Preston & Steve®

“To Nick, Matt, and Pierre” before the second Pearl Jam show after interviewing Eddie Vedder. October 22, 2013.

Join Nick McIlwain from the Preston & Steve Show as he shares his Pearl Jam memories as a lifelong fan from Philadelphia.

Pearl Jam is coming back to Philadelphia in September 2024 for two shows at the Wells Fargo Center. Get more information on how to register for the Verified Fan sale HERETickets go on sale on Friday, February 23, 2024.

Now, for Nick’s memories:

The first time I ever saw a Pearl Jam concert was in 1998. It was the Voters For Choice show at Constitution Hall in Washington DC. I went with my brother. I still have the T-shirt.

I’ve been a fan of the band since Ten debuted, but I hadn’t yet seen them live. At that point in my life, I really didn’t go to a lot of shows. But for a stretch, in the mid-90s, it was particularly difficult to see Pearl Jam perform. Their oft-chronicled battle with Ticketmaster removed, in large part, PJ from the summer concert tour cycle. Moreover, the band, as an entity and as individuals, became particularly insulated, especially after the death of Kurt Cobain. They would do one-off shows, here and there, but unlike say, Dave Matthews Band, who built their large following by touring incessantly, Pearl Jam would only go out here and there in between 1993 and 1998. However, since then, they’ve toured fairly regularly, especially when they have a new album to promote.

  • Spectrum shows in 2009:

    Pearl Jam The Final Show at the Spectrum

    Fast forward to my time working at WMMR, which began when I was an intern in 1999. With the release of Yield in 1998 and Binaural in 2000, Pearl Jam finally started touring more regularly. It seemed like every other year, they would be performing at the shed in Camden, but we would also get special occasions in South Philly. In 2003, they played the Spectrum for the first time. And in 2009, that legendary band closed that legendary venue with four shows, culminating with the last show ever at the Spectrum on Halloween in 2009.

  • Ed interview in 2013:

    Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam with WMMR Staff

    “To Nick, Matt, and Pierre” before the second Pearl Jam show after interviewing Eddie Vedder. October 22, 2013.

    In 2012, Pearl Jam were co-headliners at the inaugural “Made In America” Festival along the Ben Franklin Parkway, in the shadows of the Art Museum steps. Toward the end of the weekend, PJ were joined onstage by the other headliner, Jay-Z, to perform the song “99 Problems”. THAT was a first. I mean, Jay-Z’s backing band was freaking Pearl Jam!

    In October of 2013, Pearl Jam performed two shows at the Wells Fargo Center and before the second show, Pierre Robert, Matt Cord and I were able interview Eddie Vedder. Over the years, we’d had conversations with every other member of the band. Matt had (and has) a nice friendship with bassist, Jeff Ament, Pierre and I had developed a familiar relationship with rhythm guitarist, Stone Gossard. We’d interviewed lead guitarist, Mike McCready, and chatted with drummer, Matt Cameron, too. But we never talked with Eddie. Until that night.

    Professionally, it was a career highlight. Personally, it was one of the top five moments of my life. That night was just magical. We had a great conversation with Eddie, the concert was incredible, and Pierre, Matt and I AND the radio station got a shout out from the stage! It just doesn’t get much better.

  • 2016 show:

    Pearl Jam at the Wells Fargo Center on April 28, 2016.

    In 2016, the band returned to South Philly for two more shows. The first night was great, but once again, the second night proved to be incredible. It was Pearl Jam’s 10th show in South Philadelphia and it happened to be WMMR‘s birthday, April 29. I was told by some friends to make sure that I was there on time. And the reason why? The band performed the album “Ten” in its entirety! As far as I know, they had never done that before. So the night started with “Once” and continued all the way through “Release”, one of my all-time favorite songs! WMMR was lucky enough to get ANOTHER shout-out that night, before and after the song “Let The Records Play” – and the night was only HALF OVER! Following the second encore break, the band blew the lid off the joint with these tunes: “Last Kiss”; “Better Man”; Leash”; “Throw Your Hatred Down” (a Neil Young cover); “Sonic Reducer” (a Dead Boys tune); “Baba O’Riley” (by The Who); and finally, a frequent finale, PJ’s “Yellow Ledbetter”.

  • 2022 show:

    Pearl Jam Pearl Jam/Freedom Mortgage Pavilion/Camden, NJ/ September 14, 2022

    PJ’s last show in our area was on September 14, 2022 when they performed a VERY sold out show in Camden, NJ. 2022 was an interesting year for concerts, because it really felt like a return to normalcy, post-Covid. And that show, which came after a September 11 show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, did not disappoint! I honestly was expecting a little bit of a letdown, because following a 9/11 show in the heart of New York City and the “most famous arena in the world”, how can you compare to that? But the energy and the vibe that night in Camden was electric! It further cemented the relationship the band has with our area, and whenever they play in Philadelphia or South Jersey, the crowd gives it to the band and the band gives it right back to the crowd. It’s been a 30+ year relationship, and it just keeps getting stronger and filled with more love!

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