I’m still buzzing after the incredible U2 concert at Aloha Stadium last weekend. It was the long-awaited finale to the band’s 20-month, globe-spanning “Vertigo Tour.” And joining them on the bill was Pearl Jam. It was my first stadium rock concert, and I couldn’t have picked a better show.
The concert had actually been postponed from its original date in April, the tickets to which I’d bought in January as an anniversary present for Jen. It turned out to be an early Christmas gift instead, and certainly worth the wait.
I posted a few photos and a couple of video clips from my camera phone, but mostly lost myself in the moment.
Pearl Jam was awesome. I admit, I hadn’t heard a full album out of them since “Ten,” but they’ve obviously continued to grow and haven’t slowed down in the rock department. The high point of their set, though, was the cover of “Hawaii ’78,” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s heartwrenching, bittersweet anthem of a changing Hawaii. A chicken skin moment, shared with 47,000 people, when your heart is torn between cheering and crying.
Fan Heather Browne uploaded Pearl Jam’s acoustic take on “Hawaii ’78” from their Waimea Valley benefit performance a week earlier. It’s a must-have recording, so grab it while you can. Otherwise, you can pick up an official bootleg of the Waimea show to get it. (No word on whether the Aloha Stadium set will be uploaded.)
As for U2? What can I say? There’s a reason people flew in from all corners of the world to see them here. Jen had already obsessively collected everything they’ve done, a level of devotion she’d previously only shown for Led Zeppelin. Now we’re even more in love with the band and their music… and can at least appreciate Bono’s periodic forays into political and moral preaching. It was the experience of a lifetime, seeing them perform in person.
There are recordings of their Aloha Stadium set popping up online, too. And BitTorrent-savvy bootleg traders are a skilled, serious bunch. (U2Torrents is a well managed site, and a couple of takes have surfaced already.) But these recordings, while enjoyable, still don’t hold a candle to being there.