Pearl Jam Defy Curfew at Madison Square Garden

"We! Shook you! All! Night! Long!" Photo: Kate Glicksberg

“After intense negotiations, we’ve gotten the curfew pushed back,” Eddie Vedder announced to a delighted crowd at the Pearl Jam show at Madison Square Garden last night, before, appropriately, launching into “All Night” with a trio of crew members handling backing vocal duties. All Vedder asked in return was that the crowd try to get the stage to shake, as it did when the band played the Garden five years ago. (Vedder likened the experience to doing mushrooms — you remember it being fun, but it still feels weird.) The crowd obliged and then some, hitting all their cues: screaming “helloooo” during “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”; singing the “Hallelujah” choir part during “Do the Evolution.”

The 30-song set included a trio of cover-song surprises: the rarely played “Love Reign O’er Me”; “I Believe in Miracles,” on which C.J. Ramone handled bass duties; and “All Along the Watchtower,” played in the third encore with the house lights on. But perhaps more surprising? The political banter was kept to a minimum. Sure, there was some antiwar talk, and a lyric in “1/2 Full” was changed to call the current president “full of shit.” But Vedder was perhaps most impassioned after “Spin the Black Circle,” when he lamented the decline of the physical record album and praised New York for its old-school record stores. Meanwhile, there was an offer to download songs from the concert to your Verizon cell phone after the show. But after drinking as much wine as Vedder seemed to have by that point, we wouldn’t have remembered a detail like that ourselves. —Joe DeLessio