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Pearl Jam and My Morning Jacket/Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J./June 3, 2006

Eddie Vedder.jpg

Those fans who entered Continental Airlines Arena on June 3 to check out the opening set by My Morning Jacket received more than advertised.

Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder (above) kicked the night off by treating the early arriving crowd to a solo-acoustic performance of Bruce Springsteen‘s “No Surrender.” Vedder then introduced My Morning Jacket and joined the group for a version of The Band‘s “It Makes No Difference.”

Minus Vedder, My Morning Jacket played a rockin’ 45-minute set, mixing hard-rock guitar riffs and Southern soulfulness. Highlights included “What a Wonderful Man” and “Wordless Chorus,” two songs from its acclaimed Z album, released last year.

As for Pearl Jam, the band spread some new songs from its new self-titled disc throughout a 32-song, two-hour-plus set. The crowd was obviously ignited by the up-tempo opener, “Severed Hand,” as Vedder sang the lines “Got some kicks/Wanna take a ride/I said yeah!”

Far from a greatest hits show, the band did play quite a few of its FM rock radio staples, including “Corduroy,” “Even Flow,” “Last Kiss,” “Black” and “Alive.” Pearl Jam also mixed in such rarities as “Rats,” “Hard to Imagine,” “Leash” and “Don’t Gimme No Lip,” which featured guitarist Stone Gossard on lead vocals.

The Led Zeppelin-ish “Inside Job,” which can be found on the new album, was a highlight; it featured guitarist Mike McCready playing long, note-bending solos like those found on “Porch” and the show closer, “Yellow Ledbetter.”

The night wasn’t perfect — four songs into its set, Pearl Jam suddenly lost power during the beginning riff to “Animal.” As crew members frantically scrambled to get things working again, Vedder played it up onstage, pantomiming until the sound returned. When it did (about 10 minutes later), Vedder joked, “Hey, Bruce! Could you at least pay the bill on your way out?”

— By Michael Corby