Pearl and Swine

The show at Bayfront brough new meaning to Jam

When Pearl Jam performed in Miami a few weeks ago, fans had the opportunity to enjoy two spectacles A one outside the Bayfront Park Amphitheater, one inside. With the gates supposed to open at 7:00 p.m., but not opening until about an hour after that, some slight civil unrest was no surprise. When some attendees decided they didn't want to listen to King's X or Pearl Jam from outside, they rushed the show. The first attempt was a failure, but the gang charged twice more, successfully ripping down a fence, allowing a large mass of ticketless people in.

It was at this time that our friendly neighborhood police decided to call in the riot squad. (This being, in my opinion, a not especially brilliant idea.) The Armored Ones lined up quite orderly. Thanks to my highly developed reporter skills (big ears) I heard that the riot police were due to leave in about 30 minutes.

But, brothers and sisters, who should ruin the moment but a quite portly man who couldn't hold his liquor and likened himself to Nolan Ryan. Throwing a bottle, this man started the "riot" that will guarantee tighter security for future concerts at Bayfront, or perhaps just fewer concerts at Bayfront. Not to babble, but during the tussles this reporter noticed quite a few occurrences that made my opinion of the Miami police sink lower than the cross-bay pipeline. Among the skirmishes: a young man idly walking along the grass, who, pursued by several weighty officers, was enthusiastically kicked in the ribs; an elderly woman, who, when told by a young cop to "please step back from the line, ma'am," and didn't step back far enough, was handcuffed and knocked upon her senior noggin; and a television journalist whose camera was blocked just as he was filming a teenager being beaten out of a few years.

The other spectacle was, of course, inside. That's why I was there A a teenager New Times thought might lend a proper perspective on Pearl Jam, a band whose following consists primarily of people my age. King's X came on first and played a wonderful set. Unfortunately (not being a fan of theirs), I didn't recognize any of the material, but the lead singer dived off the stage, and this certainly garnered my respect for him.

Something that I did not notice until Pearl Jam came on: The concert's promoter, Cellar Door, in a move that I must commend them for, sectioned off the grassy area from the concrete. (How long do you think that fence lasted? C'mon, be realistic now.) This being a night of the proletariat, I enjoyed watching the fans tear it down, showing those yuppies down front a thing or two about grunge.

After a lengthy intermission, Pearl Jam came on, to much applause and fanfare, beginning the set with a song from the second album, Go. Now, not liking Pearl Jam all that much, I still have to applaud Mr. Vedder for his ability to sing as well live as on tape. The band proceeded to play "Animal" and "Dissident." Mr. Vedder, the personable guy that he is (according to several rumors, he cussed out a girl in Coconut Grove) made a few statements to the crowd: "You guys [unintelligible mutterings] college?" Then, as a rowdy and nutty guy named Dave got too rowdy and nutty, Mr. Vedder had him escorted out, much to the delight of the crowd.

The band played a good set, continuing with "Even Flow" (played after a moving speech by Eddie about homeless people near Bayfront, a problem about which he is doing absolutely nothing other than talking), "State of Love and Trust" (from the Singles soundtrack), and "Glorified G." During "Daughter" the crowd joined in "...violins...." I was moved to tears. Apparently this is their only single.

Ah, wait. Pearl Jam did do one thing that was pretty admirable. Near the end of "Daughter," the band struck up the familiar strains of "We don't need no education/We don't need no thought control...." Whether this was merely a plug for the upcoming Pink Floyd concert or just an effect of living in Seattle, it turned out pretty cool. "Release Me" was then played, and "Jeremy" (you older folks and nonfans might not know how gratifying it is to hear about 11,000 people yell "fuck" at once). By the time "Alive" was played, the crowd-surfing was driving the security crew crazy.

Pearl Jam tried out some new material, with a song that started out "Fuck...," covered Neil Young, and, to finish the set, showed "Indifference."

The police actions that took place on that night were totally justified, of course. Like that one mustached officer pulling his gun and screaming, "I'll blow your fucking ass away."

One cop told me that the riot police were on duty anyway, as if I would believe that about 30 gassers sit around the precinct house on a Monday night. (Oh, I forgot, Monday is Meat Madness at Xtra, thus ensuring any number of riots.) The many clashes of humanity that night ruined an otherwise decent concert. Sorry, Nolan Ryan, that portly guy certainly gave you a bad rap.

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