On Saturday the 2nd we drove up to Whitetail for an afternoon of skiing. Or to be more accurate I skied, Nina went to ski school, and Jill knit. It was our first time in two years, so I didn’t last too long on my first pass, and Nina didn’t remember much from her week in school last time. But we had fun, and stopped at Popeyes and Sonic for dinner before driving home.

Kerry Nina

Tuesday I ate dinner at Pi before heading over to Capital One Arena for concert #5: Fleetwood Mac. I will argue with anyone that Lindsey Buckingham is the all time MVP of the Mac (when Christine McVie isn’t there, they skip her songs; when he isn’t there they hire a guitarist AND singer to replace him). But I was intensely curious to see what would happen as they’d brought on world class replacements this time: Neil Finn (of Crowded House) and Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). I’d waited until the last minute to score a ticket and got a floor ticket 3 hours before the show for $100, and got in with minutes to spare.


It was a hits filled show, kicking off with “The Chain”. Neil had good strong vocals and Mike ably performed the solo (without Lindsey’s finger plucking style). “Little Lies” was back in the lineup (as it had been since Christine McVie returned in 2014), then “Dreams”, “Second Hand News”, and “Say You Love Me”. Next was the first time for me hearing “Black Magic Woman” performed by the Mac – with Stevie on lead vocals and Mike tearing it up on guitar it sounded great (ironically one of the reasons Lindsey wasn’t there was he’d wanted to do more deep cuts). “Everywhere” and “Rhiannon” followed, and then the evening’s only embarrassment: “World Turning” and Mick Fleetwood’s way too long drum solo. The mandatory “Gypsy” was next, and then another throwback: “Oh Well” with Mike taking a turn on vocals (the last time I heard him play that song was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers show in 2006, which also featured Stevie).

Fleetwood Mac

One of the highlights was Neil starting solo on “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and Stevie joining in halfway through, and “Landslide” had a different vibe with Neil on guitar. Straight hits all the way through to end the set (“Hold Me”, “Monday Morning” “You Make Loving Fun” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Go Your Own Way”), then the encore started with a moving tribute to Tom Petty with “Free Fallin'” (and a slideshow on the video screens of Tom, Stevie and Mike), followed by “Don’t Stop” and the left field finale of “All Over Again” (from Time [1995] – I was curious if “Freedom”, from Behind the Mask [1990], the only Mac cowrite by Stevie and Mike, would make it on the setlist but no).


Sunday the 10th was concert #6: Laura Benanti at the Barns At Wolf Trap. A Saturday matinee was a good opportunity to introduce Nina to the other venue at Wolf Trap, plus she got a taste of Broadway and an outstanding Tori Amos cover. My first time sitting in the balcony too. Thursday Jill said “we live on a popular walking path and someone left this in our front yard at the crux of the tree roots as they passed. Made me smile. Sooo…someone else noticed it, picked it up and turns out it’s a pretty rad thing!” Friday Nina had a wacky school day.


Saturday the 16th we went down to the Hirshhorn and saw the Pulse exhibit, then saw concert #7 as Baba Ras D performed as part of their Maker Mornings. It reminded me of the Wolf Trap Artsplay classes I used to take Nina to. We also had a cold picnic lunch next to the food trucks outside, then walked over to the National Museum of American History where Nina liked the activities in the Spark!Lab and seeing Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers (she used her money to buy Toto in a picnic basket).


Thursday I laughed and laughed to see them dealing what we have to deal with every day. Also, this is relevant to my interests. Friday the 22nd we endured some crazy weather (including coating the road sleet) to get to the Wingate by Wyndham Atlantic City West just outside Atlantic City (because all the reviews of hotels in Atlantic City proper were terrible). We got dinner at Tacos El Tio, a cute Mexican place nearby with possibly the best veggie side ever (sautéed zucchini, bell peppers, onions,& asparagus with a little chipotle).


The next day I thought Monopoly was all made up, but here we were in Atlantic City and I had just turned from Indiana onto Baltic. It was a decent day enlivened for me with a walk over to the White House Sub Shop for some oversized subs for Jill and I. Jill said “We had a whirlwind trip to Atlantic City where the Diamonds hit a no deduction routine once again!! 2nd place in the biggest competition of the season -Diamonds shining bright in the city! We had to stop at an Italian bakery on our way home for some celebratory treats”.

Jill Nina

Sunday this was the result “…when you have a daughter who wants to practice her make up skills and you realize it’s only fair… not bad for a 7 year old, eh?”

Jill Nina

Monday the 35th I didn’t know why this exists, but Elton John shows up halfway through like the Wizard of Oz and I wasn’t expecting that. Tuesday I grabbed a quick sandwich at Wawa because I was late leaving for concert #8: Experience Hendrix at the Warner Theatre (got there with 5 minutes to spare). I last saw the tribute show in 2007, and it had to be an amazing lineup to drag me out on a night Jill was working. So they got Dave Mustaine (from Megadeth) and Joe Satriani, and I was in. Great show, hadn’t seen Dweezil Zappa, Eric Johnson or Jonny Lang before. The first 2/3 of the show was fun with everyone swapping in and out, including Taj Mahal and Hendrix’s own Billy Cox on bass. But the highlight for me was the end where Joe Satriani came out with Doug Pinnick (from King’s X) & Kenny Aronoff – they had obviously rehearsed a lot together and blew everyone away. Thursday Jill chaperoned Nina’s trip to the American Indian Museum (and got thank you cards from the kids afterwards) while Saturday she finished an epic sweater.


25 years of Pearl Jam live

I was a fan of Pearl Jam right off the bat, but didn’t see them for the first time until April 1994 at the Patriot Center. It was very intense, I recounted it at the time here (and follow up here).

After such an amazing experience, I was determined to recapture the magic. They announced they were playing two nights of benefit shows for Voters for Choice at Constitution Hall in January of 1995, and the only way to get tickets was with a postcard lottery. At this point I was working at a record store I co-owned, and we would print and mail brightly colored postcards to our mailing list so I made 20 and sent them in. I got chosen for the first show and took my sister.

It was an amazing show. L7 and Neil Young opened, but the audience was clearly there for Pearl Jam. And they were rewarded for their patience with an epic show featuring plenty of songs from Vitalogy (still my favorite album of theirs). New drummer Jack Irons took on his first full length show without a problem and Neil Young joined them during the encore for Neil’s new song “Act Of Love”.

I then saw Jeff Ament’s band Three Fish in July 1996 at the 9:30 Club. There were rumors of special appearances by other PJ members, but nothing came of that. Then I saw Pearl Jam again at Merriweather Post Pavilion in September 1996. I still enjoyed the show (got my first “Yellow Ledbetter”) but the new album No Code left me a bit cold after the run on the first three albums and my fandom died down a bit.

Still, I was happy to see them again at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1998. I was happy to go both days, especially after the first day was cut short due to an audience member getting struck by lightening, but they put on a great show to supposedly end the day. I left as they finished, so I missed them setting down their instruments so that the Red Hot Chili Peppers could play a short set (didn’t see them until the next year).

I didn’t see them again after that until they played the MCI Center in 2004 on the Vote For Change tour. They played a short set that night with Tim Robbins joining them on “The New World”, my favorite was “Masters Of War” which I’d loved their version of since Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready played it at the The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration. Eddie also joined R.E.M. that night for “Begin The Begin” and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band for “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, & Understanding” and “People Have The Power”. Full color coverage here.

I next saw Eddie Vedder when he did a solo set at Radio City Music Hall for the Change Begins Within benefit. He did a killer cover of “Under Pressure” with Ben Harper & Relentless7, which would have been the highlight of the night if there hadn’t been two members of The Beatles performing together (he joined Ringo Starr for his set and the last two songs of Paul McCartney’s set with Ringo and everyone else). More here.

Next my wife saw Pearl Jam for the first time when we attended the Austin City Limits Festival and they closed out the final night with guests Ben Harper and Perry Farrell. Too bad we left on the early side after squelching through mud all day. More details on the festival here.

The next time we saw Pearl Jam was by luck. I won an auction for Saturday Night Live tickets for March 2010, and that night turned out to be host Jude Law with musical guest Pearl Jam. They were great, and even turned up in a sketch. Many more details here.

No PJ proper for a long while after that, but I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in April 2013 to see Rush get inducted. An amazing night for me as a huge Rush fan, but one of the surprises was Mike McCready guesting on “Barracuda” with Heart. Full story here.

My most recent Pearl Jam show was really incredible, to see them inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2017. Ok, I was primarily there for Geddy and Alex from Rush, but I got to see the rehearsal and the show and they were fantastic. Complete wrap up here.