Festival Reviews

Festival Review: Hard Rock Calling 2010 (Friday)

By | Published on Friday 2 July 2010

Pearl Jam

The first to headline this year’s Hard Rock Calling, ultimate 90s grunge rockers Pearl Jam took to the stage on a perfectly sunny Friday evening to a sell out crowd of 50,000; putting this straight up there as one of the biggest shows of their career.

Having heard several of my fellow Hard Rockers say throughout the day that they were “finally seeing Pearl Jam play live having been fans for over fifteen years”, you could feel the excitement and atmosphere building amongst the crowd as they waited for Vedder et al to appear.

Kicking things off with ‘Given To Fly’ and ‘Why Go’, the band went on to play a crowd-pleasing set, mainly filled with songs from their first three albums, as well as their latest record ‘Backspacer’; from the rugged ‘State Of Love And Trust’ and ‘Even Flow’ to the slower, more touching singalong songs like ‘Elderly Woman Behind The Counter’ and ‘Better Man’.

The band were the epitome of cool throughout – Eddie’s effortlessly charming persona and Mike McCreedy’s Hendrix-inspired guitar playing standing out in particular. Vedder won the crowd over by declaring: “Somehow we’ve been given licence to come into this royal park and make as much noise as we like”, before telling us tales of skateboarding in Hyde Park and his time working as a roadie for Joe Strummer… all told whilst swigging from a bottle of red wine.

Musical highlights were a cover of Joe Strummer’s ‘Arms Aloft In Aberdeen’, an energetic ‘Do The Evolution’, and a guest appearance from Ben Harper on ‘Red Mosquito’ (returning the favour after Eddie had joined him on stage to sing ‘Under Pressure’ during his support slot earlier that evening).

With two encores, totalling an epic fifty minutes, the band finished with fan favourites ‘Alive’ and ‘Yellow Ledbetter’; whether a long term hardcore fan or a relatively new one, you couldn’t help but feel that the majority left on a high and with a new found love for Pearl Jam. GS