the first time i saw the band, i brought a compact camera containing 36 exposures and a sharp minidisc recorder, making my first (and last ever) gig bootleg. the second time was across the irish sea when i stood for 13 hours only to see them onstage literally 10 feet away. the would’ve-been third time was aborted due to certain life events in the family. therefore, the would’ve-been fourth time yesterday became the third time.

the third time i was at a pearl jam show, i did the most rockeng thing ever – i bought a seat ticket. one thing i wished i had done was buying a ten club seat ticket for a closer view. anyways, i’ve done the halfday standing marathon in dublin and i’m sure i’ll be doing it again in the near future, so i wasn’t all too fussed.

it is unfortunate that when one goes to a gig, you tend to ignore the opening band, no matter how good they are (unless you happen to also be a fan of said band). gomez was good for what they were, but i was so not into it. i remembered looking at my wrist watch a lot then.

i was hoping ed and co. would get onstage at half eight. ed turned up at nine onstage, with his notebook and usual bottle of red and the band kicked the evening off with the chilled down long road. they quickly picked up the pace with last exit and why go – it was air guitar and drums ablazing! the first backspacer track of the night was the fixer and it was bizarre to see the crowd (bar the front row lot) to suddenly quieten down. fixer was a pretty good rocker, in my opinion. i guess these quiet lot only listened to even flow, alive and, dare i say, last kiss? shame on ya!

the evening was a pretty good sampler of all their records. the last two shows were bereft of material from no code and the dublin show had none from riot act. imagine the joy i felt when they played present tense and save you. once again, i was disappointed with the absence of you are. the tech tested out stone’s rig with its intro, and like the dublin show, nada. c’mon lah, woi!

old rockers which were most welcomed by us punters included the sublime go and not for you (there were more ‘fuck’s in this show than the ones i’ve been to, i think!). of course, as i alluded earlier, the number of people in the crowd going apeshit increased with even flow, alive and do the evolution. tsk.

none of three ***man songs (nothingman, betterman and leatherman) were played but i’ve experienced the three in a row (of sorts) at the 2000 show, so that’s fine by me.

another thing i was kinda glad was the absence of yellow ledbetter as the final song. personally, i’ve nothing against the song but it gets a tad overplayed. would’ve loved to hear SOLAT or, better still, brain of J (damn, i’ve never heard that one live yet).

three ain’t bad, but i’m way behind the eleven and, err… seventy. life is hard being a kiasu fan. by the way, i did take some photos but i’ve been wanting to get this during even flow, and here it is finally:

MEN arena, manchester 17.08.09 set: long road / last exit / why go / all night / the fixer / low light / in hiding / world wide suicide / not for you [modern girl] / even flow / present tense / save you / grievance / sleight of hand / got some / given to fly / rearviewmirror / [encore 1] go / daughter / do the evolution / alive / [encore 2] smile / black / leash / the real me / indifference

[more photos here. for youtube clips, click on the highlighted bits in the set list above.]