On October 20th and 21th, Pearl Jam joined Neil Young and Crazy Horse outside San Francisco for the 15th annual Bridge School Benefit concerts. The acoustic concerts at Shoreline Amphitheatre featured two new songs (Lost Soldier, I am Mine) and the live debut (Drifting, Lowlight) of two others from Pearl Jam. PJ soundchecked a day earlier on October 19th. Drifting, Lowlight, Crazy Mary, The Kids are Alright, and Gimme Some Truth were some of the songs they rehearsed. Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit has always boasted surprises. At night's end (October 20th), the performers -- Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Dave Matthews, Billy Idol, Ben Harper, Tracy Chapman and Jill Sobule -- gathered onstage for the traditional group jam. But this was an extraordinary finale for an extraordinary time: Instead of playing, the musicians silently held hands and embraced while the sold-out crowd serenaded them with John Lennon's paean to pacifism, "Imagine." Neil Young, wearing a New York Fire Department baseball cap, provided guitar accompaniment as lyrics were projected onto an overhead screen. When the audience reached the final refrain, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe flashed the peace sign.
Setlist: Long Road, Of the Girl, Elderly Woman, Last Soldier, Daughter/(Where Do The Children Play), Better Man, Drifting, Crazy Mary, Give Me Some Truth, Indifference (with Ben Harper), Last Kiss
Notes and Quotes: "It's nice to be here...Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It's been a year since we've played so it's nice to be with each other, and to be with the kids. And after all that's happened, it's nice to see you here, everyone is safe, it's good", before 'Of the Girl'. "This next one was written over the hill, somewhere close to here. And it was written about getting old and that was before we learned from Neil and a few surfer friends that you don't have to get old, and it goes like this", before 'Elderly Woman'. "This is one that was just written by Mike McCready", before 'Last Soldier'. 'Daughter' came next and had a line from 'Where Do The Children Play' by Cat Stevens "I know we've come a long way; we're changing day to day; tell me, where do the children play?". 'Better Man's tag was similar to the New Zealand shows "I trust you; I love you; I want you; I need you; Don't let me Down". "This is a rare B-side called 'Drifting' and was written on the drive back from Neil's house a couple of years ago. You got to visit Neil, you go there no matter who you are...you go there as an insurance salesman and you walk out a songwriter...his energy", before 'Drifting'. On 'Indifference' Ben Harper helped Pearl Jam, trading verses with Eddie and giving him a kiss when he walked out on stage "Here's some truth to help us with the next one...it's our pleasure to have Ben Harper join us...a good friend of our group". The last song of the night, "There's a girl...2 years ago was her favorite song...Last Kiss was her favorite song...But after today now Billy Idol is her favorite so...But it's good to see Neil, it's good to see all these people...I was really excited to see Maricor...there's Maricor right there...since we'd last saw her two years ago...Maricor as been going to Berkley...she's now on her sophomore year...journalism...There´s my friend Adam too...I haven't seen him a while...so we're gonna play for Maricor". "we must get it right...cause it's for a special person...sophomore Berkley we can't play Last Kiss", said Eddie after 'Last Kiss' false start.
Notes and Quotes: "They'd probably hold the record of most appearances here at the Bridge School...let´s welcome them back...PEARL JAM", a brief intro. "How's it goin'? This first song it's for...you'll figure it out", said Eddie before 'The Kids are Alright'. "I wish I was a neutron bomb...the one that didn't go off...", during 'Wishlist'. "We thought to try a new one...it seems like a no better place", before 'I am Mine'. "And there's one thing interesting about this one...we never played it before live...so we try this one", before 'Lowlight'. "We got together last week...this is one that Mike wrote...and we started playin'...so we're gonna play it tonight...it's called 'Last Soldier'". "There's a...became a really unconfortable situation for me personally earlier this evening when...Ben Harper sang with his mom because my mom is in the crowd tonight too...and I know she just wants to sing...where are ya mom? [laughs]...some really male guy with a big beard and glasses...hat...I love ya mom wherever you are...but Ben's actually is going to sing in your place...Ben Harper" ; which led Ben Harper to say "Hey mom Karen...I'm gonna try to fill your shoes here on this one", before 'Indifference'. At the start of the song Ben grabbed Eddie's wine bottle and took a huge swing. Ben kissed Stone as he left the stage. The last song of the night 'Soldier of Love' and a long speech "Now, we pointed out a woman that we've known for a few years...and there's a few of these folks since we've been here for a while, the first one's a while back, so they've seen us grow old, and we've seen them grow up... and there's a guy called Alan on the corner, and he's just - the greatest...You know, you meet a lot of people and it's nice to see consistency... and he's always happy. And last night, and I hestitate mentioning it a second time, but you might not have been here - last night we talked about this woman called Maricor...And we hestitate tonight only because we're afraid she'll get a big head, she's really - getting kind of cocky after last night's show. But I was thinking about it, we talked about it last night... but I was thinking, ya know, I've never been to college - a few of us... Jeff went to college. Mike?" Ed turns to Mike, Mike makes the so-so sign with his hand. "Stone? 1 year?" Stone kind of shrugs. "Matt? Matt's - yeah." Matt kind of makes the "0" sign with one hand. "But - well, you know, musicians, can get away with that. I think the other thing, besides maybe the financial situation, the other thing, I think that college is very intimidating. High school is intimidating enough, then you get through that and you jump up another level, it is very very intimidating. And this is what I was thinking about this morning after last night, Maricor, we were here two years ago, and since then, she's in her second year at Berkeley, this is Maricor, she's in journalism," [crowd applauds]. "And so maricor, we just wanted to say, you're fucking amazing." [crowd applauds] "And in order for her to go to school too, she doesn´t goes to school and come home, she goes to school and she stays in the dorm...I think it was interesting for her parents to see her reach that level of independance...and I think all these parents are so spectacular...So music aside I just wanna to take advantage the oportunity to talk about that...it's been great to be here again...and thanks Neil, thanks Pegi...and thanks specially the kids and parents...this last song is called 'Soldier of Love', lay down your arms".
The Groundwork 2001 benefit series of six nightly concerts in three Seattle venues, which was streamed across the Internet, opened October 14th. The six-concert series, produced by the Experience Music Project, had raised $1 million. A benefit CD, Groundwork: Act to Reduce Hunger, featuring Madonna, Tom Waits, Moby, Emmylou Harris, David Gray, and others has also been released on the organization's Web site. On October 22th, [the last day of the concerts agenda] about 15,000 fans flocked to Key Arena to witness the star-studded show [Pearl Jam, REM, Alanis Morissette, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, nephew of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who flew in from Pakistan].
"I was a little bit taken aback. Then I found out that a lot of the projects Groundwork sponsors cost only $5,000 or $6,000. So, if a person buys a few tickets with their friends, they're contributing a fifth or a tenth of a water pump that'll help a village drink water that's clean and free of fecal matter or bacteria. And then I started to get excited about it", Jeff Ament.
"Once some of the shock of Sept. 11 subsides, people are going to begin thinking about living in more human, earthly terms, and less about having a 'dotcom' lifestyle. Groundwork is about living in human terms. It's about teaching people how to farm and feed themselves. That's a worthwhile endeavor for everyone to support", Jeff Ament.
"The question I ask is, who are the charities that get the most out of a dollar? There's only so much money to kind of give away. ... You want it to get in the mouths of people who are hungry, or to the kids who need an education as opposed to going into paperwork and overhead", Jeff Ament.
During its first three shows of 2001 at October's Bridge School and Groundwork benefits, the band unveiled the new songs "Last Soldier" and "I Am Mine," which were written just prior to the performances.
"We decided we were all going to bring a song in and work them up before Bridge School. Those were the two that really came together the easiest. It was a fun and great experience", Stone Gossard.
Notes and Quotes: Gweneth Paltrow announced the bands as they came out. After the Alanis Morissette set, Eddie came out and after some thanks to the crowd he invited Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on to the stage. After a announcement by the Groundwork's President Jack Healey and Artis the Spoon Man, Pearl Jam took the stage. 'Gimme Some Truth' was the first song. During 'Insignificance' Eddie broke a string. Right after Matt started what everyone thought it was 'Light Years', Mike started 'Given to Fly'. "When we got into town we wrote some new songs and heres one of them", said Eddie before 'I am Mine'. 'Long Road' ended the set. Eddie had Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan come out to do some chanting as the band jammed the outro of 'Long Road'. The next band on the bill was R.E.M.. Later on their performance Eddie came out and sang with them on 'Its The End Of The World As We Know It', and 'People Have The Power' by Patti Smith.
The day after the Groundworks Benefit show, Eddie appeared at an R.E.M. surprise party at the Crocodile Café in Seattle. The event was announced as a benefit for the Washington Wilderness Coalition starring the Minus 5, which features Peter Buck (R.E.M.'s guitar player) and longtime R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey. Michael Stipe (R.E.M. singer) introduced Eddie as "Humbert Humbert, Jr" and they play an acoustic version of 'Long Road'. A few songs later, Stipe started asking what happened to his drink, and so, Eddie with a cowboy hat came out onstage with a few drinks and served everyone in the band. A funny appearance...check the photos and the story about it at fivehorizons.
Setlist: (Songs Eddie played with R.E.M.) Long Road (acoustic), People Have The Power by Patti Smith, Begin the Begin, It's the End of the World