I just got back from the concert for the Northwest School at the Paramount Theatre. This was a benefit show to raise money for the school. The school itself is fairly new in the grand scheme of things and this is the 25th year it has been open. All of the bands that played had ways you could get tickets through their respective fan clubs. As a member of Pearl Jam’s Ten club I put in my request to buy two tickets at the $150 or $75 level so I could get tickets on the main floor. As luck would have it I “won” the right to buy tickets at the $150 level. Since I thought I would take my brother that lives in town along with my sister I need to get two more tickets so I bid in the on-line auction that was done via ticketmaster. This was a Dutch style auction where you just named your price and until that became the lowest price you had seats at that level. I put in a bid at the $150 level which was a guarantee of being in the first rows up to row “K”. The pit was reserved for people who wanted to start bidding at $250 but they also got airfare and a hotel room. As the auction went on I raised my bid and ended up with seats on the dead center aisle in row “E” so I was only six rows from the stage when you included the seats in the pit. The question was where were the fan club seats? I picked those up yesterday and I was a bit bummed that they were in row “V” – still great seats but not really what I expected. Needless to say my brother had to work so I sold them to a person at work for face value. When I got to the show I asked the person in the row in front of me how much they paid and she said $150 but she had bought them directly from the school and also her daughter was going to perform. This ended up being kind of a weird vibe in the crowd not for the family that sat in front of me, they were very cool but just that the rest of the row was not necessarily people that were big fans of any of the bands and until the last band took the stage they never really stood and never really got into the bands performing. My sister ran into friends who had gotten their tickets via the Pearl Jam fan club and they were across the section from us in row "C" which is a far cry from "V" and they also only paid $150. Oh well it was for a great cause.
Tom Skerritt (Picket Fences, Cheers, Alien) who had a child attend the Northwest School came out and introduced the night and also most of the acts. The first up was Grammy award winning jazz guitarist Bill Frisell. His daughter graduated from the NW school last year. He put on a great performance playing many recognizable songs like “When you wish upon a star” in his own jazzy style. Next up was a junior from the school, Alex Thompson Revelas, who’s mom was sitting in front of me and she played/song a great folk song that she had written. Next up were Ann & Nancy Wilson of the band Heart. They are Seattle natives and Ann’s daughter Marie (’10) attends the school. They had a very fun set. It is just amazing to hear them live and they still have great harmonies together. They played songs that ranged from a song of their latest album to an Elton John cover. They closed out their set with Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore” which they had done for the movie Singles’s soundtrack. I should also note that there was a cute little kid that came on stage with them that you could see in the wings. While I would guess he was under five he looked a lot like Cameron Crowe. Next up was a six grader from the school; Jonah Siomne Cohen who played/sung a blues number on the guitar. Everyone enjoyed his performance.
The Presidents of the United States of America where the next to perform. The drummer Jason Finn graduate from the NW school in 1985. Andrew McKeag played guitar in this show instead of Dave. The Presidents are the Presidents and they played a fun and enjoyable show. I want to say that they played more songs off of their latest CD but it might be closed to balanced with their hits from yesteryear. These guys always make me laugh. Last up was Pearl Jam. PUSA watched their whole set from the wings of the stage. Stone Gossard a class of ’84 grad came and talked a bit before they took the stage. Eddie Vedder and Boom Gasper (he played keyboards on the last album & tour) came out and played “The Kids are alright” by the Who and then everyone else came out to join the fun. Pearl Jam played one new song that I assume will be out on their new album that is supposed to come out in May. The song had the same style as “Spin the black circle” does but had a monochromatic sound to it. Bill Frisell came out and joined them on “Crazy Mary” and he had a great jam in the song. It was Bill’s birthday today and in most years the band seems to play on Jeff Ament’s birthday which was a few weeks ago so they brought them out a cake. Eddie took a swipe of it in his hand and then shared it with a person in the pit. It was kind of funny. They brought out another student to play bass cello and he did great. I missed his name and he was not listed in the program. In their final number almost everyone who had performed that night came back out on stage including the NW students and they played “All along the watchtower”. Eddie and Chris Ballew seem to be having the most fun and they even switched guitars mid song. At one point Chris jumped into the pit also. All and all it was a great night and it raised a lot of money for the NW school. It was the first time my sister had seen Pearl Jam and she was the last sibling in the family to do so.