An In-Depth Look at Their Night at Xcel Energy Center
By Grant Ayers
Photos Courtesy of Joe Lemke Photography
Right in the heart of the Fargo-Moorhead area, there’s no shortage of local fun and cultural happenings. But guess what? There’s a whole world of excitement waiting just a short trip away. Yep, we’re talking about the Twin Cities—the place where art and entertainment come alive in a big way. Don’t get us wrong, we love our Fargo-Moorhead scene, but sometimes you’ve got to hit the road for something extra special. Think live concerts and events that might not swing by our neck of the woods. So, let’s dive into why those mini-vacations are totally worth it, like a recent trip to check out the iconic rock band, Pearl Jam.
Thursday, August 31, was more than just another date on the calendar for the fans of Pearl Jam—it marked the iconic band’s return to Minnesota after almost a decade. Held at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, the concert was a display of fan loyalty, emotional connection, and electric energy in a large, yet intimate setting. With 11 studio albums already under their belt and another in the works, the band has lost none of its vitality in their new music or performances.
As the evening commenced, the opening tones of “Indifference” filled the air, giving fans a reflective moment to take in what was about to unfold. This initial segment of the setlist, made up of seated songs, had a contemplative feel to it. “Buckle Up” and “Sometimes” followed, each song adding layers to the experience and setting the stage for what was to come.
“Wishlist” saw Vedder’s lyrical eloquence shine as he sang about desires and longings, while “Black” took everyone back to the early ’90s, encapsulating the grunge era’s raw emotion. These songs allowed the audience to connect on a deeply personal level, making for a significant and intimate start to the show.
If the seated set was a simmer, the standing set was a full-on boil. The band kicked things up a notch with hits like “Given to Fly” and “Mind Your Manners,” delivering an electrifying jolt to the audience. The night also saw the resurrection of “Insignificance,” a song the band had not played live since 2016—showing that they’re not afraid to pull from the deeper pockets of their discography.
“Seven O’Clock” and “Even Flow” served as reminders of the band’s versatility, blending Vedder’s powerful vocals with ripping guitar riffs. “Dance of the Clairvoyants” added a newer flavor to the mix, while “I’m Open” served as a treat to longtime fans, rarely heard in their live shows.
One of the most outstanding aspects of the evening was the crowd. Fans were not just footnotes to the performance; they were a critical part of it. Their high-energy responses and enthusiastic singing along turned the concert into a mutual exchange. Even when the band played songs considered “deep cuts,” the audience was right there, vocal chords at the ready.
Throughout the evening, Eddie Vedder did more than just perform; he connected. He paused to reminisce about the band’s iconic MTV Unplugged session, and although he couldn’t remember much about the performance, he noted that it remains a favorite in his family. Vedder took continuous breaks throughout to talk ‘with’ the audience, rather than ‘to,’ and share a handful of in-depth stories, both somber and lighthearted, but all evidently personal to him.
Eddie also gave a special shoutout to former Minnesota Twins player Justin Morneau, who was in the audience. The band showed appreciation for all their fans by periodically turning around to play to the backside of the arena, making sure every attendee was part of this memorable night.
The encore was a tour-de-force. Eddie Vedder returned alone to the stage, setting an intimate atmosphere once again for the roughly 20,000 attendees. He captivated the audience with personal stories of late friends, including the legendary Tom Petty. This led into a touching cover of Petty’s “Wildflowers,” allowing everyone to feel the weight and beauty of the moment. When the rest of the band rejoined, they proceeded to rattle off hits like “Alive,” “Go,” and “Crazy Mary,” finishing with the fan-favorite “Yellow Ledbetter.”
Pearl Jam’s concert at the Xcel Energy Center was not just a performance; it was an experience that extended from the stage to the farthest seat in the house. The band proved that despite decades in the industry, their music still resonates—deeply and profoundly—with audiences young and old. As a business owner, you understand the value of long-lasting quality, and Pearl Jam delivers just that in the world of music.
For those who missed out on this once-in-a-decade show, the message is clear: Don’t let another 10 years go by without catching this iconic band live. It’s not merely a concert; it’s a cultural event that reverberates through the hearts and minds of everyone fortunate enough to be in attendance. After a night like this, it’s evident that Pearl Jam’s influence isn’t waning; it’s only growing stronger with time, bridging gaps between generations of rock fans.