Pearl Jam’s Philly

Pearl Jam’s Philly history

Pearl Jam has always been fond of Philadelphia… And the feeling has always been mutual. The band hits the livestream spotlight starting October 22, 2020.

October is a big month for Pearl Jam and Pearl Jam’s Philly history.

While the grunge kings get their canonical due in its first-ever full-length biography – “from ‘Jeremy’ to Columbine; Kurt Cobain to Chris Cornell; Ticketmaster to Trump” – in “Not for You” from author Ronen Givony, Philly celebrates the Jam in the best way it knows how, currently shrouded by C-19.

The Philly-born Nugs.Net live-streaming giant, on October 22, will show off Pearl Jam’s 25th anniversary of its much loved time in the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love. Their famed April 29, 2016 concert at Wells Fargo Center. For those who don’t recall and weren’t there (and sorry, kids, I was) this quarter-century of mutual love and adoration between Eddie Vedder and company and Philly started on South Street, at Dobbs, back in 1991.

I was at the April 2016 show as well. But, our PR friend, Ike Richman, did a lovely job of recalling the commemorative banner drop. Something I probably missed from screaming myself hoarse and downing a plastic cup’s worth of vodka.

“That performance at the Wells Fargo Center on April 29, 2016, the second of two, back-to-back shows, began with the lowering of a banner commemorating their 10th South Philadelphia performance. Noticing the banner and feeling the euphoric energy of the Philadelphia crowd, the band launched into their debut album, 10, and performed it from beginning to end. An epic moment for Pearl Jam fans around the world, and one of Philadelphia’s biggest music moments. A feat Pearl Jam had only done one other time in 1992.”

The 2016 Philly Pearl Jam will begin streaming that historic Wells Fargo Center show on on Thursday, October 22, an HD 32 song, 3-hour plus set, freshly mixed in stereo and 5.1 digital surround sound by Pearl Jam producer, Josh Evans. This never-seen-before footage was captured using 11 HD cameras by videographer Blue Leach and edited by PJ archivist Kevin Shuss. The PPV stream will be available from October 22 through October 25 in advance of the November 3 general election. That’s Peral Jam’s wish. Tickets are available on for $14.99. With a portion of each ticket going to support the work of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation and to engage fans in its “PJ Votes 2020” initiative.

Richman went on to send me and dosage MAGAZINE a brisk history of P-Jam performances in the Philly area. A good 99% of them I attended. With each listing, a great memory opening up. “Including stops on South Street, Arch Street, South Philadelphia, the Parkway and across the river in both Camden, NJ, and Atlantic City, NJ.”

Pearl Jam’s Philly - Danny Clinch - PJ 2020 (1)

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Pearl Jam’s Philly History

July 12, 1991 – Pearl Jam makes their Philadelphia debut at JC Dobbs on South Street. They debut two new songs: “State of Love and Trust” and “Oceans.”

April 10, 1992 – Pearl Jam performs at the Trocadero in Philadelphia and records clips to be used in their music video “Alive.”

April 28, 2003 – Pearl Jam performs at the Spectrum in Philadelphia for the first time.

October 3, 2005 – Pearl Jam headlines the Wells Fargo Center, debuting a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister”. It is one of only three U.S. dates for Pearl Jam in 2005. (The two other shows were at the Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ).

June 12, 2009 – Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder after a performance at Tower Theater, spends time outside thank fans, signing autographs and posing for photos. 

October 27, 2009 – Pearl Jam opens a fourth sold-out-show in five-day run to close the Spectrum. Former Philadelphia Flyers Bernie Parent and Dave Schultz and former Philadelphia 76ers Daryl Dawkins and World B. Free visit the band backstage to congratulate them on the final shows ever at the Spectrum. Pearl Jam released all four shows as a collectible CD box set.

October 31, 2009 – With the Philadelphia Phillies playing the New York Yankees in Game Three of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park, and the Philadelphia Flyers playing the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center, Pearl Jam celebrates Halloween in grand fashion and closes the Spectrum with a 41-song set and a 3-hour, 35-minute performance. The band wears Halloween outfits to look like the 1980s pop act Devo and performs a cover of the band’s hit “Whip It.” Score updates of the baseball game are escorted across the stage a la ring-card girls at a boxing match, and the band brings 89-year-old stagehand Charlie DiFabio on stage to thank him and all of the stagehands for their dedication and commitment to ensuring the four shows would be the best of the tour. “Yellow Ledbetter” is the final song performed.

September 2, 2012 – Pearl Jam performs on the Parkway in Philadelphia as co-headliners of the Made In America festival. During the encore, the other co-headliner and creator of Made In America Jay-Z joins the band for a cover of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.” Before Pearl Jam takes the stage, Drake pumps up the crowd, “Make some noise if you’re ready for some Pearl Jam. Put your rock and roll signs in the air for Pearl Jam.”

October 22, 2013 – Pearl Jam gives WMMR-FM (93.3) in Philadelphia a shout out as lead singer Eddie Vedder dedicates “Last Kiss” to on-air personalities Nick McIlwain, Matt Cord, and Pierre Robert and thanks the station for being the first station to play that song on the air.

April 29, 2016 – Taking the stage on the second of back-to-back nights, which would become their 10th sell out at either the Spectrum or Wells Fargo Center, a giant Pearl Jam 10 banner is lowered from the rafters. Noticing the banner, and recognizing the momentous occasion, the band opens the show with “Alive,” signifying the launch of their iconic debut album, 10, and performs the album in its entirety from beginning to end.

Images: Danny Cinch

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