At about 11:15 pm on August 6, 2000, I fell in love
It happened at the Greensboro Coliseum on the occasion of my 30th birthday. Pearl Jam was playing and Eddie spotted a kid close to the stage. He said something like this
I’ve been looking at this kid up front and he’s recording the show. And I don’t have a problem with that. I really don’t. It’s just that we’re about to play a romantic one and I wanted you to be able to dance with your girl. I just wanted to put your tape recorder up here on stage, so you can get a better sound
He then put the kid’s tape recorder by the onstage monitors and the band launched into their cover of “Last Kiss”. At that moment, I knew I would love that band for the rest of my life
Saturday night, before the show in Greenville, SC, my buddy Scott, who I went to high school with, asked me if he thought they would cancel Wednesday’s show in Raleigh. I told him that I was pretty confident if they were going to cancel, they would have already sone it
I hadn’t factored in a disastrous performance by Pat McCrory (R-
Hamlet NC) on Sunday’s “Meet The Press”
Pretty sure that Pat’s appearance sealed the deal and rendered this
useless as PJ cancelled Raleigh on Monday
Their official statement:
It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th.
This will be upsetting to those who have tickets and you can be assured that we are equally frustrated by the situation.
The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens. The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.
It is for this reason that we must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable.
We have communicated with local groups and will be providing them with funds to help facilitate progress on this issue.
In the meantime we will be watching with hope and waiting in line for a time when we can return.
Perhaps even celebrate.
With immense gratitude for your understanding,
I don’t know if I’ve been prouder of this band
Make no mistake, I wish they would have made this decision last week or the week before, but what they said here is huge and makes a massive statement. Springsteen has always been a hero to Eddie, so it’s no surprise that he followed the lead of The Boss
I am ashamed of the leadership of my state. They have turned this place I loved into a place I barely recognize. North Carolinians were never people who were fearful or suspicious of each other. We never went out of our way to make people who were different feel strange. We accepted people who weren’t the same with open arms. It’s all changed now. My family has North Carolina roots going back a century and a half. If not seeing Pearl Jam once is enough to wake people up and give me my state back, I’m all for it
This really sucks for the fans because Pearl Jam hasn’t played Raleigh in 13 years. In fact, since a John Kerry fundraiser in Asheville in ’04, the band has only performed one North Carolina show (Charlotte, ’13)
As I watched a tremendous show in Greenville on Saturday, I became emotional thinking about what awaited me Wednesday. I felt that Eddie had made his decision and he would surely roll out an old chestnut from the Bush days. At that point, PJ was quite adamant about their opposition to the Iraq War and they started playing the old protest song “Here’s to the State of Mississippi” by Phil Ochs at their shows
It is a sad, mournful, despairing tune that pleads for those who have done damage to our country to get out. PJ’s version changed the lyrics to reflect Bush, Cheney, etc.
I closed my eyes Saturday and imagined how Eddie might lay into North Carolina by changing the lyrics on Wednesday and I got pretty emotional just thinking about it. Mississippi was shorthand to a generation of Americans for everything that was wrong about this great country. To think that North Carolina has become the modern-day Mississippi for LGBT folks, hurts me deeply. We can tell these people that we don’t support HB2 all we want, but it’s still a law and it’s still a North Carolina law
There’s a part of me that hoped Eddie would sing these hard truths to us on Wednesday, but I’m not certain I would have been able to bear it
God has richly blessed me in my life in so many ways. God has seen fit that I should attend 11 Pearl Jam shows, each unique memories I will carry for me to the grave. I hope the Lord makes it so that I can see my favorite band a 12th time one day. But, my greater hope is that He lets me see the day when I get my state back