Lollapalooza Review: The PJ Fans.

I'm going to write this knowingly risking some hard feelings from friends of mine who ARE die-hard Pearl Jam fans, but let's face it, this needs to be said for my own sanity. So, let me go ahead and preface this with the statement that the following isn't meant to incorporate ALL fans of Pearl Jam, just those who incorporate the nasty element of their base.

Pearl Jam fans are fucking pricks!

In their minds, there's Pearl Jam ... and there's Pearl Jam. No other rock band should be allowed to exist. You aren't a real Pearl Jam fan unless you've seen them over 50 times, or unless you've seen them in a foreign country that isn't Canada, or unless you know a guy who knows a guy who vends beer at their venues.

And, don't even THINK about opening for Pearl Jam. The only band qualified to open for Pearl Jam is Pearl Jam. No more clearer can this point be made than when I heard that some fans booed Sleater-Kinney and drew the ire of Eddie Vedder later on that night. You want class? Look elsewhere.

Pearl Jam closed the festival this year. According to sources, people were lining up outside Grant Park as early as 5am (or possibly earlier) to be in a position to sprint to the AT&T stage and get a front-row spot to see Pearl Jam play ... fifteen hours later! More than a hundred did exactly that when gates opened at 11am!

Oh yeah, there were bands playing on that stage before Pearl Jam. Oh, you're a Lupe Fiasco fan? Good luck getting to within 100 yards of the stage. I'm assuming - and this is just a guess out of the blue - that these PJ fans didn't give two floaters about the likes of Iggy & The Stooges, Amy Winehouse, or Modest Mouse.

And, from the bitching I heard around me, they didn't even give one corn-filled toilet monster for Kings of Leon or My Morning Jacket, who directly preceeded Pearl Jam on that very same stage.

"I hope My Morning Jacket plays nothing but Modest Mouse covers, since I'm stuck watching them." That's an exact quote I heard from a PJ fan who didn't want to leave and see a band they actually LIKED and risk standing further away from the band they obsessed over. At that point, I would've given anything for MMJ to have performed two 30-minute songs followed by a collective mooning of an ungrateful audience. Alas, I was not so lucky.

Is it strange to waste a whole day standing in the same spot to see a band you've seen dozens of times perform the same songs you've heard millions of times for a festival show that easily chops off an hour's worth of music you'd hear at a normal Pearl Jam show? Am I way off base here? Am I, like, incapable of loving something that much and that's why I mock with implied resentment?

These people go to Pearl Jam shows not for the songs they hear, but for those they don't. Oh man, they didn't play Glorified G ... I really wish I would've heard Nothingman ... man, when are they ever gonna get around to doing Present Tense again? Because at every PJ show you're always going to hear:

Corduroy, Better Man, Given To Fly, Even Flow, Alive, Daughter, Not For You, Lukin, Do The Evolution, MFC, World Wide Suicide, Crazy Mary, a Neil Young Cover, and Yellow Ledbetter as the closer (not applicable to this particular show due to time constraints I'm sure).

There's only so much time afforded to deeper album tracks. Their show at Lollapalooza offered very little, which I'm sure was a disappointment to the die hards, but was a relief to everybody else.

I personally thought this was the weakest show of the six I've seen, but that's because we got Festival Pearl Jam. Festival Pearl Jam has to appeal to a broader audience, which means we get all the standards that've hit the radio airwaves (really, why Jeremy wasn't played, I'll never know). Nevertheless, their post-encore songs were the highlights as usual - including a duet with Ben Harper on a new song called "No More War". And they did to Rearviewmirror, as well as State of Love And Trust and leading off the night with Why Go. Plus, the unplanned fireworks off in the distance in the middle of everything was a nice touch.

But those fans, those rabid rabid fans had me on edge from the get-go. Not to mention the fact that it was the end of a very long three days, I was apt to be a little cranky. Chock this one up to the venue once again: if this were The Gorge, with a hilly backdrop for me to sit and casually observe Pearl Jam far away from the die hards who cram themselves as close to the stage as humanly possible, I would've had a far more lovely evening and wouldn't have come away so irritated with those around me.

And yes, I realize the hypocrisy of me denouncing the PJ fans when I myself am ... a PJ fan. But, ask anyone who's seen them over fifty times: I'm not REALLY a PJ fan.

Yeah, right. Now fuck off