I Change by Not Changing at All

I saw Eddie Vedder perform solo a few days ago. I was 16 rows away from Eddie Vedder. It was nothing short of amazing. I’ve seen Pearl Jam before, but it’s been at big venues in which I couldn’t even see the stage.

Eddie has picked up the uke and recently released an album of Ukulele Songs. So he opened the show with a bunch of those songs. He can really tear it up on the ukulele. He then moved on to a bunch of different guitars and other solo and Pearl Jam songs. He was chatty between songs, and seemed to have interesting things to say. Unfortunately, I don’t know what those things were, because there were so many drunken buffoons in the audience. Every time he would start talking, buffoons would start yelling out nonsense! So rude! I was librarian shushing the nimrods.

He played one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs: “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.” I listened to this song ad nauseam one year in college; I believe it was sophomore year, 1994. There was one lyric in particular that I loved: I change by not changing at all. I have a thing for paradoxes. My 19-year-old self could almost understand what he was getting at…I was on the outside, looking in at the elderly woman.

Well. As I listened to that lyric two nights ago, it chilled me. I have become that lyric. For months I have been struggling with the fact that my life is no different than it was 12 years ago when I moved to Boston. This stagnancy is changing me, and not in a good way.

This is getting too heavy for a Friday night. Back to Eddie. Even though I don’t follow Pearl Jam as closely as I used to, I will see Eddie again if he tours solo. I was impressed and thought he put on a great show. And he kept a sense of humor re: the Bruins insanity (the show was the same night as Game 7 of the Cup finals). Is Boston the only city in the United States that insists on doing sports chants during rock concerts?


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