The exterior of the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California shines with a projection of the new logo of the legendary grunge band.
The exterior of the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California shines with a projection of the new logo of the legendary grunge band.
THE MIRROR | Courtesy of Adrianna Bean

A “Ten out of Ten”

Pearl Jam’s Dark Matter World Tour shines a light at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles

Everyone brace yourself. 

For the very first time in my career as a staff writer for the VNHS Mirror… 

I am writing a music article that is not about Taylor Swift. 

Take some time to breathe. It’s going to be ok. 

Settled? Great. 

 

Tandem to my Taylor Swift obsession, I have also always been a fan of “old music.”

Like many other teens my age, my dad would show me music videos of his favorite bands from the 80’s, including Van Halen, Styx, Rush and more, and KLOS was a cornerstone of the summer sound throughout my childhood. 

However, this obsession was more of a recent find, when last year my parents introduced me to a band called Pearl Jam, a 90’s grunge staple, known for hits like “Even Flow”, “Jeremy” and “Alive” off of one of their most revered albums, “Ten.” 

Younger viewers may know them as the ones behind the song from that one “skating Jesus”, a Skate Three meme from early 2023. 

The band is responsible for completely and utterly changing my brain chemistry, and, not to overhype something subjective, but they’re one of those bands that make you want to inject their music into your bloodstream.

In classic Kia Forum fashion, the pillars of the venue are ordained with quotes from the band’s most well known songs, in this case, the song “Alive” from their first album “Ten.”

Taking a two-night residency at the Kia Forum, which is right next to the newly constructed SoFi Stadium, the air was electric in and outside the venue at the concert I found myself lucky enough to attend. 

I attended the concert with my parents, only to be met with a large majority of other families. There were older fans, who had been listening to them since their teenage days in the 90’s, young adults of today who listened to them as a kid during the 90’s, thanks to the same “parent’s music” runoff that happened to me as a kid, and more. 

Outside, the Forum was decked out in posters of the band members and a large projection of the album logo on the outer ceiling. 

In traditional Forum fashion, the venue also had quotes from the band’s hit songs, including but not limited to “Alive,” “Better Man” and their new song “Dark Matter.” 

The opening act was an indie band called Deep Sea Diver, which sported an “After Laughter,” Paramore style-80 pop sound and an amazing female vocalist, Jessica Dobson. 

I immediately became a new fan.

We all waited in anticipation for the concert to start, and it did not disappoint. 

Time and time again, Eddie Vedder, the band’s lead singer, has proved to us how amazing of a vocalist he is. Despite playing for 30+ years with a rock band, his voice has stayed intact, and one could argue, even better sounding than it was before. 

His voice reminds me of a thick piece of dark chocolate-rich, smooth and soulful-but also not too sweet, moreso a nice sharpness and rasp that adds to the already amazing sound of his voice. This vocal tone has made him one of my biggest vocal inspirations as a singer in a rock band myself. 

Despite this, the performer I was actually the most impressed with that night was Mike McCready, the band’s lead guitarist. I’m not sure if I had just never noticed it before, or the concert gave him more time to really jam and shine as a musician but man, that dude can play. 

The Kia Forum was not only illuminated on the outside, but also inside, with a massive screen portraying beautiful graphics, animated versions of album logo, closeups of the band members and more. (THE MIRROR | Courtesy of Adrianna Bean)

Actually, the entire band exhibited astronomical musicianship the entire night. Matt Cameron (Drums), Jeff Ament (Bass), and Stone Gossard (Guitar) all did an outstanding job on their respective instruments, and you could tell how long they have been playing together by how well they played, but also how well they played together. 

If Vedder is dark chocolate, the whole band is a fine wine, great at first, but even better as time continues. 

Additionally, the band’s new producer, Andrew Watt, played a song with them, which was incredible to see.

Some people in the pit had signs, which Vedder took time to read out to the audience between anecdotes. One of them read that one fan was with his 80+ year old father who had been listening since the 90’s, and the other that a young girl had been to five Pearl Jam concerts–four of them in the womb. 

Even though it was technically the “Dark Matter World Tour,” the setlist was a truly diverse and well crafted cumulation of their vast discography, sporting songs from their 1991 “Ten,” V.S. (1993), Vitalogy (1994) and Yield (1998) but also recent albums like Backspacer (2009) and of course, Dark Matter, and more. 

It was so magical to hear the crowd, such devoted fans, cheering upon recognizing every song with a single guitar lick even before Vedder started singing. 

Vedder also diverted into multiple anecdotes during the concert, telling about his experience as a child watching basketball and (almost) seeing Pink Floyd at the Forum as a young adult. 

The band also played a multitude of different covers, like Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall: Pt. 2,” and The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”

The grunge singer also commented on an ongoing debate regarding Kansas City Chiefs’s kicker Harrison Butker, and in classic, fiery Vedder fashion, he has had a lot to say about it. 

Overall, the show was amazing. 

If you’re a fan of Pearl Jam or classic grunge this tour is definitely a great cumulation of their work. If you aren’t familiar with their music, I would recommend listening to at least “Ten” and “Dark Matter” and reviewing some of their music before attending. 

And even if you’re not planning on seeing the concert or are a fan of grunge or rock music at all –-take this as a music recommendation. 

You can’t find a better band!

Outside the venue, radio station ALT. 98.7 played music and gave out free memorabilia, like t-shirts, stickers, and more. (THE MIRROR | Courtesy of Adrianna Bean)

Band rating: 10/10 Album rating: 9/10 Concert rating: 10/10

 

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About the Contributor
Adrianna Bean
Adrianna Bean, Staff
Swiftie and first year Journalism writer Adrianna Bean can be found screaming the lyrics to whatever album she’s obsessed with right now (it’s always different). From animation and art, performing in plays and musicals, writing about topics she cares about, to re-reading her favorite books, Adrianna loves a good story, fiction and nonfiction. Story of Us? Love Story? Long Story Short? “The story starts when it was hot and it was summer and…?” She loves them all!
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    RobJun 9, 2024 at 10:06 pm

    Great take.. like a time warp… They count. 5 Against One.. Glad you keep Alive.. Release is my Favorite

    Reply