Ode To Eddie Vedder

Duygu Gokbudak, MBA Class of 2014

Dan sent us this email a few days before the submission deadline: “Hey. This issue of the paper is looking pretty thin. So. Everyone write some awesome articles.”

No pressure though.

I jokingly said that I could write about the Pearl Jam concert I’d been to over the weekend, but it would just end up being an ode to Eddie Vedder.

Being Dan, he thought that would be hilarious, and told me to do it.

Oops? No take backs I guess…

Pearl Jam has been my favorite band ever since I developed some taste in music (roughly around 6th grade, apparently), but I had never had the chance to see them live before. It’s a blasphemy—I know—but I’ve lived in Turkey my entire life, and the last time Pearl Jam was there, I was 10. Cut me some slack.

So you can imagine how psyched I was about seeing them on Saturday. Of course I wasn’t lucky enough to snag tickets as they went on sale (damn you, AT&T!), so I had to shell out $250 to get a nosebleed seat from StubHub. Sigh.

Since the Barclays Center website said that the concert was expected to start on time, I got there half an hour early; and then sat in my seat for the next hour and a half, battling vertigo, second-guessing myself as to whether it was worth it…

Then at around 8:30 PM, Pearl Jam took the stage, and everything changed. Suddenly all was right with the world, I was exactly where I was supposed to be, and things like recruiting didn’t matter.  For the next three hours, I felt pure happiness.

I love Pearl Jam to death, I really do, but there is something about Eddie Vedder that is just pure magic (as far as I’m concerned). Obviously he has an amazing voice, but it’s more about the way he performs—it’s like I can feel the emotions emanating from him, like he truly means every word he’s singing, and they resonate with me. The first Pearl Jam song I ever listened to was the hauntingly beautiful Black, and I think I’ve been captivated ever since. I don’t know how he can convey that kind of emotion so strongly through a song, but I thought I could actually feel his pain and longing—even before I had any idea what the lyrics meant.

But I digress. Is anyone even reading this? I’m a little embarrassed now. I knew I couldn’t write a review for the concert, because I’m pretty much the dreaded fangirl. As far as I’m concerned, Pearl Jam could do no wrong.  Eddie Vedder could tell us we were horrible, and throw his wine bottles at the crowd, and I would just stand there and say, “Do it again.”

Thankfully though, he seemed very happy with the audience (especially when compared to the Friday crowd who apparently got into numerous fistfights), with gems like, “It’s good to be drinking the blood of Jesus with my friends,” and “You make us look so good that if we had enemies, they could no longer be our enemies, cause they would want to be your friends,” and “I know it’s Saturday night, but you guys don’t have another place to be, right? Cause if you’ve got time, I’ve got the wine.”

As I stood there, surrounded by 40-somethings, quietly singing along (ahem screaming ahem) to classics such as Alive, Black, Better Man and Immortality, as well as some new favorites like Sirens, Infallible, and Lightning Bolt, I was in a state of complete bliss for 3 hours. The only thing that could have made the show better was if Chris Cornell showed up to sing Hunger Strike together. (Maybe next time.)

It’s nights like these that keep me sane. It’s bands like Pearl Jam that give me a sense of stability, and a temporary but much needed escape from the whirlwind that is business school.

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