Pearl Jam at Wrigley Take Two

Three years ago, in 103 degree heat, while rocking a UTI, and then being evacuated for three hours due to a wicked lightning storm and high winds, Cortney and I saw Pearl Jam at Wrigley. It was epic for a number of reasons. Clearly. In fact it took THREE blog posts to write all about it.

Things went much more smoothly this year, but not at first.

pearl jam

We were about an hour or so into our drive in pretty stormy weather (my weather app told me Chicago would be done with rain that night for the show, but we would have to drive through some gnarly stuff), when my phone blew up with tornado warnings. Um. Apparently there was a tornado sighted just east of where we were driving. Since the weather was moving quickly to the east, we decided to stay on the road and keep driving (sorry, mom!). Then I checked Facebook and saw that my parents’ (who had the kids) were also under tornado warning, so I texted my mom to make sure everyone was in the basement.

Everything ended up fine; no one was swept away in a tornado, and in the end we had one of the quickest trips into Chicago we have ever had despite the severe weather.

pearl jam

We got to our hotel right at 3pm for check in and then headed to the closest train station to get our tickets so we wouldn’t get stuck in the mad rush before and after the show. Then we decided that since we skipped lunch and it was close to 4:30pm our time (3:30 local), we would grab burgers at the Weber Grill.

pearl jam

After dinner we were super full and had some time, so we headed up to the room to refresh from the drive and get ready to head out to the show. When we left the hotel for the train, the sun was shining and we were super excited.

As soon as the train came out into the open, it was pouring rain. Thankfully, it only last a minute and by the time we found our way to the Will Call line, it had passed. Good thing because it took almost an hour in line at Will Call to get our dang tickets.  Longest line EVER.

But it meant there was lots of time to people watch. Before we got there, my brother and his friend saw the drummer, Matt Cameron, walking around with his little kid. We were not that lucky, but I did see a LOT of beards and undercuts.

I also listened to a bunch of conversations because, well, it was crowded and everyone was very close. Lots of talk about the last time PJ played Wrigley and we were all evacuated for 3 hours due to the storm. Most of those stories had a lot of “dude!” in them.

The couple behind us made me realize how long we have been journeying to these shows. The guy was on the phone with what I assume was one of his parents. I heard snippets of “when you get there she will probably have to go pee pee or maybe some poops” and “at bedtime just read her a book and sing her a song. You can just make it up, but put her name in it. She will probably go to bed then, but if she says no, just say, ‘one more song and then you have to go to sleep’ and that will usually work.”

I chuckled to myself as I calculated that it had been eighteen years since my first PJ show (Alpine Valley, WI in 1998), and those were NOT the conversations I was hearing back then. At all.

pearl jam

One in we quickly found our way to the field where we had 4th row tickets (think right field) behind the general admission people. So, excellent seats, basically. This friends, is why Cortney keeps his fan club membership current. It pays off awesomely for shows.

My brother and sister-in-law were also there and we found them before the show. My brother, Chris (the older of my two younger brothers), was with me when we both saw our first PJ show. Again, eighteen years ago. We both confirmed that at 38 and almost 36 we were too old for general admission tickets and needed a seat for our aging booties.

2016-08-20 19.03.20

They also had 4th row seats, but in left field. After the show we met them back at the Weber Grill (because it’s attached to our hotel) for drinks and snacks. It was fun to be able to have a little adult time with them since between us we have six kids.

The show started shortly after 8pm and went until just after 11pm.

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The last time we were here, there was the most blown out couple of all time in front of us. This year we got The Pearl Jam Mega Fan. He remembered to pack not just his air guitar, but also his air drum set and air keyboards. He had a Tommy Boy hair cut and jumped around like House of Pain was giving him direct orders. You better know his favorite songs were the old ones from Ten that have been played to death on the radio. Dude almost lost his mind when they played “Alive.”

We were entertained.

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I absolutely loved the show. Loved it. They opened with “Low Light” (after the opening chords of “Baba O’Reily”) which is one of my faves and then went into “Release”. I admit to crying. That song has always been a powerful reminder to me of how hard I fight my depression and anxiety disorders.

pearl jam

in the lower left corner you an see PJ Mega Fan jammin’ out.

This is the whole set list:

  1. “Low Light”
  2. “Release”
  3. “Rain” (Beatles cover)
  4. “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”
  5. “Do The Evolution”
  6. “Last Exit”
  7. “Lightning Bolt”
  8. “Sad”
  9. “Amongst The Waves”
  10. “Evenflow”
  11. “Light Years” (Dedicated to Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip)
  12. “I Got Id”
  13. “Mind Your Manners”
  14. “Unthought Known”
  15. “Masters of War” (Bob Dylan cover)
  16. “I Am A Patriot” (Little Steven cover)
  17. “Daughter” (with the “W.M.A. tag at the end)
  18. “Jeremy”
  19. “Betterman” (with the “Save it For Later” tag at the end)

Encore #1

  1. “Bee Girl”
  2. “Just Breathe” (had a couple on the stage: Amy and Kyle. Kyle is a serviceman and Amy surprised him with tickets, so Eddie Vedder had them on stage. Kyle proposed during the song to Amy. ADORABLE)
  3. “I Believe in Miracles” (Ramones cover)
  4. “Let Me Sleep”
  5. “Inside Job”
  6. “Comfortably Numb” (Pink Floyd cover)
  7. “Interstellar Overdrive” (Pink Floyd cover)
  8. “Corduroy”
  9. “Porch”

Encore #2

  1. “Go”
  2. “Black”
  3. “Surrender” (Cheap Trick cover)

Encore #3

  1. “All the Way”
  2. “Baba O’Riley” (The Who cover)

Cortney made the statement–I don’t think it was a complaint, but maybe a little?–that the show was “cover heavy”. That is true, they did eight covers (9 if you count the started the show with the opening of “Baba O’Riley too). He also mentioned it seemed “slow” compared to three years ago when he felt his face had been melted by the sheer rock n roll of it all.

I didn’t feel my face was melted, but I definitely enjoyed this show, maybe even more than last time because I wasn’t dying of heat, drenched from rain, or exhausted because it was almost 3am.

I would have liked to hear “Future Days” rather than “Just Breathe” and it would have been nice to get a few songs of No Code. They only played two songs off their latest album, Lightning Bolt, which I thought was surprising. More songs than I would have liked from Ten, but what can you do? People like the old stuff, I guess.

2016-08-20 21.17.37

I couldn’t help but think about how Eddie Vedder used to hang from the lighting equipment during “Porch” and he even reminisced about where the song “Bee Girl” came from  talking about how he used to worry about the boy from the “Jeremy” video who was only twelve at the time it came out. Lots has changed now that the band members are all around fifty instead of thirty.

And we fans aren’t teenagers anymore and have our own kids. In fact, they play another show at Wrigley tonight and my brother is bringing his eleven-year-old son with him.

pearl jam

But man, Pearl Jam can still fill the stadiums. The place was PACKED. And even though there were definitely some “interesting” people there, Pearl Jam fans are still, for the most part, super cool. People are kind and helpful and fun. They are devoted too! We met a couple in our hotel who was there from Florida!

If seeing Pearl Jam wasn’t awesome enough, the next morning we got to have brunch with my best friend and her husband and son who live in Chicago.

I went home a very VERY happy girl. It was the perfect way to kick off my last week of summer vacation before heading back to school for the year.

Thank you to Cortney for picking me as his date to the show!

An Evening with Pearl Jam & Other Stories {Part 2}

We went to see Pearl Jam in Chicago a couple weekends ago. If you missed the back story of our journey to Chicago/our field seats at Wrigley, go ahead and get caught up.

When we last left our heroic couple, they were just getting to their seats on Wrigley Field in the 103 degree Chicago sun.

View of the stage from our seats.

View of the stage from our seats.

The original plan had us arriving by 3:30 local time, picking up our tickets, and having a nice dinner before the concert. Because we didn’t get there until after 6pm and the concert’s start time was 7:30, we decided we would just do concession food.

And then we hit the wall of people.  When we finally found our seats, we figured someone could get food if they ever went to the bathroom.  If you are following along, you will remember that I was diagnosed with a pretty ugly UTI that afternoon, so we all knew who that “someone” going to the bathroom was going to be.

Since it was already after 7:30 by the time I had to pee (thank goodness the meds kicked in quickly and I wasn’t dying from pee urges), I hustled to find one that wasn’t a Port-o-John. I also wanted to find a real concession stand because we wanted water, not beer (which was all they sold on the field).  The concession stand actually had food too, but since I was trying to hurry and not miss anything, I figured I would come back later for pretzels and hot dogs.

I should have just gotten the food.

The concert didn’t end up starting until 8:18pm.

We are at Pearl Jam!

We are at Pearl Jam! And it’s HOT out!

I should probably take a minute to tell you about the people around us.

First there were the guys behind us who had never heard of the song “Bugs”.  Pearl Jam has only played it live three times, but it’s not a rarity. It’s on the Vitalogy album. I shook my head a lot listening to those guys.

The guy next to Cort was a backer-upper and kept trying to crowd Cort out, which in turn crowded me into the old hippie next to me.  Speaking of the old hippie, he was with what I assumed was his teenage son.  His teenage son kept talking about the Kardashians and TMZ.

The couple in front of us had the never-ending joint.  Seriously.

They smoked from the first note to the last note...at 2am.

They smoked from the first note to the last note…at 2am.

I get that the pot happens at concerts, but they smoked so much I was starting to get a queasy feeling from smelling sewage weed all night on empty stomachs.

So anyway, the concert started at 8:18pm

There's some Eddie Vedder on the screen!

There’s some Eddie Vedder on the screen!

They started out nice and mellow opening with “Release”, a song that, since having depression and anxiety, has come to mean much more to me than it did in my teen  years.

Eddie Vedder let us know that since they were in it with us for the long haul, they were pacing themselves. They then played “Nothingman”, “Present Tense” (it was during this song that I pointed out the irony of Vedder singing about living in the present tense with a bunch of faces stuck down in their phones. It was sad), “Hold On”, “Low Light”, “Come Back” (which always reminds me of my father-in-law), and “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”.

This was when someone started talking in Vedder’s ear and he announced that there was a major storm with high winds and lots of lightening moving in.  According to the weather watchers at the airport, it was about 30 minutes out and they wanted to use that time to evacuate anyone on the field in case something on the stage would break and fall during the storm.

So just like that we were herded into the concords and under the bleachers.

This is where my previous trip to the bathroom came in handy.

Most people seemed to huddle under the bleachers just as they entered the concord, but I told Cortney if we pushed on, we could be near a concession stand and the bathrooms.

We also ended up near a gate, so we got some fresh air and could watch the storm come in.

It was really hot under there. The next day I heard reports that people had been passing out, and I remembered seeing paramedics run by us every so often. Luckily, where we were, there was a nice breeze once the winds picked up and the rain started.

It was crowded in the land of the PJ fan storm camps.

It was crowded in the land of the PJ fan storm camps.

You would think we would take this opportunity to eat, but here is the thing. First, the concessions around us started running out of food (although they sold beer the entire time).  Secondly, while we stood there hating our life (by this time it was about 9:30pm with no end in sight to the evacuation), Cort promised me a big old spread of room service when we got back.  That ALWAYS sounds better than scouting out the last stadium hot dog.

So we waited for the storm.  When it finally hit (almost an hour into the evacuation), we stayed in contact with our friend Erin who was in the top bowl, under the canopy. She let us know what was going on in the land of the above ground people.

I also thought of my friend Keely who was not sheltered…unless she went inside during the storm.

She later told me they went inside during the storm.

She later told me they went inside during the storm.

We watched the storm. It really was about a 30-minute storm, but by that time it was after 10pm. The curfew for concerts is 11pm. While Eddie Vedder had said they got the curfew extended, we wondered how far out they could possibly have given them.

At 11pm (remember it was midnight est by this time) we were sore (there was no where to sit since the ground was wet from spilled beer and leaked rain water), hungry, tired, and crabby.

We were starting to wonder if they were just going to call it a night.  And maybe we were hoping they would.

Finally around 11:30 we got word that people were being let out on the field, that the soundboard had been unwrapped, and that the speakers were going back up on the stage.

By 11:45 we were being herded back to our seats.  At one point, Cortney (who was behind me in all this  herding) rubbed by arm with his hand. As I whipped my head to the side I growled, “Cort, that better be you or someone is getting punched in the crotch.”  The poor guy next to me threw his hands up to prove it wasn’t him.  We all laughed it off, but that guy found his way away from me fast.

By midnight (1am est), the concert had started again.

There is still MORE to this story, so I will give you Part III (the conclusion) next week. Until then, party on.

An Evening with Pearl Jam & other Stories. {Part 1}

It is 103 degree and humid, but thankfully we found a spot near one of the gates that at least gets some air movement.  Others were not so lucky, choosing to camp out in the concords. The next day I heard that people had been passing out from the heat down there.

Our legs and backs ached from having been standing in the same place for so long. It was almost 11pm (midnight eastern–which our bodies were on).

How did we get here?

It started out innocently. Months ago Cortney got us tickets to An Evening with Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field in Chicago. No opening bands; just Pearl Jam.  In Wrigley.

I don’t have the space here to tell you what long-time fans we (mostly Cortney) are. I’ll just say this: I currently have over 40 days straight of music in my itunes on my computer. This is only a fraction of the music we actually own because I don’t have the space (or the desire) to have months worth of live Pearl Jam on my machine.  Before we saved our music on hard drives, you could see a 500-disc holder in our basement at LEAST a third of the way filled with live Pearl Jam.

Cortney is in the fan club. Since, like, the beginning of time.

Anyway.

Eddie Vedder (lead singer of Pearl Jam) is a giant Cubs fan. He has always said playing at Wrigley would be the epitome. Clearly playing a baseball field in July is hard to book. But they did, and we got tickets.

It was going to be our “month-late-anniversary-trip.” Our “no-kids-relaxing-fun-weekend.”

Our seats were right on the field (thank you, Fan Club).

Cortney took Friday off from work, secured my parents to watch the boys for the afternoon and over night, booked us a hotel near the train, and had everything planned out to leave by 1pm Est.  That would give us time to get there, check in, have a nice dinner and pick up our tickets and Will Call, and the find our seats since the concert start time was 7:30 CT.

The plan was awesome. It was “best laid”.  And we all know what they say about the best laid plans?

Yeah.  They go right to hell in a hand basket.

First, I woke up on Friday to a bladder infection. I called the doc and they can get me in…at 2pm est. An hour after we planned to leave.

“It’s Ok,” Cortney said, “get it taken care of. They are usually fast, especially on a Friday.”

At 1pm, Cort left to take the boys to my parents’ house. I finished our packing and headed out to my appointment early.

Short, cotton dress since it's going to be a thousand degrees...with a chance of thunderstorms.

Short, cotton dress since it’s going to be a thousand degrees…with a chance of thunderstorms.

They got me in early!  Yay!  Things are looking up!  Within 15 minutes I am seen and meds are called in and I am out of there.

To give the pharmacy time to process my script, I caledl Cort to tell him I’m done already, hit the bathroom (because, hello, UTI), and then went to the pharmacy. By the time I got there, it had been 15 minutes since the prescription was sent in, so it should have been waiting.

It wasn’t. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited…a full 30 minutes (45 minutes after the script had been received). I watched other people come and go. I watched the pharmacist leave his job to chat with someone about OTC meds.

Finally I got up and asked, “how much longer? and may I use your bathroom? I am waiting on meds for a BLADDER INFECTION!”

When I got back from the bathroom, I waited five more minutes and it was ready. I may have asked to speak to the pharmacist and I may have told them we are switching pharmacies because of their piss poor service.

In the meantime, Cortney had gotten the boys off to my parents and he had stopped to buy me cranberry juice.

We left for Chicago around 3:30pm est.  Finally.

I only needed to stop to pee four times during the 150 mile trip. I count that as winning.

And then, 10 miles from our hotel, we hit this:

Chicago traffic around 5:30 local time.

Chicago traffic around 5:30 local time.

Our GPS (who we have named Judy Garmin. Don’t ask) told us that it was 10 minutes to our hotel with a minute delay due to traffic. I had to pee (again), but decided to hold it because…10 minutes. Right?

Um. Yeah.

Oh and as we sat there? We noticed this:

Cort is imagining sitting on a ball field in this heat.

Cort is imagining sitting on a ball field in this heat.

So an hour later, we finally get to our hotel (I ran to pee as Cort got our luggage and talked to the valet), check in, and by then it was  closing on 6:30 local time. We had to make like a baby and head out…quick!

The view from out hotel

The view from out hotel

I left my meds in the room because, well, we will be back by midnight for me to take the next dose and I really don’t want to carry my precious pee meds around Chicago.

The red line was like four steps from out hotel, so we jumped on and headed to Wrigley.

Holy. People. Batman.

Now I don’t know who organized the gig, if it was Pearl Jam’s people or the Wrigley people, but getting in was a shit show.

Field access people (us) had one entrance. Seemed legit. Until we walked all the way around the dang field to the one Field Access Entrance and as soon as we got in it mooshed us with the non-field people at a stand immediately in the entrances so we could get a wrist band that proved we could have field access.

To say it felt like I was in a mosh pit is an understatement.

People pushed and shoved to get to the TWO people putting wristbands on.  Why they couldn’t have done this as we went in the FIELD ACCESS entry, I have no idea.

We were hot and sweaty, but we had wrist bands, so we went to find out seats.

View of the stage from our seats.

View of the stage from our seats.

This ends part one. This story is too long to continue in one post. Stay tuned for music, storms, and being crushed on the Red Line in the next installment.

 

my love boat captain

Is this just another day…this god forgotten place?

First comes love, then comes pain.  Let the games begin…

Questions rise and answers fall…insurmountable.

This week has been one of those weeks where my brain worked on a specific topic from every angle imaginable.  My mind and heart do not process hurt well.  I have taken this particular item and let it consume me–asking Cort questions that seemed silly to him, but were so very serious to me.

My mind is swirling.

My heart is swelling and then aching and tingling with possibility and then crushed with reject.

My perceptions of happiness coming up short and oh so wrong.

love and disappointment and grief a tangled mess.

I’m tired.

Is this just another phase?  Earthquakes making waves…

Trying to shake the cancer off?  Stupid human beings…

Once you hold the hand of love…all’s surmountable.

Bad things happen to us all.  I know this.

Lately I have been obsessed with our list of “bad” and it has been hard to see the good.

I go through these funks.  Where our list of strikes against us seems so big…so…insurmountable.

And this week I just couldn’t take my mind off one burning question: what if it became too much.  What if I had to do this all…alone.

It’s an art to live with pain…mix the light into gray,

lost 9 friends we’ll never know…2 years ago today,

And if our lives become too long, would it add to our regret?

But I don’t have to do it alone.

He reassured me of that.

The hurt?  The pain?  The mountains of obstacles?

They are ours. not mine.

Ours.

And the young, they can lose hope cause they can’t see beyond today…

The wisdom that the old can’t give away.

Hey,

Constant recoil…

Sometimes life

don’t leave you alone…

The idea of forever and love and marriage has confused me.

Possibilities have given me hope, while at the same time have left me questioning myself.

Being on the brink of…I don’t even know…has me antsy and wondering.

I don’t do waiting well.

Especially when I don’t know what I am waiting for.

Hold me and make it the truth,

That when all is lost there will be you.

Cause to the universe I don’t mean a thing,

And there’s just one word I still believe and it’s…

love…love. love. love. love.

He will stay with me.

Because even though we have had a lot of bad…

we still have a lot of bad…

we will continue to be thrown bad….

He will hold my hand.

Love boat captain,

take the reigns…steer us toward the clear

I know it’s already been sung…can’t be said enough,

Love is all you need…all you need is love.

Love…Love…

Love.

My love boat captain

all lyrics from “love boat captain” by pearl jam
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