Pearl Jam – Camden 6.19.08 Review

Susquehanna Bank Center – Camden, NJ
opener: Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

Main Set: Hard To Imagine, Corduroy, Severed Hand, Do The Evolution, All Night, In Hiding, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Gone, Who You Are, Unemployable, Even Flow, Light Years, Grievance, Given To Fly, U, Rats, Why Go

Encore 1: Love Reign O’er Me, Better Man(Save it for Later), State Of Love And Trust, Black, Leash

Encore 2: No More, Crazy Mary, Porch, Yellow Ledbetter

editor’s note: the majority of this was written in the wee hours of the night after the show on 6/19

I went into my semi-annual Pearl Jam tour-a-palooza with a bit of trepidation at the thought of seeing yet another Pearl Jam show–my fifteenth. I’ve certainly enjoyed each and every one of the fourteen shows I’ve been to in years past, but there’s been a growing sense of staleness and contemptuous familiarity with some of the live sets. (Keep in mind this is all relative–Pearl Jam’s most staid and boring show is better than 97% of the crap bands on tour at this very moment.) I’ve not been following this year’s tour dates with the interest I had in the past–I don’t know what the setlists have been like, I don’t know what crowd reaction’s been, etc. My Pearl Jam fanaticism was in need of some rejuvenation.

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The Happening | C

director: M. Night Shyamalamadingdong
starring: Marky Mark, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo

The HappeningWhat the frick happened to M. Night Shyamalan? He hits his first two movies out of the park, in my mind (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) and since then has slowly devolved into a heavy-handed, melodramatic con artist of a writer and director whose crowning turd hits theaters today: The Happening. I liked Signs quite a bit, Lady in the Water a little less, and was mystified at some of the editing decisions made in The Village–decisions that effectively destroyed all semblance of tension and surprise in the movie’s final act. Shyamalan’s clearly a talented director, and has some good ideas in terms of storytelling, but the decisions he’s made as of late are baffling. But I digress. I’ll have some spoilers in the rest of my review, but I’ll save you your 12 bucks now:

Dear Humans,

Stop treating me like shit.



There, now you have no need to see this snoozefest. On with the spoilers…

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A Capital Experience

I know, I should just punch myself in the face for that title.

Anyway, I’m just back from an extended weekend jaunt to Philadelphia and Washington, DC for some Pearl Jam, beer, monument-viewing and more Pearl Jam. The band once again proves itself as the best live act working today, and sightseeing in Washington was a rewarding experience I’ll not soon forget.

iwo jima mem.

Pictures are forthcoming, but it’ll take some time, as I have 1,000+ pictures to sort through (yes, 1,000+, most of them blurry, off-center pictures of the sky and/or PJ drummer Matt Cameron’s hi-hat), but there’s sure to be some good stuff. I’m not sure if I’ll do a full trip report yet, but I’ll definitely have reviews of the two Pearl Jam shows I went to. Enjoy your week, everybody.

UPDATE: Pictures are now up. Click here.

The Incredible Hulk | A-

director: Louis Leterrier
starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt

HulkNot quite “incredible,” but outstanding nonetheless, the incredible Hulk returns to the big screen for a tighter, more action-packed outing that is sure to revitalize the franchise and further augment the burgeoning Marvel film universe, which now includes the X-Men, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Punisher (and coming soon: Thor and Captain America). Unlike George Lucas, there is no raping of my childhood here; the faithful adaptations that Marvel’s produced over the past several years not only encourage nostalgia, but they also work pretty damn well for people that have no inkling of the characters’ origins.

Going back a bit, the much maligned 2003 edition of Hulk is widely regarded as a misguided flop; with many thinking Ang Lee’s inventive and unique approach to the story was corny and awkward. This, despite a $132M box office haul (read more about the film here).

I thought it was an excellent if slightly off-beat approach to telling the story, and I’m a bit baffled by the depth of the loathing some people have for Ang Lee’s version. I liked it a lot…but with all that being said, it ain’t as good as the 2008 iteration.

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Tim Russert

Ugh. What a terrible way to start the weekend, with the news of NBC newsman and Buffalo native Tim Russert passing away today at the age of 58.

Russert was proud to be from Buffalo, and took every opportunity to make sure everyone knew it. He’d declare his support for the teams at the end of his Meet the Press telecasts, often holding up jerseys or donning hats of his hometown Bills and Sabres. More than his sports fandom, he was a tireless and fervent supporter of this city, a city that’s had more than its fair share of heartache and economic upheaval. His enthusiasm for Buffalo broke through the constantly maintained stereotypes of Buffalo being a Rust Belt ruin far past its prime with year-round blizzards and ice storms, a town where there’s nothing to do. He knew better, and made sure everyone watching and listening to him knew it.


One of the things I’ve come to appreciate even more about Russert over the years is the objectivity and integrity he’s shown in his role as Washington bureau chief for the NBC News and host of Meet the Press every Sunday morning. Like any Buffalonian, he surely has strong opinions of his own, but he kept them to himself in the course of his work, and did his very best to ensure both sides of any argument got their equal time. He’s also not one to put up with the political bullshit we see so often these days, both from politicians and many members of the media itself. If a politician didn’t respond to his direct questions with direct answers, instead meandering all around them with political doublespeak, he’d just ask it again and again, ensuring that he’d get an answer or the politician’s deflections became obvious enough to make their character clear.

Buffalo has lost more than just a native today, Russert was part of the very fabric of this city and the potentially bright future it now has thanks to enthusiastic citizens who love this region and want to see it prosper. I can think of no better way to honor him than to continue working toward that goal of prosperity, and taking an active role as a citizen to make Buffalo a city that we’re proud to live in now and for our childrens’ futures. In a different, more specific way, I think he’s given everyone a greater appreciation for their fathers in light of the two books he’s written, and for this to happen on Father’s Day weekend makes it all the more tragic, but meaningful.

Chalk up another one…

Yet ANOTHER accident at the Intersection of Death™ a few minutes ago, in what is undoubtedly the deadliest of cross streets in North Buffalo: Colvin Avenue and Sanders Road. I’ve lived in my current apartment since July of 2006, and since then I’ve seen or heard roughly fifteen accidents there. Yes, FIFTEEN! And those are only the ones I was actually at home for.


The Intersection was mentioned in one of my True Stories of Buffalo, NY a while back (which is overdue for another, by the way), which may be a more enjoyable read than this current post: read on.

This was a relatively low-key entry in the logs for the Intersection, as neither driver called the cops, and there was no yelling as they exchanged their insurance information. Very disappointing for my fellow tenants and I. Not to worry, there will undoubtedly be another accident in the very near future, ripe with all manner of cursing and hysterical flailing. Stay tuned…

Check out past accidents here. (Don’t get too freaked out; no one’s ever been hurt or killed there, that I know of.)