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Live Review: Eddie Vedder’s Ukulele Electrifies Las Vegas

Pearl Jam's frontman delivers a marathon set of varied gems in Vegas.

eddie vedder johnny firecloud

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder recently resumed his Ukelele Tour after nerve damage forced him to cancel several shows last April, playing two sold-out shows in an intimate setting at the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas over Halloween weekend. A man whose reputation was initially built on hanging from the rafters and causing teenage boys to mosh with frenzied chaos sat onstage with his lone ukelele and played a lengthy acoustic set that stirred powerful emotions from his audience.

Vedder presented a few special guests including Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks who shared duets of "Tonight, You Belong To Me" and "Golden State". He also introduced the audience to Jason Baldwin, a member of the West Memphis Three, whose release from prison was strongly supported by both Vedder and Maines. Eddie asked Baldwin to stand and it was a beautifulmoment to see the once wrongly imprisoned young man, enjoying his freedom with his arm around his girlfriend.

Taking the opportunity for political platform, Vedder poked fun at political candidates and expressed his concern over Honey Boo Boo's diet, hoping the little girl doesn't eat genetically modified corn. He also shared a recent cause he’s taken up in aiding Epidemolysis Bullosa, which is an inherited connective tissue disease that causes blisters to develop from minor injuries to the skin. Vedder urged the audience to research the disease and donate support. One audience member immediately offered Vedder $100 towards aiding the cause. Another quickly offered $5000 if Vedder would play the Pearl Jam ballad, "Black". Vedder was appreciative of the offer and wanted to fulfill the obligation, if only he could remember how to play the tune.

Evenutally Eddie ended his set by inviting Boom Gaspar to join him in what starts off as a stumbling attempt at "Black" but ultimately Vedder finds his way through and the end result was a happy room singing along.

Now and again, Vedder would make mistakes with melodies and lyrics (a familiar flaw for PJ fans), but he’d crack a joke at himself then take you away to get lost in the music, not the minor technicalities. Eddie Vedder's Ukelele Tour is not physically engaging like a Pearl Jam show, but he still moves you to your feet, moves you to laughter, and moves you to tears.

 

Setlist:

Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town

Brain Damage

Trouble

Can’t Keep

Sleeping By Myself

Without You

Goodbye

Light Today

I Am Mine

Driftin’

Just Breathe

Setting Forth

Guaranteed

Long Nights

Rise

Good Woman

Betterman w/Boom Gasper

Unthought Known

Porch

Wishlist

I Am A Patriot

Society w/Glen Hansard

Sleepless Nights w/Glen Hansard

Falling Slowly w/Glen Hansard

Tonight You Belong To Me w/Natalie Maines

Golden State w/Natalie Maines

Black w/ Boom Gasper

 

Photo: Johnny Firecloud