October 8, 2014
Tulsa, OK USA
Review by Jennifer Reed
Photos by Freddy Salazar
Tulsa Comes 'Alive' With Pearl Jam
New life was brought to the BOK Center as Pearl Jam made their first ever appearance in Tulsa, OK on October 8, 2014.
A simple, yet fascinating stage welcomed the crowd of over 19,000. Ten bulbs equipped with LED lights of blue, green and white hung from the rafters, while a meshed triangle design of twisted metal added additional lighting from above. Kaleidoscope images poured over the audience in circles, peace signs, and luminous color. The rear of the stage was back lined with illuminating lightning bolts as to subliminally remind everyone of the newest release "Lightning Bolt." As the band took the stage, screens on each side of it showed the five-piece as they were led by Eddie Vedder to their audience. The film was black and white and offered a vintage feel. The crowd exploded as they emerged and the tone of the show was set.
It has been years since I have experienced a crowd reaction like this one. As the camera panned the first few rows of the pit, I saw grown men crying, signs in the air expressing love and children mouthing word for word songs from well before they were born. The energy of this crowd was directly proportional to the energy exuded by the band. It was electric. During songs like "Animal" and "Jeremy," the entire venue would jump to the beat, with hands raised high and Vedder leading the charge. During songs like "Dissident," the crowd's vocals drowned out the band's. They graciously stepped back from the mics to let the audience take over, smiling with appreciation each time. With over 20 years in the business, Pearl Jam has earned the greatest fans there are: loyal ones.
Pearl Jam is so tight as a band, verbal communication is not always necessary. They follow each other seamlessly with transitions as smooth as silk. There is an undeniable chemistry that shows in their work, not only on the stage but in the studio. How else could "Ten" have gone platinum 13 times over? A diamond record is not an easy feat to accomplish, and they did it with ease. The timelessness of that record was proven with songs like "Evenflow." The track was released in 1991, but the presentation during this show made it fresh and new. Mike McCready's guitar skills are as impressive today as ever. While jumping in concentric circles, he would play behind his back and incorporate bassist Jeff Ament into the routine. This enticed the crowd to do the same. It became apparent rather quickly, McCready is wild!