Pearl Jam Hyde Park

Live Review: Pearl Jam at BST Hyde Park

Live Review: Pearl Jam at BST Hyde Park

Pearl Jam brought grunge to the crowds at Hyde Park for the first of their huge back-to-back performances at British Summer Time. Adam Davidson reviews. 

The iconic rock band Pearl Jam gained acclaim in the early 90s with their debut album Ten and have since gone on to cement their legacy as one of the great live bands of our generation. 

The Seattle band came out to The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’ – a fitting song as it allowed the 65,000 in attendance to show their love as the rock icons walked on stage. 

They opened with ‘Better Man’ and instantly brought grunge to the crowds in Hyde Park with Eddie Vedder’s seemingly ageless vocals. He has so much charismatic charm and personality on stage that it is clear why he and the band have built up such a huge following around the world.  

The frontman was frequently running from one side of the stage to the other, jumping over amps and even tried to climb the huge oak tree on stage at one point, to no avail. He also regularly addressed the fans and shared stories, thus somehow making Hyde Park, one of the biggest outdoor venues in the UK, feel quite intimate.  

Throughout the show, the grunge band paid homage to British rock music that inspired them from The Beatles to Sex Pistols and Black Sabbath. It was a nice touch that seamlessly matched the tone of the whole show.  

For the second half of the show, Eddie Vedder brought out Simon Townshend, brother of The Who’s Pete Townshend, to sing happy birthday to the twins from White Reaper and then sang Townshend’s ‘I’m the Answer’ after Eddie said that his sound inspired him. The energy in the crowd was electric all night but it reached new heights when Pearl Jam performed their mammoth hits ‘Alive’, ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Even Flow.’  

The set ended with possibly one of the most random collaborations in music history with tennis legend John McEnroe joining the band onstage for a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World.’  It was a fitting crescendo to the performance which had all the audience chanting along to the famous chorus.  

Apart from colourful lighting, the concert didn’t have many special effects but if anything it would detract from what Pearl Jam stand for, they are a throwback band playing great rock music to the masses and that’s all it ever should be. 

Image credit: BST – SandraSorensen @sandrasorensenphoto