Ask any fan with a knowledge of Pearl Jam's live history what the greatest show the band have ever played is, and there is a fair chance that Soldier Field '95 will be mentioned.
Mid-95, the band had it all to prove, facing something of a backlash following the failing attempts to plan a tour without using Ticketmaster, which culminated in a San Francisco show where Ed left the stage ill after a mere 7 songs, cancelling remaining dates on the tour.
The band returned to live action with 2 gigs in Milwaukee,where they were drawing rave reviews. These shows were followed by a trip to Ed's native Chicago, to play Soldier Field. Nobody could have anticipated what followed: an amazing 2+ hour set, filled with classics, covers, (then) unreleased songs and even a guest appearance by producer Brendan O' Brien, all of which was served up by PJ at their best, 5 men against the world, 5 against 1.
07/11/95 - Soldier Field: Chicago, IL Video (VCD)
Vitalogy 1995 U.S. Tour Show
Support Acts: Otis Rush, Bad Religion
Release, Go, Last Exit, Spin the Black Circle, Tremor Christ, Corduroy, Whipping, I Got Shit, Dissident, Even Flow, Improv/Sick o' Pussies, Deep, Jeremy, Glorified G, Daughter/(This Boy)/(The Real Me)/(W.M.A.)/(ABitW-II), Animal, Habit, Jam/Lukin, Not for You, Little Wing (teaser), Elderly Woman, Immortality, Alive, Porch
Everyday People, Let My Love Open the Door, Better Man, Rearviewmirror, Black, Blood
Show Notes: First night Monkeywrench broadcast the show through the radio. The crowd is pumped, with people crowdsurfing even during Otis Rush's set. Cool 'Tommy' riff after 'Lukin.' 'Black' lyrics are altered from "sun" to "moon" and Ed gestures to the full moon above the stadium. He jokes, "There's some fancy people in the skybox ... they're blinking to us, sending us a message up there." The crowd boos and he tells them not to get angry: "... you know life has a way of working itself out, you know? Think about this for a sec, right? These are the rich, fancy people, right? They got all the luxury, right? Looks to me, like they're the farthest ones away from the stage and they're behind a fuckin' window ... you hang in the trenches long enough, it pays off ..." Ed destroys his black Telecaster featuring the "skateboarding is not a crime" bumpersticker, smashing it against his mic stand. Producer Brendan O'Brien joins the band on keyboard for a surprising 'Everyday People' (a Sly and the Family Stone song) and then 'Let My Love Open the Door.' First lightning and later, fireworks, filled the sky this night. Amazing setlist and long performance with the pressure on in an intimidating venue.
Show Notes courtesy of TwoFeetThick.com