“We’ve got 99 problems, but a place to play ain’t one!” Eddie Vedder announced from the stage at Pearl Jam‘s first concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Friday night, kicking off their two-night stand at the venue. Anyone hoping for a reprise of Pearl Jam’s and Jay Z’s historic collaboration of “W.M.A.” and “99 Problems” from last year’s Made In America festival would be disappointed. Although, let’s be real: Pearl Jam doesn’t need help from anyone to put on an unbelievable concert.
Just days after the release of their new Lightning Bolt album, the band seemed on a high. Maybe they’re happy with the album, and how it has been received. Or perhaps it’s just gratitude that they’ve attained the rare status of a band who can sell out multiple nights at a New York-area arena. They’re also one of the few bands with a two-decade history that can play new songs without creating a bathroom exodus. “Sirens,” the album’s second single, has become an immediate fan favorite and it sounds even bigger in an arena than through your car speakers.
First single “Mind Your Manners,” which nods to the band’s punk influences was greeted as enthusiastically as many of the older songs. The new album popped up throughout the set list: “Infallible” sounded more raw without Brendan O’Brien’s shiny production, and the title track was seemingly built for large rooms. “Let The Records Play” starts with a chooglin’ blues/boogie riff not unlike vintage ZZ Top, and is likely to become a concert staple. And opening song “Pendulum,” which featured Mike McCready playing his guitar with a bow, Zeppelin-style, is the latest in a series of mellow PJ songs that they’ve used to kick off their shows (“Oceans,” “Sometimes” and “Of The Girl” are some of their other quiet openers).