Pearl Jam

Live: 10-12-00 - Kansas City, Missouri

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After a string of killer concerts in Detroit, Wisconsin, Chicago, and St. Louis, Pearl Jam's October 12, 2000, show in Kansas City doesn't quite match those high standards, but it is still a solid concert. The band decides to use the rarely played but fantastic ballad "Release" as the show opener for the second time in three performances. Immediately following is an unusual but effective transition into the politically charged punk rocker "Do the Evolution," which shows that the band means business this night. The vitriolic frustration of "Lukin" comes very early at the fifth song, but it is paired awkwardly with the gentle and sentimental "Light Years" instead of the equally angry "Not for You," and that takes the concert down off its early high. Later, according to the set list, Stone Gossard is supposed to take a turn at lead vocals with "Mankind," but the song is skipped despite Gossard trying to draw attention by clearing his throat at his mike. Eddie Vedder makes an aside in "Jeremy" to tell the audience that the "gnashed his teeth and bit the recess lady's breast" lyric is "a true thing," but it makes him forget where he is in the song. "Untitled" and "MFC" make unusual appearances in the encore. Vedder sings that he'll "be there in 58 minutes or so" as a tribute to former star Kansas City Chiefs football player Derrick Thomas, who died from injuries sustained in a car wreck. The B-side "U" is tried for the second night in a row, but it still needs work. Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" finishes this night appropriately, since it has been a loud and aggressive set. This concert is nothing to be ashamed of and gets a strong endorsement, but it is just a half-notch below the quality of the last few shows. However, with five Ten songs, you can't go that wrong. Go get this one if you haven't yet.

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