Pearl Jam Wow in Seattle

In May -- a month when the sun’s solar flares created some of the most extraordinary and intense low-latitude aurora sightings in years -- Pearl Jam, one of the most influential and electrifying bands in recent memory, started the first leg of their 2024 Dark Matter World Tour in support of their astrophysically-titled twelfth album. While the magnificent celestial lightshows that occurred during the initial phase of the band’s West Coast voyage could be ascribed as coincidence, astrological news of additional solar flares coincided with the band’s return to their hometown of Seattle, closing out the first leg of their tour and suggesting perhaps something metaphysical was at hand. This cosmic conundrum had many devoted superfans standing in line at The Climate Pledge Arena for the first of two sold-out shows, wondering how much of Pearl Jam’s Dark Matter tour and release was divined; more importantly, what role this mysterious material plays in the band’s musical world.

Upon entering the vast venue, the astronomical questions continued. Several concertgoers in the circular halls bandied about scientific dark matter definitions summarized, in short, as being an intricate web of nonluminous, invisible material that exerts extra gravitational force. The packed floor and filled rafters also sounded off on the band’s astrophysics inklings, albeit in the form of bat-like signals, with super fans donning custom-made “Mike McCready is Dark Matter” tees, a nod to the shredder's surreal guitar playing capabilities, and official NASA “Don’t Let Gravity Get You Down” sweatshirts. At its core, this undercurrent of scientific existential chatter highlighted what makes the five so special; their innate ability to imperceptibly intertwine universal themes into superbly crafted songs that connect with people worldwide at profound levels. Essentially, Pearl Jam created their own dark musical matter. 

This invisible bond Pearl Jam shares with its fans would soon become apparent when the house lights dimmed and the stage curtains opened, revealing a huge screen and an icy white-blue backlit stage reminiscent of the brightest stars in the galaxy. As the outlines of Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder appeared, fans prepared themselves for an evening where the fives’ carefully curated set would entangle them in a magical musical moment. 

Acutely aware of their singular connection with their fans, Eddie moved toward the edge of the stage, crouched, and placed his notebook against a low-lying riser. While there, he made eye contact with a few lucky concertgoers. After clasping his hands and pausing a moment to look at his notes, he stood, grabbed his mic, and joined the entire band for the beautiful, melodious intro to “Release” from 1991’s Ten, Pearl Jam’s seminal first album. Sensing the emotion sweeping through the massive venue, the audience sang along, their voices swirling through the air alongside Eddie’s mellifluous baritone growl and the band’s multi-layered, finely attenuated, rich sound. 

The sweet sonics struck a chord with the mostly PNW-based concertgoers who had not seen the iconic indie rockers perform in Seattle in over 6 years. Recognizing the significance of the evening, Eddie paused and addressed the band’s devoted fans - “Well, hello, we made it back!”- before he joined the gentle chords of “Thin Air” from 2000’s Binaural, which maintained the ice blue celestial backdrop. 

Known for partaking equally in the songwriting process, Pearl Jam’s performance highlighted their ability to collaborate while maintaining their distinctive musicianship: Matt’s powerful precision, Stone’s strong chords, Jeff’s deep groves, and Mike’s frenetic slaying, all seamlessly blending at the appropriate levels alongside Ed’s distinctive voice. This skill was evident in the band’s early material, “Given to Fly” from 1998’s Yield and their recent “Scared of Fear” from Dark Matter. Both were enhanced by accompanying visuals that highlighted the band’s performance on stage as well as abstract, stellar-like backdrops. These strikingly unique visuals vacillated on full display throughout the show. 

The band's sixth sense musical sensibilities remained prevalent during the entirety of their homecoming show but were most readily noticeable in their classic tracks; the massive single “Even Flow” (Ten), which included Mike playing his guitar upside down behind his head, and an explosive rendition of “Rearviewmirror” from 1993’s Vs. that involved the five jumping back-to-back next to one another in a way reminiscent of their breakout days as grunge phenoms that captivated the world. 

After almost two and a half hours of connecting with their fans on a musical and visceral level, the show wound down with an extended encore that featured a diverse selection taken from their approximate thirty-three and 1/3rd -year catalog, all timeless anthemic songs in their own right; “I am Mine” (Riot Act, 2002), “Do the Evolution” (Yield, 1998), and “Alive” (Ten, 1991). Pearl Jam added to their performance with a tribute to Seattle legend Jimi Hendrix, giving a full-on rock rendition of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” that included the amazing opening act, Deep Sea Diver. The five ultimately concluded their official Seattle Pearl Jam Day homecoming show with “Yellow Ledbetter” interspersed with Hendrix’ “Little Wing,” before settling into their stunning single “Setting Sun” (Dark Matter). The last song’s breathtaking sonics echoed skyward as visuals of solar flares morphed into a closeup of a bright blue eye. The synthesis of senses served as a perfect finale. Pearl Jam fans had experienced firsthand the magnificence of their dark musical matter.



Thin Air  

Low Light

Given to Fly

Scared of Fear

React, Respond 


I Am Mine 

Even Flow  

Dark Matter


Upper Hand 

Waiting for Stevie

Man of the Hour

Satan's Bed 



Just Breathe 

River Cross 



Do the Evolution 


All Along the Watchtower  

Yellow Ledbetter / Little Wing 

Setting Sun