As most of you know, Pearl Jam is by far and away my favorite band of all time. My taste for PJ comes from a love of rock, alternative, grunge, and punk music that goes back to some of my first CD’s which included, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Bush, and Soundgarden. I always liked PJ, but never celebrated their full catalogue until I was exposed to their tunes through my brother-in-law Jeff. He opened my eyes to their style, lyrics, and being an actual band that stands for things and ideas (even though I often disagree with their political stances). They are a passionate band, who write amazing lyrics, and puts on a helluva show (or at least I had heard). I have never seen them live!
Finally the stars aligned! PJ scheduled a show in Missoula, MT (their only non-festival North American show) and it was on my birthday. I got a chance to spend the weekend in Missoula staying with my dear friends, Jesse and Carlee Brown, who just recently moved back to MT from Boise. It was great to spend down time with them, play with their newborn son Jaxson, and explore the city of Missoula.
On Saturday we watched some football, then met with my other friend Ethan Stokes to do a mini micro brew tour on our bikes. We hit several stops, and tasted several pints of the local stuff! Missoula has a great craft beer following! The three of us stayed up late and just laughed and told old funny stories under a hazy head full of cascade hops and malted brew.
We had a marvelous breakfast followed by a beautiful hike above town to see campus and all of Missoula spread below us from Mt. Sentinel. A beautiful fall day in Montana, and it was nice to see some color change (Bend hasn’t really changed yet).
Ali and Jeff came up from Bozeman, and we all met at Carlee and Jesse’s house to watch the end of the Ryder Cup, and start the celebration of my birthday. I know I’ve said it before, but it is so cool to be within a half day drive to be able to see our friends and family. After celebrating with some pie, and drinks we buzzed down to a BBQ that was being hosted by some of Ali’s friends. The host was a local chef/ caterer, so obviously the food was off the charts!
Ali and Jeff headed to the show early, as Jeff had floor seats, and wanted to get as close to the front as possible. Ethan and I spent some time in the beer garden, then went to our seats during Mudhoney’s opening act.
Although the concert was a political benefit concert, most of the show wasn’t necessarily a left winger propoganda-fest. Eddie made points about making sure to exercise your right to vote, and making sure youth people went out and voted as well. They really believe in what they stand for, and aren’t afraid to say it. I can respect that.
Their set was something sent from the heavens. They played classics, and hard stuff, then would sit down and play a campfire set of some of their later acoustic stuff. I sang every lyric of every song, and rocked out really really hard for the 3+ hours. In fact, at the end of the show they played a cover of “Kick Out the Jams”, which is a fast punk/ rock song and I thought my head was going to fall off my body because I was head banging so hard.
By the end, they had played for over 3.5 hours, and I was soaked with sweat and euphoric from seeing my favorite band of all time. I leaned over to Ethan during one of Eddie Vedder’s intermission’s and said “it’s almost like hearing the voice of God…” with a big ass grin on my face.