Five from Pearl Jam. Five from Wilco.
Eddie Vedder explained how he used to sit in the right field bleachers because Jose Cardenal, his favorite Cub was in right field spurring him to join in the chant “Left Field Sucks.” When Cardenal was moved to left field, Eddie moved to the left field bleachers and joined in the chant “Right Field Sucks.” Then he waved his arms towards the side of the stage and said, “Jose Cardenal” and Jose came out to join Ron Santo’s children to sing “All the Way” with 50,000 or so Cub fans.
The moment when he acknowledged a couple of notable t-shirts in the front row. A dark-haired woman in a black t-shirt that read “Unf#%&kwithable” was honored when Eddie pointed her out and said “May we all be “Unf#%&kwithable”! And an enthusiastic young man with glasses was chided for his “Whitesnake” t-shirt. “What the (bleep) is that all about?” “Please tell me that’s supposed to be ironic.”
The dedication to The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie, who was at the same moment playing his last concert in Kingston, Ontario. Downie has terminal brain cancer and the band toured Canada to say farewell to their fans. Pearl Jam went into the song “Light Years.”
“It don’t seem fair…you seem to like it here your light’s reflected now, reflected from afar we were but stones, your light made us stars.”
Pearl Jam offered us a stellar collection of covers. Dylan’s “Masters of War,” Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” and the last song of the night “Baba O’Riley.” But for me it was the cover of The Ramones “I Believe in Miracles” that transported me to a year end Cubs highlight reel of Rizzo acrobatic catches, Bryant monster home runs
“I believe in miracles. I believe in a better world for me and you. Oh, I believe in miracles. I believe in a better world for me and you.”
“Alive.” Because Pearl Jam.
Wilco “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” Maybe because this is the title of the documentary that chronicled the drama of trying to release the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot around the time Wilco played the XRT Free Fourth of July Concert or maybe that it is one of those songs that emerges from a glorious chaos into pure beauty.
Jeff Tweedy’s dedication of “I’m the Man Who Loves You” to his wife Sukierae, who has, these past few years, endured nightmarish chemo sessions and who fiercely carries on.
A second 8-song encore acoustic set!!!! Gathered around communal microphones as if they were playing the Grand Ol’ Opry. A set that included “California Stars” under the Chicago stars.
Jesus Etc. A deeply affecting song no matter how you first heard it. For Mary Dixon and me, it is our 9/11 remembrance song and transports us to that horrible day we shared ‘on the air’ for 12 hours. In the interest of full disclosure, she cried more than I did. Maybe.
Marty Lennartz stage introduction. No. D.J. on the planet earth was quicker to champion Wilco when they started than Marty was and he continues to be our resident expert of a band everyone here loves. It’s a highlight because it is rare that a band of this stature allows a radio D.J. to stand on stage before the band plays. A band that sold out the Pritzker Pavilion remembering its beginnings.