by Henrik Tuxen, June 11th 2018
Europe tour, start Amsterdam, almost a tradition. I clearly remember 2014, where I saw both shows at the Ziggo Dome. A lucky guy with +2 to both shows, I was in good company, partly female, and then my brother and an old local college from Amsterdam got to see a show. Things were absolutely cooking outside the Dome, when we reached our destination. An area I mostly knew from Ajax Amsterdam, the famous traditional football club, where many danish stars has blossomed, and still do to this day. Lasse Schöne and Kasper Dolberg from Denmark's troup to World Cup in Russia 2018 are both currently shining stars in Ajax.
But very contrary to 2014, the football-fever is not exactly cooking in The Netherlands these days. Sensationally the famous soccer-nation didn't qualify. But then the fever still might be cooking on stage. As everybody who's seen Let's Play Two, and would know from especially Ed and Jeff's spare-time activities; this is a band of sport-fanatics. That was very clear in Ziggo Dome 2014, and Eddie was thinking quick. Netherland had sensationally defeated the, at the time, reign champions from Spain, with the staggering figures 5-1, just three days prior to the show. Off course addressed on stage during Animal, where the meaning of 1-2-3-4-5 against 1, now had taken a very different and otherwise direct meaning, as Eddie put it. Let's just say, this was a crowd pleaser that worked.
Later backstage with Stone, and other band members, the current World Cup was a huge topic, with Stone being extremely excited about this, non-traditional American sport. He mentioned plans about showing Italy's game against Costa Rica on wide screen, prior to PJ's show a few days later, playing the famous San Siro stadium in Milan. A day the passionate and proud soccer-nation probably has later erased from the collective memory. Italy lost 1-0 to the tiny Island, which more less sealed the 'Boot-country's' destiny in the tournament. They didn't make it through the group play, and later didn't even qualify for Russia 2018. Not to mentioned the current Governmental situation. Italy is an amazing country, but you can't win them all, I guess.
Well back to Pearl Jam Europe and World Cup fever. Contrary to The Netherlands and Italy my own, and I'm sure, Pearl Jam's, are intact. Denmark has qualified and in FIVE days the tour kicks off in Amsterdam. This time I won't be able to join for the opening, but I'm sure all of you lucky ones out there, are up for a real treat. I've been in regular contact with Stone Gossard lately, in person as on mail, and the last text I received started with the words 'Psyched for Europe'. And if the shows just comes to close to two I saw in Santiago, Chile in March this year, you are up for some very long and amazing nights. 3 hours +, don't be surprised, so make plenty of room in your 'departure schedule', wherever you're heading.
And the Ziggo Dome is great. And not only the actual seats, room and stage, also plenty of good caterings and cool surroundings indoors as outside the Arena. There's just something about seeing a concert, where not only the band, the show and the room is good, but also the surroundings of the main event.
NEVER REPEAT A SET LIST
Being in company with a PJ-rookie in Amsterdam 2014, I told her the band never repeats a set list. This was never more true than at the Ziggo Dome in 2014. If you compare the two original sets from 16th and 17th of June, bost consisting of 18 songs, only three songs are repeated, and the first, Mind your Manners, after eight songs. So that kind of proved my point.
Besides seeing two awesome shows, and having a great time in beautiful Amsterdam (I passed on the coffee shops, but went all in for the canals, The Van Gogh Museum, the beers, the food, the narrow streets, and city life) there was some great backstage action.
First night we hung out with lots of friends of the band, mainly from the US, with very fine catering, but we didn't get to see the band. Next day my brother - very reluctantly - had to leave for Copenhagen, so my old bizzness partner Peter, got the extra ticket for the night (he made us stay for free in his amazing old house in the museum district of Amsterdam for both nights, so I was more than happy to invite him).
AFTER THE GOLD RUSH
Following a classic second encore, Black, Blood, Rockin' in the Free World, Yellow Ledbetter, our spirits were high, to say the least. Stone had invited us backstage, and was one big smile. Some old friends of his from Seattle, now living in Amsterdam were there, and we spent a good couples of hours, laughing, joking, talking about music, football, Amsterdam, and more heavy topics in a fine blend. Eddie briefly entered the room for a while, without me noticing – I was sitting with my back to the door. My friends told me the day after, I think. Like, no big deal, ha ha. Well, I got to see Ed plenty later on the tour, but that's a different story. Stone introduced me to his friends saying, 'I think we go back 20 years' (it was 18 at the time) telling briefly about Roskilde 2000. Off course about the sadness, but mainly about he many mutual close friends we've both had ever since, emerging from this tragic event.
Amsterdam was the start of a – for me – mind blowing PJ Europe 2014 tour, where I got to see five shows (personal tour record) and spend lots of great and memorable times with mainly Stone, Jeff and Eddie. “You and Stone are really good friends,” my female companion at the time, said to me later that night in Amsterdam, seemingly surprised. “I guess so,” I replied.
A friendship that has developed since, with many new stories, adventures, learning and growing, and much more to come it seems. I'm grateful.
Well, have a some sensational nights in the Netherlands all fellow jammers, and hope to meet as many of you as possible in London, the following week, where I'm sure, that I'm in detail, can account for how Denmark literally 'jammed' Peru the 16th of June in Russia. Fingers crossed.