At a recent backyard dinner in Nashville, I asked my friends' neighbor, a budding singer/songwriter from Ireland, who his favorite artist or band is. He pondered "hmmm, Paul Simon, maybe Dylan. " Solid answers, both masters in their own right.
He mirrored the question back to me. Without a pause, I responded, "Eddie Vedder…Pearl Jam." His eyes responded with "no fair, that doesn't count." His mouth said, "If we still lived in villages, Eddie would be the shaman or medicine man." It was the best description I've ever heard of Vedder and who or what he is. The man is like a Paulo Coehlo character that left on a mission or quest to find the energy source of the universe, found it, and then returned home to share it amongst his people.
A group of these folks gathered this past Tuesday night in Lexington, Kentucky, to have spirits filled with the energy of Vedder and his band of soul shepherds. Whether you recently lost a loved one and needed "Just Breathe", or lost a relationship that you didn't want to end and needed "Black", or wanted to celebrate a new love with "Lightning Bolt", there was something for everyone. There always is.
There are no off nights with Pearl Jam and it is why the group is still going strong 25 years in and continues to pack large venues like Rupp Arena in Lexington.
On this unique special night, a child received a hand-delivered tambourine from EV, several GA fans on the floor received hand poured cups of Ed's red wine, and everyone got reminded that we need to "protect our women"…followed by a ripping rendition of "Leavin' Here" in the middle of Encore 2.
I got my wish to hear the band's cover of the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer", which has little lyrical meaning to me but always produces an intense sensory response in my body that feels like a rush of cold water from the base of my skull, down my spine, through my arms and hands, and then repeats.
It literally feels like my soul is stopping in for a refuel.
As they always do, the Shaman and his Shepherds (would make a great band name…) provided what I came seeking.
Thank you -- from me and everyone else you nourished.