Following a band is exhausting. Or, it can be. Certainly balancing a job while doing it can get serve up some timecrunches.
Answering emails with your ears still ringing? It’s tough.
In the last two weeks, I’ve followed my favorite band, Pearl Jam, up the west coast — from San Diego to Vancouver — and kept up with my Zirtual work as best I could. (Which, by the way, thanks to my Learning Team for the assistance).
I have more respect for the guys of Pearl Jam than I did before. And that was already high. I’d seen them 13 times before, twice already this year before this tour. My first show was 10 years ago. I didn’t know if they’d be touring 10 years later, let alone that I, at the age of 25, would be following them on my own mini-tour.
I grew up hearing stories of hippies following the Dead, boozehounds following Buffett and a few stories of following Pearl Jam in those early days as they ripped through ‘Last Exit’ and Eddie was still crowdsurfing. It was appealing, romantic even, to jump in a car and dedicated some time to a band. Didn’t consider it a life priority, though.
It was more an accident than anything else that I wound up doing what I did. My cousin called to see if I wanted to check out a few shows in Southern California, and I saw shows in Portland (which I’d wanted to see) and Vancouver (home of a Zirtual coworker & friend). So I booked all of the above.
No car, though. Planes. A Macbook. My Android. Some Zirtual Certification sessions along the way. A Thanksgiving with some Irish friends in the Bay Area. Not your typical “groupie” experience.
But, coming out of it now, it was a tremendous experience. It’s strange, now, to not have my days occasionally punctuated by a three-hour concert experience. It seems mundane to now have Mike & Stone ripping solos across my Tuesday nights.
A few people asked — is it really worth seeing them six times?
My answer is, of course, yes. It’s why I was confident in booking those tickets (& spending that money. Here’s some stats from the six shows I saw:
- 206 total songs (34.3 avg. per show)
- 104 unique songs
- 62 songs played at only one of those shows
- at least one song from all ten of their studio albums
- 14 different covers (+ 4 different “tags”)
Hell, during the last show I saw, in Vancouver, they played 7 songs I hadn’t seen yet. After 5 shows!
The band puts on a different show each night. It’s as simple as that. Other stat trackers show they played over 170 different songs on this tour. 170. That is SO many songs to know how to play. To be confident in performing. To serve up to a crowd in a cavalcade of music.
It’s a gorgeous thing to see such ingenuity in each performance. Thinking that they crafted each experience for that specific venue. And I got six of those. 19 in total, now. I doubt they’ll be my last shows.
Thanks for the memories, boys. A great stamp on a great year.