A Vibrant Pearl Jam concert review at Lollapalooza

As though this happened yesterday...

Intro to Lollapalooza 2007

This is my personal Pearl Jam concert review from August 5, 2007: It was amazing to catch Pearl Jam live at Lollapalooza. I had a great time, and this is my review of the vibrant, energetic, and full-bodied Lollapalooza 2007 show. I'm writing as though this happened yesterday like it was the first time, and as though this was the very last one.

Lollapalooza is an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.

I grew up in Peru listening to the "cool" DJs and imitating them in high school. At that time, the Lollapalooza festival was an aspiration, a dream that you could only watch on TV never live. Over the years, the poster child of Perry Farrell has had many headliners, surprises, and storms. While show memories have come and gone into my life, the '90s versions of this festival were unparalleled.

Upon moving to Seattle, I was finally fortunate to attend Lollapalooza at the White River Amphitheater. On August 23, 2003, without quorum again, I saw true institutions such as Chris Cornell leading Audioslave, Perry Farrell leading Jane's Addiction, and Maynard James Keenan leading A Perfect Circle, among other great bands taking part. I may do a review of those performances at a later date.

In 2007, Lolla celebrated its sweet 16th anniversary in Grant Park, Chicago for the third time since the festival anchored on that site. Allegedly, the new Lollapalooza version is now more suited for fans of the original versions that have kids who want to learn how to rock.

"Lollapalooza is the worst example of corporate encroachment into what is supposed to be the underground. It is just large-scale marketing of bands that pretend to be alternative but are in reality just another facet of the mass cultural exploitation scheme. I have no appreciation or affection for those bands and I have no interest in that whole circle."

This quote is neither from the 2021 event nor from Lollapalooza 2007.... It was actually already said in a 1993 interview by Steve Albini, who produced Nirvana's In Utero.

Getting to Lollapalooza Show

Early 2007. I learned that Pearl Jam will be playing in Lollapalooza that Summer. So, I shared the news with a buddy from high school, arguably a bigger Pearl Jam fan than me! He was living in Texas, and I was living in New York.

Back in the day, my parents took us in their Volkswagen Beetle to watch the film The Doors when it premiered. More recently, he had introduced me to the universe of Pearl Jam official bootlegs. A compilation of rarities, covers, and special appearances that I've been collecting. So off we went.

The Lineup of Lollapalooza

Now let's get lost in the music.

  • Headliners: Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, Muse, Kings of Leon, Iggy & The Stooges, Modest Mouse, and My Morning Jacket.
  • Also: Interpol, The Roots, LCD Soundsystem, Spoon, The Rapture, and Patti Smith.
  • Overrated headliner: Ben Harper. At the same time slot as Daft Punk?
  • Could have seen 'em before they blew up: Lady Gaga, Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids.
  • Could have seen 'em before they ended: Amy Winehouse, Daft Punk, Juliette & The Licks.

This year the festival expanded to eight stages. This might have been the most “indie” year with live performances from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Yo La Tengo, Peter Björn & John, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, I'm from Barcelona, among others.

The Setlist of Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam Concert Stats

  • Date: August 5th, 2007

  • Location: Grant Park

  • City: Chicago, IL

  • Tour: Lollapalooza 2007

  • Attendance: 160,000

  • Band Members: Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, and Mike McCready.

Show Highlights

The set of August 5 had a powerful blend of old-school songs from the albums Yield, Vitalogy, and Ten as well as three new songs from their then-recent Pearl Jam album, aka "the Avocado" album.

The band played all-time favorites such as "Corduroy", "Do the Evolution", Crazy Mary" (Victoria Williams' cover), and "State of Love and Trust", my favorite song from the Singles soundtrack album.

Vedder, who was born nearby in Evanston, recalled riding the "L" train with his Walkman listening to Iggy Pop and Patti Smith who happened to play that day.

As with the previous 2004 show attended in Toledo, this set also had not one Encore but two. Ben Harper joined for "No More" as the first encore and then Pearl Jam closed with "Rockin' in the Free World", from Neil Young.

Special Bonus: Iggy Pop performance earlier

The ultimate expression of punk rock music radicalism was provided by James Newell Osterberg Jr., known professionally as Iggy Pop.

During his live performance with The Stooges, he woofs, barks, and howls. Joining him were the late brothers Ron Asheton (guitar) and Scott Asheton (drums) as well as bassist Mike Watt. All were impeccable.

For starters, Iggy and The Stooges introduced new material from their new album “The Weirdness”, produced by Steve Albini. It was their first album since 1973's “Raw Power”, produced by David Bowie.

Towards the end of “Real Cool Time”, Pop wags his index finger signaling fans to join him and The Stooges on stage. “Let ’em up!” Iggy yells. “Share the stage.”

Within milliseconds, fans jump onstage to get near the living legend. The Stooges launch into “No Fun,” hundreds of crowd Pop and chaos ensues. As you can notice below, security was indeed overwhelmed so Iggy had to beg: "Easy, everybody. Calm down, or this could get weird"

Iggy Pop and the crowd

Another Bonus: Dennis Rodman

The special appearance of that Saturday night was Dennis Rodman. A huge fan of Pearl Jam, the former power forward of the Chicago Bulls would crash the site and lift Eddie on stage for the "Rockin' in the Free World" rendition. 

This will not be as crazy, as you probably saw in The Last Dance, compared to when Rodman wore the wedding dress in 1996 and claimed to have married himself. The Worm would crash Pearl Jam's shows again in Wrigley Field in 2016 and 2018 (this time handing Vedder a ukulele).

Final Thoughts on Pearl Jam

Again, I was a teenager in the early 90s living thousands of miles away from the US hence unable to attend Lollapalooza nor able to see Pearl Jam live until his 30s. 

So this was the greatest concert ever in the history of the world. OK, you will probably see this claim repeated again in future Pearl Jam reviews. In all seriousness, it is worth noting the impressive ability of Eddie Vedder and company to connect with a stadium-sized crowd. 

Moreover, the way the band shares relevant and memorable stories to keep the attention of new generations who were newborns when the album Ten was released.

I ended up exhausted but will keep on rocking just as soon as I get some coffee! If you liked this article, please comment below and follow us for more.

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