Pearl Jam comes home after 4 years – Live at the Key Arena

Pearl Jam comes home after 4 years – Live at the Key Arena


It’s been nearly four years since Pearl Jam last played a live concert here in Seattle. Pearl Jam, last playing here on Sept. 22, 2009, had their home town faithful wondering if they would ever have a chance to see their most iconic Seattle grunge rockers here again. You can only imagine the buzz in and around Seattle when the guys announced their tour dates for their latest album “Lightning Bolt”.   It was official, no longer buzz, they announced that a long awaited return to Seattle will cap a two-leg, twenty-four date North American tour.

The stage was set. The band from Seattle that launched into stardom back in the 90s and put Seattle front and center in the music world was finally coming home on December 6th, 2013. It is no small feat to sell out a venue as large as the Key Arena but within 24 hours of opening ticket sales that is exactly what happened. Seattle rockaholics made it clear that the heart does indeed grow fonder.

At 8:45, with dim lighting to set the mood, Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder along with Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron and Boom Gaspar walked onto the stage and got straight down to business. Armed with an epic 37 song set, they kicked the show off with an incredible live rendition of Pendulum.  Vedder’s voice, never sounding better, was in rare form and McCready, ripping through riff after riff, showed no signs of slowing down. Proving that they are still some of the best in the business were Ament, Cameron and Gaspar kept things tight. 

 Following Pendulum was an absolutely killer rendition of Nothingman off of the bands third studio album, Vitalogy.  Rocking through a set filled with both vintage and new Pearl Jam tracks, Vedder played to the crowd with a sing-a-long version of the classic track Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town  of the band’s second studio album, Vs. The 10,000 plus on hand happily obliged and showed their appreciation for the long awaited homecoming by belting the lyrics loud enough to bring a smile to Vedders face.

After a blistering 21 song set, the band returned for encore #1 featuring their own renditions of After Hours, Chloe Dancer and Crown of Thorns. They rocked through this 9 song encore with a barrage of  blast from the past tracks like  Let Me Sleep and closed out encore #1 with a powerful rendition of Porch.  

With the packed Key Arena crowd still feeling it and wanting more, the guys came out for a second encore. Kicking things off again was a crazy Supersonic followed by one of the most epic covers of the night, Kick Out the Jams.  With Mark Arm, Steve Turner, and Kim Thayil from Mudhoney on stage, the MC5 cover was the highlight of the night. Closing a two encore 3.5 hour set was the classic Pearl Jam ballad, Yellow Ledbetter.

When all was said and done, Pearl Jam’s return to the Emerald City was nothing short of amazing. It was what everyone wanted, what everyone expected and much, much more.  Pearl Jam, standing the test of time, proved on December 6th, 2013, that the grunge movement they helped create nearly 20 years ago is still alive and kicking and Seattle rockaholics will be forever grateful to have such an iconic group hail from their hometown.

You can hear the full Pearl Jam Setlist here:

See the full media set here:

Special thanks to Iron Mike Savoia for helping the photographers “See the light” and Vandenberg Communications Jade Hooper for the awesome review tickets.




Christian Hamilton

Christian Hamilton

Christian is the founder and Editor of Rock Paper Rock as well as a freelance concert and event photographer serving the Pacific Northwest and Beyond. He is a certified member of the PPA and Gold Level member of the CPS. He has recently began working with Mental Itch Records and has launched his own Photography website.

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