If you were at Pearl Jam’s concert Monday night you’ll recall Eddie Vedder pausing before “Off He Goes” to give a 7-year-old boy a guitar pick. That boy’s name is Matthew and he was attending his first ever concert with his father Jeff, who sent his story to me. This is their story, as written by Jeff Tuesday morning. It is a story that doesn’t just convey the power of Pearl Jam, but the power of music in general. Be warned, it’s a tearjerker so have some Kleenex ready.
We got down to the arena about 5:30, we were going to check out Easy Street, and the pre party at TS McHugh’s, but I couldn’t resist, so we went to the 10c ticket window. And we got good news. Row seven. Dead center.Unbelievable. The greatest part of these seats was the fact that there was a wide aisle (maybe five feet wide?) directly to our left, we were on the aisle. And there were about three rows of people in front of us, so my son was able to just rock out, and see everything totally unobstructed. This could not have worked out better, it was meant to be.
Not one security guard said one thing about it. People were coming up left and right, high fiving him, jokingly asking if he wanted to trade seats with them. We both decided we wouldn’t have sold our seats for a million dollars. And that was before the first note was played.
We sit, and revel in these gifts from the heavens for awhile. What he said next really cracked me up. He said, “Dad, I’m just so excited. I feel like I can’t hold my feet still! And I have this feeling inside my stomach!” I was able to look at him and say that I felt the exact same way. I always do before a show. Now some people will say it was a waste of a five digit 10c numbered seat to bring a child, but this is a kid who somehow knows he is going to experience something special.
Ben Harper’s set was great, nice warmup. We play with the earplugs for the first couple songs, get them just right. Opener is Long Road, not something he’s really familiar with. I always dig it, though I’ve had it as an opener at least a couple times previously. Corduroy, and he is jacked. I made a point to familiarize him with the staples I guessed he would hear, and this was one. He’s totally smiling, and trying to figure out how to move somewhat rhythmically. Very entertaining. For the first time in my life, after 21 shows, I’m more entertained at the show by someone other than the five guys on stage!
Gonna See My Friend, again he is into it. One he said repeatedly he wanted to hear before the show. Singing along, I’m loving it. Got Some is another winner, same thing. Around this time, I notice Ed distinctly pointing at him, and connecting somehow. It seemed like he tried to throw him a guitar pick, but it went astray. It’s a thing I think it takes a parent to relate to. But there was just a lot of joy in that room, and my boy was immersed in goodness. Hail Hail / Amongst The Waves / Daughter. After daughter, he says “That’s it? What’s up with that?” There was no tag. That made me laugh too.
Evenflow and he gives me that look that any parent knows, like on their birthday when they open a gift that they really wanted, but really had no expectation of it actually showing up. Johnny guitar /Unthought Known / WWS. He was probably the only one there that didn’t notice the gaffes in WWS. He dug the avocado album, especially the upbeat stuff, so he’s happy. He got that look I see a lot of Tenclubbers get when they hear a song they almost somehow forgot about,but wanted to hear, and forgot they wanted to hear it!
Small Town. He is belting out the “I just want to scream hello,” and that was a special moment. I pull him close, and kinda just love on him like parents have to do at times. What happens next I still am having a hard time believing actually happened. My whole body just gets covered in goosebumps and I get the chills. Eddie goes down to one knee and says to the people in the first row, “Hey, could you do me a favor? I see there is a little boy up here in about the sixth or seventh row, could you hand this back to him?”
I can’t believe this is happening. He walks up the aisle, and it gets passed back. Ed asks, “What is he, about six or seven?” Seven, I yell back at him. Matthew is holding this guitar pick like it is a piece of gold. I hold him up, face to face with Ed, and my son tells him thank you. “What is this, about your fourteenth show?” Ed asks, jokingly. Whatever else happens tonight, this day is just unbelievable. There are no words to describe.