Camden, New Jersey’s Freedom Mortgage Pavillion might not be a 150-cap room at J.C. Dobbs, but given the usual range of hockey arenas – and the occasional baseball stadium – Pearl Jam is used to playing, it might as well be. And that’s exactly how the world’s favorite OG grunge band made its flanneled and disproportionately goateed crowd feel at Wednesday’s midweek South Jersey soiree: like it was seeing the very musical act that spearheaded the 90’s rock and roll movement at a tiny club.
Bobbing and weaving through a set list marked with both hits and deep cuts, famed frontman Eddie Vedder captained the S.S. Pearl Jam through nothing but clear waters and skies, moving full steam ahead through three-plus decades of the band’s biggest jammers, thrashers, boppers and crooners. To his immediate right, bassist Jeff Ament held down the fort manning the night’s lowest frequencies, which provided a canvas for lead guitarist Mike McCready’s endless soloing. It’s nice to know there are still huge rock bands with guitarists who can do that.
On the other end of the stage, Stone Gossard mostly followed Ament’s lead on rhythm guitar while Matt Cameron, whom Vedder correctly referred to one of the greatest drummers on the planet, provided the only doses of thunder in S.S. PJ’s voyage.