Pearl Jam returned to The Kia Forum for the second night in a row on Saturday, delighting the Valley with just the band’s third show of the 2022 North American Gigaton tour. After Friday night’s triumphant return with Pearl Jam’s first L.A. shows since 2013 and first Forum shows since 2006, the crowd was primed for a second helping of the beloved ’90s grunge act and Seattle’s biggest success story was ready to deliver. Eddie Vedder would grace the stage at doors—as he has for each of the tour’s first three nights—to welcome the early crowd with a song, but this time there was a twist.
As Ed was thanking fans for coming in early, he recognized some faces in the front and acknowledged an understanding of the effort required to have such a spot at a Pearl Jam show two days in a row.
“I’m realizing that to be up here you have to go through a lot and it’s a long day,” Vedder said. “I’m not sure how it would work out, and how many songs are on our master list that we actually know how to play, but I’m just gonna give you guys a sheet of paper and between yourselves just write out a few and when we come out here later we’ll pick one, okay?”
The envy of their peers, the couple who received the tabula rasa would spend the next hour in deep thought, holding a mini-conference on the rail and debating what appeared from a short distance away to be the most important decision of their lives. Hold that thought for now.
“I’m excited for you guys tonight,” said Mr. Vedder, launching into an ethereal cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers”. For those not paying close attention, it pays to show up early.
Eddie Vedder – “Wildflowers” (Tom Petty) – 5/7/22
[Video: Marc Komito]
Opening the main set with a cathartic “Release”, Pearl Jam would then play a trio from Yield in “Given To Fly”, “Do The Evolution”, and “Low Light”. While the first night featured six Gigaton tracks, five of which were repeats from the first night in San Diego, this show had only three, two of which were new in “Take The Long Way” and “Seven O’Clock”. The lone repeat was “Quick Escape”, one of the album’s hardest-hitting tracks with vintage Mike McCready face melt.
Pearl Jam – “Release” – 5/7/22
[Video: Marc Komito]
People pass on but music lives forever, and Pearl Jam would play “Immortality” before appropriately honoring Taylor Hawkins—whose family was in the house—with the first cover of the tour. As Eddie recounted, “He truly loved living his life on this planet with you people,” and then invited Mark Giuliana to play drums while Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron moved to guitar and sang lead vocals on “Cold Day In The Sun”, a song written by the Foo Fighter’s recently departed drummer. This is the first time Cameron would play guitar and sing lead vocals on stage with Pearl Jam. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Earthling drummer Chad Smith would also join the band on stage with a tambourine.
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Pearl Jam – “Cold Day In The Sun” (Foo Fighters) – 5/7/22
[Video: Marc Komito]
“Daughter” was next before Eddie Vedder then reached across the rail for the request sheet he handed out earlier.
“Did you guys spend the night here last night?” He asked as he looked the list over. “Oh, okay, let’s play this one”, Vedder said as he approached bassist Jeff Ament who replied incredulously with a shake of his head, “Now?” Pearl Jam would then tear through “Unthought Known”, a sneaky good track off of 2009’s Backspacer album as Mike McCready sprinted from corner to corner of the stage, ripping through solos and showering the crowd with handfuls of guitar picks.
The second request to be honored, “Glorified G”, was perhaps the singular highlight in a night full of them. This would be as good a time as any to note that the energy in the pit on Saturday was next level, feeding the band and entire building with tangible energy. Being surrounded by fans–almost exclusively Ten Club members who share a deep kinship after days in line together as well as their shared passion for the music–makes the experience just that much more special.
“Lukin” kept the energy high before Pearl Jam played its second cover, “I Believe In Miracles” by Ramones. “Garden”, “Mind Your Manners”, and “Porch” closed the main set, the latter replete with a vintage Mike McCready guitar toss.
“Better Man” with a complete “Save It For Later” tag kicked off the vintage Pearl Jam encore set before the band played “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town” while facing the fans seated behind the stage. Jeff Ament stole the spotlight on “Jeremy” before the band crushed an unexpected “Leash”, the night’s fifth song off of 1993’s Vs. “Alive” was again played under the full glow of the house lights before “Indifference” put a bow on the evening’s festivities. Eddie endearingly missed a few lyrics that the audience sang in his stead, humbly acknowledging the crowd’s effort while adlibbing the next line, “I f**ked it up.”
Pearl Jam – “Indifference” – 5/7/22
[Video: Marc Komito]
That singular lyrical faux pas notwithstanding, these shows have been flawless, really. For those of us lucky enough to be in the building once or perhaps even twice, nothing short of pure bliss. In fact, I’d wager that a mouse fart would be louder than a single complaint from anyone in the room, but the internet is funny and haters love to hate so I’ve caught wind of people complaining about the length of shows and the number of songs. Notably, the average show on this young tour has run for a duration of two hours and twenty-seven minutes with an average 23 songs played, a noticeable decrease from the three-hour, 35 song efforts of yesteryear, and longtime fans are still adjusting to what appears to be a new reality.
Here are the facts: This is the same Pearl Jam you fell in love with 31 years ago, better in fact as they’re more polished, mature, and self-aware. And it is exactly that self-awareness that led them to trim the fat and, quite frankly, they’re better for it. Plus, always leave them wanting more, right? These shows were as full and complete as any I’ve ever seen and if you want to complain that your favorite rock and roll band only played 23 songs in just under two-and-a-half hours, well, do it on your own dime.
Pearl Jam continues their tour tonight at The Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. Complete tour information and ticketing details can be found here.
Setlist: Pearl Jam | The Kia Forum | Inglewood, CA | 5/7/22
Pearl Jam: Release, Given To Fly, Do The Evolution, Low Light, Quick Escape, Take The Long Way, Even Flow, Seven O’Clock, Immortality, Cold Day In The Sun (Foo Fighters), Daughter, Unthought Known , Glorified G , Lukin, I Believe In Miracles (Ramones), Garden, Mind Your Manners, Porch
Encore: Better Man (Save It For Later), Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Jeremy, Leash, Alive, Indifference
Notes: Eddie Vedder performed “I Won’t Back Down” (Tom Petty) solo before introducing Pluralone.
 Played by request from audience members who were on the rail for nights one and two.