11 AM. SOLD OUT!
That is what the flyer said. Yeah. No more tickets, which were $325 each. Who cares, certainly not us. I love rock, and yes, among other few k-razy things I do, I go to hundreds of concerts, every chance I get. This one, is The One, the One I’ll never forget, a must see be-there-or-be-square for a real Rockaholic like me and my friend Stefania – our Ganzo combo of the day - who took these fun-loving pics, with whom I just jumped into the car and drove all the way down to South LA: direction Long Beach, on a sunny afternoon day.
3 PM. LONG BEACH.
Once there, we are excited, we wanna get ready, get the juices going, which meant… let’s rush to a local bar and enjoy a big Margarita’s based afternoon, in preparation for the unbelievable show we were going to be part of: Eddie Vedder, the Pearl Jam front man, Mr. Grunge movement himself in the 90’s – and alternative rock as well – was giving a live show …. in front a very lucky few… for the release of his new solo Album, The Ukulele Songs!!
Stefania was the one who got us tickets, which were given to her by Sam, her dear 98.7 FM Radio’s friend!!! And here I am. GRAZZZIIIEEEE Stefania, GRAZIE Sam. Grazie 98.7 FM
This is his second solo album, after the Into The Wild’s soundtrack, in which he plays the Ukulele, an amazing Hawaiian instrument, a subset of the guitar family. Mr. Vedder has a tidy summation of its advantages: “Less strings, more melody.” which, if you play an instrument, it is kind of, the truth. Let’s move on the the rest of the afternoon, which for me was to try to calm Stefania down, since she is absolutely nuts about The Man. We spent a couple of hours sipping margaritas, then, don’t remember who suggested it, we decided to get up and to sit down on the grass, doing some yoga movements, then we took a stroll along the pier, enjoying the breeze and calmly staring out to the ocean to see if our beloved Eddie could have been there Into the Wild waves, since he is a passionate surfer beyond a musician. I swear, we were not tipsy, just over-excited, giggling like schoolgirl. I KNOW you know what I mean.
7.30 PM. Long Beach Arena Convention Center
Ok, now we are at the Arena, we park, we get out of the car, we are in. WOOOWWW!!!!! As soon as I sat down, I am ready to see The Man. Then, all of a sudden, we have just realized that another artist was gonna open the concert. Not Eddie, but unbelievably enough, it was Glen Hansgard, Oscar winner for best original song “Falling in Love” for the movie “Once”. That’s a bit of a surprise to me because I saw his concert … exactly … one year before, when I just moved to Los Angeles, at The Hollywood Bowl, which is a huge scene for musician in Hollywood, and a very magic place to me. Life is unpredictable isn’it?
We listened to him even with more excitement than usual for a simple support band in a concert, because, after all, he was kind of our antipasto before our main corse. Ah, Italians and their love for food. Finally, bowing out, we see him disappearing behind the curtain, to leave center stage to his holiness Eddie, accompanied by his deep voice and an Ukulele.
I loved, really LOVED this acoustic concert, it was a deeper dig into his lyrics which in the new album extremely personal and intimate as he told us, in a hilarious monologue about penning tunes while falling in and out of love: “When you have an Ukulele you don’t need nothing else but a woman, then fall in love with her, write up to 10 songs in four days, while resting from all the loving. Later, if she breaks your heart, you will have material to write up at least another 20 songs. Just leave the ukulele on the nightstand”. I could have not said it better, BRAVO Eddie. Ah, love, love, love… the salt of life. Obviously the performance was meticulously thought-through, yet all that setup (coupled with the relative intimacy of the room) gave Vedder’s show the casual feel of a living-room jam.
After the ukulele, he grabbed his old instrument, his acustic guitar, and he literally blew the crowd away, first of all, my friend Stefania, whom I couldn’t stop from singing and dancing as she was overexcited to hear her favourite song “Porch” – a show for die-hard fans -released with the Pearl Jam’ s first album in 1991, which is an evergreen album for alternative rock history. Here he was, Mr. Eddie, showing is true nature of a rocker. The rest of the evening was jut a blur, as we were in love once again.
At the end of the session, we got a big surprise – a charming one indeed – when he was joined by the Pearl Jam’s leading guitarist Mike McCready for a song. The guitarist showed Eddie a few chord while at the end of the show, everybody gave them standing ovations.
Bye Eddie, thank you. We Love U Eddie, see you next time!
Here the next U.S. dates: Jul 8, The Wiltern Los Angeles – Jul 9, Santa Barbara Bowl – Jul 11&12, Paramount Theatre Oakland – Jul 14, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland – Jul 15&16, Benaroya Hall, S. Mark Taper Auditorium Seattle.
Thanks to Giada Carlucci and Stefania Rosini.