An Evening With Pearl Jam & Other Stories {Part 3}

A few weeks ago Cort and I went to Chicago to see Pearl Jam. It was the longest concert of my life, which is saying a LOT since I’ve been to hundreds of concerts.

I started the story here.

Last week I continued it here.

If you’re just tuning in the quick of it is: I had a bladder infection, Chicago traffic sucked, show started an hour late, a storm came and we had to be evacuated to under the bleachers.

We looked like this:

We are hot, sweaty, hungry, tired, and sore.

We are hot, sweaty, hungry, tired, and sore…and NOT watching Pearl Jam

Just after 11pm (midnight EST–our time, the time our bodies were on), we thought for sure the concert was dones-o. Maybe I hoped for that a little bit. What?

But nope, by 11:45 we were being let back on the field.  The threat of storm was gone, they had put the speakers and lights back up, and unwrapped the soundboard.  It was Go Time…again.

As we all got back in our seats, Eddie Vedder got the concert started again by inviting baseball great Ernie Banks on stage while they did “All the Way”.  It was pretty sweet to be in Wrigley and have that Cubs experience.

And then, as promised, Pearl Jam rocked out. The rest of the set list looked like this:

  • “All Night”
  • “Do the Evolution”
  • “Setting Forth” (Eddie Vedder song)
  • “Corduroy”
  • “Faithful”
  • “Mind Your Manners” (new single)
  • “Lightening Bolt” (new/live debut)
  • “State of Love and Trust”
  • “Wishlist”
  • “Evenflow”
  • “Leatherman”
  • “Eruption” (Van Halen cover…this rocked my face)
  • “Bugs”
  • “Why Go”
  • “Unknown Thought”
  • “Rearviewmirror”

The Encore (they made us wait less than five minutes for it):

  • “Future Days” (new/live debut)
  • “Mother” (Pink Floyd cover…this was the one cover I had hoped for!)
  • “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns” (Mother Love Bone cover)
  • “Porch”
  • “Wasted Reprise”
  • “Life Wasted”
  • “Black”
  • “”Rockin’ in the Free World” (Neil Young cover)

I can’t say I stood up and rocked out and forgot about how tired I was or how I was due for another dose of antibiotic/pain killers for my bladder infection. I can’t say I was so mesmerized by the music that I forgot that I hadn’t eaten in over nine hours.

But the show was good.  It was damn good.

2013-07-19 23.50.12

I did have to sit down a few times…like during the jam out session in the middle of “Porch” and during “Wishlist”.  My eyes felt heavy and I was pretty sure if I leaned forward and put my head in my hands I would nod off right there in the middle of one of the loudest concerts ever.

I stayed awake and I jammed out where appropriate.

And the couple in front of us? Smoked that never-ending joint until the concert was done at 2am (3am EST). Weirdos.

No really, they were weirdos and I was pretty glad to get away from them.

When the concert was done, we followed the herd to get out of the stadium. I can say I touched the ivy no less than three times. If you don’t know what I mean by that, you need to watch more baseball.

As we trudged to the train Cort held my hand and said, “just a 15 minute or so ride and we are back at the hotel. Almost done, babe.”  I held on and kept the thought of a warm shower and a fluffy hotel pillow in the center of my thoughts.

Do you know what the train platform looks like after a bazillion people flood out of Wrigley all at the same time? It’s busier than rush hour. And all those poor saps who were from out of town and had no idea the brown line stopped running at 2am…minutes before they arrived at the station.

Thank God for the Red Line.

I grabbed Cortney’s hand when the uptown-bound train pulled in and dragged him into an already crowded car. I was on a mission to get the hell back to the hotel. I was DONE. We really didn’t fit, but I told him to suck it in and we would stand just inside the doors (even though the door says not to do that). Just as I was about to let out a sigh of relief, FIVE MORE PEOPLE CRAMMED INTO OUR CAR.

The last one? A large, sweaty, drunk, old dude stopped in between me and Cortney so we could only see each other if we looked around him. The first time the doors tried to close, they bounced back open due to this guy’s butt. He squeezed in and the doors closed.

Damn it.

In order to not fall down, he braced himself by putting his arm up and holding on to the ceiling.  This placed his hairy, stinky armpit directly in my face.

You guys. Remember how I was DONE. It’s a wonder I did not kick this guy in the balls. I blame exhaustion.

We made it to our stop with Cort only giggling a few times at the armpit hair lightly brushing up against my face. The train stop was about four steps away from our hotel. Oh sweet fancy, we had made it!

…only to realize that 3am was the time they repainted the entry way of the hotel where we were staying…with paint that had noxious fumes.

OH. MY. LAWD.

Cort walked over to the tiny 24-hour store in the hotel and I followed hoping to get away from the fumes. No luck, but I did pick out a bag of Lays and a Cranberry juice. My lovely dinner after 13 hours without a meal.

I had to abandon the idea Cortney to pay for our things because I thought I was going to pass out from the fumes. By the time we got up to our hotel and I slid into a hot shower, it was at least 3:45 am (4:45 am EST).

By 4am I was in bed with throbbing legs and temples.

The next day we were on the road back home by 10:30am (11:30 EST). Since my parents were not going to nap Charlie, we drove straight back without food stops.

Needless to say, we ordered the biggest pizza we could that night, and went to bed early.

Would I do it again?

If you asked me the day after the concert I would have laughed until I cried, but now that some time has passed and I have re-listened to some of the songs from that night?

Yes. I totally would.

But don’t tell Cortney.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. I laughed at the image of your face smooshed in smelly, drunk guy’s hairy armpit.
    What? It’s gross and funny, and apparently I’m a 12 year old boy.
    Thank goodness the concert was good.

    • I was thinking THAT’S the picture I want to see – you and Cort peeking at each other around the drunk guy’s mid-section.

      Priceless.

      Cheers to coming home, getting pizza and going to bed early without an encore.
      Even though I love “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns” shamelessly.

  2. you are a very strong woman and with little complaint. WOW, Go YOU. 😉

    Hey my friend, if nothing else, you got a REALLY GOOD BLOG POST out of it. xoxo

  3. That picture! Seriously, that sounds like a nightmare. Holy hell.

  4. OH my goodness. Armpit hair lightly brushing against your face? What, the UTI/traffic/storm evac/weed smokers weren’t enough?

    I think you should write to Eddie Vedder and link him up to this series of unfortunate events that you endured to see his band play. That should get you at least one free ticket, yes?

  5. I’m gagging about the armpit guy.

  6. oh armpit guy would have been shoved out. ughhhh.

  7. You make misery sound funny, and that’s something. But oh, the armpit. Just no.

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