preceded by a snippet of U2’s Bad, while Bruce Springsteen was also acknowledged and The Clash provided a rousing Should I Stay or Should I Go. This was music at its purest, stripped back ala MTV’s Unplugged series from the nineties as Vedder had the packed Marquee hanging on his every word even without the powerful backing of his Pearl Jam bandmates.
The Seattle native had a little help from Ireland’s own Glen Hansard – who also excelled in a short opening slot, which included Revelate, When Your Mind’s Made Up, a rollicking Way Back in the Way Back When and a soaring Bird of Sorrow – and occasionally a four-string quartet. Otherwise it was all about those deep tones, classic songs and megawatt charisma.
His daughter Olivia – with wife Jill McCormick whose Irish roots were mentioned glowingly – turned 13 yesterday so the audience serenated her via a live link-up before Vedder fired the birthday cake from the stage. It was that type of joyous gig, even if there were subtle references to the recent death of grunge contemporary Chris Cornell.
Black was majestic, but so too were Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town and Porch. Even the ukulele section was fun.
By the time Hansard arrived for the finale the Marquee was erupting. Falling Slowly was simply stunning, but Vedder and the Dubliner got huge mileage from improvising new verses in The Auld Triangle. With a pint of the black stuff added for good measure.
Vedder was in top form throughout, engaging with the crowd from early on, including an apology about the long wait since he was last in Cork with Pearl Jam, at Millstreet in 1996. He vowed to return soon. Perhaps Pearl Jam at Páirc Uí Chaoimh next summer awaits?