Pearl Jam returned to Detroit on Thursday night and gave fans an awesome show, as Pearl Jam is known to do. As the band took the stage in front of a sold out Joe Louis Arena — home to the near-royalty NHL hockey club, the Detroit Red Wings — an underlying sadness was felt in the crowd. This could be one of the last rock shows ever at the classic “Joe.”
The land that Joe Louis Arena sits on was recently lost as part of a bankruptcy settlement, and the new owners of the land plan to tear down the iconic venue and replace it with office spaces, a hotel, and retail outlets. The Red Wings have already broken ground on a new arena much closer to the city, but the pangs of loss of one of the most storied venues in Detroit will not easily be forgotten.
So, with all of that hanging in the air, Pearl Jam delivered an epic set from their storied catalogue, along with shout outs to Detroit, the venue, and the embattled fans of a city constantly under fire for its financial troubles, as detailed in a recent story in The Inquisitr. Eddie Vedder worked the crowd with his signature exuberance — and a few bottles of red wine, and made sure the Detroit fans had a more than memorable time. According to the Detroit Free Press, Vedder gave homage to everyone from Dennis Rodman (before playing “Black, Red, Yellow”), to Ted Nugent (the band teased “Stranglehold” during “Black, Red, Yellow”), and even KISS got in the act as “Detroit Rock City” was played as the intro to “Spin The Black Circle.” Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder also made mention to Detroit’s Jack White and his keyboardist, Isaiah “Ikey” Owens, who passed away earlier this week before playing “Light Years.”
There were also special guests in attendance, as noted by the Detroit News, including former Red Wing Chris Chelios, who happens to be a good friend of Vedder’s, and Matt Lukin, the Mudhoney bassist and inspiration for the song “Lukin.”
The 19,000 fans in attendance were treated to a 32-song set that lasted nearly three hours. Before the final song of the night (“Indifference,” off of 1993’s Versus) was played under the house lights, Pearl Jam’s frontman told the crowd that it “would be great to get invited back here in three years,” which is when the demolishing of Joe Louis Arena is scheduled to occur. Regardless of when the arena comes down, the mighty “Joe” was rocking on Thursday night, and Pearl Jam fans walked away happy, which is rare for the people of Detroit.
[Images courtesy of Brian McNamara/Detroit Free Press and Daniel Mears/Detroit News]