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Spirits were high as Pearl Jam fans and ukulele enthusiasts alike gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to see Eddie Vedder, best know as frontman of the aforementioned band, perform his latest solo tour in support of his solo album, Ukulele Songs. Although the show was rescheduled from May because of a wrist injury Vedder sustained earlier this year, the wait only added to the audience’s anticipation.
Friend and frequent tour partner Glen Hansard gave a dynamic opening set, commanding attention with only his guitar and voice. The house not yet full, Hansard treated those smart enough to arrive early to a short mix of songs highlighting his work with the Swell Season, the Oscar-winning-movie-turned-Tony-winning-Broadway-play, Once, and his latest solo album, Rhythm and Repose. Those not smart enough to arrive early were treated to a dose of Hansard’s good-natured wit. As woman found her seat by the stage during his final song, an a cappela version of Daniel Johnston’s “Devil Town,” he paused before the final verse to lament, “You just missed the opening act. He was pretty good!” Hansard was being modest. Given his talents, and the audience reception, the show easily could have been a double bill.
Vedder took the stage to thunderous applause. Perhaps knowing he had a 30-song set in store, he started softly, with a cover of “Throw Your Arms Around Me” by Hunters and Collectors, and Pearl Jam songs, “Sometimes” and “Long Road,” before getting the crowd to their feet for “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.” A mini-set from Ukulele Songs, and a dramatic performance of “I am Mine” occurred before Vedder really got chatty with the audience. While discussing his hopes for national marriage equality (recently passed in his adopted home state of Washington, but not yet legal in Florida), a particularly gruff-voiced fan called out a marriage proposal. Vedder replied, “Well, alright, but can I get a look at you first? By vocal tone alone, you might be a little rough…”
From there, Vedder performed a wholly rearranged “Betterman,” turning the popular track into a mournful ballad. With a change in backdrop and the addition of a campfire to the sparsely decorated set, songs from the film Into the Wild received their due.
Vedder also didn’t waste the talent on hand, and invited Glen Hansard to accompany him on a number of songs, including “Long Nights,” “Society,” and an unamplified “Sleepless Nights,” which only somewhat worked as some audience members could not pass up the opportunity to yell out during the silence required to hear Vedder and Hansard’s harmony, before playing Hansard’s own “Falling Slowly.”
Also on hand for a sing or two was the very special guest Chan Marshall. After performing her song “Good Woman,” Vedder brought her on stage to accompany him on “Tonight You Belong to Me.” The show drew to a close with the audience on their feet for an acoustic, but strong, “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Hard Sun” with Hansard and Marshall. Once the cheers died down, Vedder returned solo with a quiet promise of “Tomorrow Night.” This epic two-and-a-half hour show was only the first of two nights Fort Lauderdale would enjoy.
Eddie Vedder Set List:
“Throw Your Arms Around Me” (Archer, Falconer, Howard, Mills, Seymour, Smith, Waters)
“Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town”
“Sleeping By Myself”
“I Am Mine”
“Long Nights” (w/ Glen Hansard)
Encore Break 1″
“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” (Lennon, McCartney)
“Reason To Believe” (Springsteen)
“Good Woman” (Chan Marshall)
“Tonight You Belong To Me” (w/ Chan Marshall [Cat Power]-(Rose/David)
“Society” (w/ Glen Hansard-(Hannan)
“Sleepless Nights” (w/Glen Hansard-(Bryant, Bryant) (Busk-no PA or mics)
“Falling Slowly” (w/ Glen Hansard-(Hansard, Irglová)
“Rockin’ In The Free World” (Young)
Encore Break 2:
“Hard Sun” (w/ Glen Hansard & Chan Marshall-(Peterson)
“Tomorrow Night” (Traditional)
Glen Hansard Set List:
“Pennies In The Fountain”
“Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting/Respect” (Redding)
“Your Hearts Not In It”
“Heyday” (Mic Christopher)
“Astral Weeks” (Van Morrison)/Smile-(Ament, Vedder)