Saturday headliners keep it raw
Pearl Jam - Live At The Isle Of Wight

It’s the Saturday of the Isle of Wight festival and the crowd is tense as they wait for this evening’s headliner. Thousands of people, stretching back further than the eye can see have all journeyed to the island just for this weekend. We’ve has spoken to people from Scotland, Ireland, even Australia that have travelled miles just to see this very band.

Biffy Clyro, the previous band on the stage, have already riled the crowd up with their energetic performance. However, unlike them, Pearl Jam will not be using complicated pyrotechnics. In the true spirit of grunge, they’ll be keeping things basic and with all their focus on the music.

It’s 10.15pm, the set is ready and the crowd cheers as a piano plays and Pearl Jam step onto the stage, grabbing their instruments. The band kick off with the gentle track ‘Unthought Known’ from the ‘Backspacer’ album. It’s a powerful start and the Isle of Wight are loving it.

Eddie Vedder’s hands shake as he sings. It’s clear that this band are completely immersed in their own music. “Everyone got your boots on?” Vedder calls out a few songs into the set, before breaking into ‘The Fixer’.

Not long after, the band decides to take it old school, playing the hit ‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’. Two lines into the song and the rain begins to pour. However, instead of making their way to shelter, the people of the Isle of Wight stand their ground, swaying to the beat. These fans are way too dedicated to let a little water put them off, no matter how long it continues to fall for.

The band are in full swing now, so much so that the guitarist, Mike Mccready, raises his instrument to the sky and plays a solo behind his neck. Meanwhile, Vedder walks about the stage, pointing the mike towards the audience and encouraging them to sing along.

One song on the set list includes a Joe Strummer cover called ‘Arms Aloft’. Vedder explains this is dedicated to the man himself, before singing the song with passion. Now the mood is beginning to slow down again, as the lead singer, grabs his acoustic guitar and plays just breathe to the audience. There is something extremely personal about this particular song and although the crowd is huge, this is a very special moment.

It’s now time for the encore and Pearl Jam like a storm, blasting out ‘Blood’ to the public. However, the show isn’t over with hearing ‘Alive’ and that’s exactly what the band decide to play next. After an amazing performance, Pearl Jam finally finish off the set with the emotional track ‘Yellow Ledbetter’.

For some, this is the first and last time they will ever see the band live, and what a show to choose! Pearl Jam have absolutely blown away the crowd tonight. Their raw and emotional sound can move even the most serious of people. There hasn’t and never will be another band like this in existence. To see any performance is a unique experience.

Words by Sophie Sparham
Photo by Andy Sturmey

Click here for a photo gallery of the performance.

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