It’s no secret that Pearl Jam is going to tour in 2013.
In July the band is playing a show at Chicago’s Wrigley Field along with a show in London, Ontario. News of a fall U.S. tour came with the official announcement of those shows. And while the Wrigley announcement is great news because it hints at a new record for the band to tour behind, it’s also a bit disappointing for this hometown fan.
Sure Wrigley Field is an iconic ballpark. It’s so iconic that PJ’s pal Bruce Springsteen performed there last year and later this year country superstar Jason Aldean will play Wrigley. Also, as any Pearl Jam fan knows, Eddie Vedder is a big Cubs from Chicago (he even wrote a song for the Cubbies) and Cubs
owner general manager Theo Epstein is good friends with the band. So the decision to play Wrigley isn’t shocking and I’m looking forward to watching crummy fan-shot YouTube clips and listening to bootlegged audio from the concert later this year.
What makes this Wrigley announcement disappointing is Pearl Jam’s continued Emerald City absence. From 2011’s Canadian tour, to the PJ 20 festival, to last year’s string of one-off festival appearances and benefit show in Montana, Pearl Jam has had no real presence in Seattle for years. In fact, the band’s last local concert happened three years, four months and one day ago (but hey, who’s counting?). With a fall tour planned, it could hit the four-year mark.
I’m sure Wrigley Field will be a great concert experience and a major career milestone for the band, but there are a few stadiums in Seattle too. Century Link Field has hosted several major shows (U2, Metallica, Kenny Chesney) and there’s also Safeco Field across the street. Concerts at these stadiums would be the band’s biggest local shows to date. So why not throw a bone Seattle’s way?
But as I’ve written previously, it’s not as if the band owes anything to Seattle. It’s quite the opposite considering how many charity concerts the band has hosted in the Emerald City. Plus, they’re way more than just a local band done good. Pearl Jam is massive on a global scale and Seattle, while a special city for the band, is likely just another tour stop for Pearl Jam nowadays. And of course there’s the history of the band having difficulties with concert promoters and the city (the logistics for the Drop In The Park show reportedly almost caused the event to be canceled and the group’s first local post-Roskilde concert was riddled with security demands, according to the show’s official bootleg). I’m sure those memories don’t help when it comes to putting together shows in Seattle.
Maybe local fans will get lucky with a hometown warm-up show or two prepping for their three South American shows in March or warm up shows before the Wrigley gig (a fan can dream, right?). Or maybe there are no special plans at all for the local fan base. Either way, it’s definitely tough as a fan in Seattle to see all of these other cities pop up on Pearl Jam’s itinerary. Hopefully the fall tour will include more than a few northwest stops.