It was ten years ago today when everything changed. Ten years ago, when lifelong fears were actualized and tragedy struck.
During early Pearl Jam shows, you could hear Eddie Vedder continually urging the crowd to be careful in the pit.
Is everyone OK in there? Are we all doing OK?
Comments about people’s boots treating pit-participant’s heads like “casaba melons” can be heard in the early bootlegs, and with our hindsight goggles on, it’s eerie to hear Eddie worrying about people going down in the pit.
Ten years ago today, at a particularly rowdy show at the Roskilde festival in Denmark, things began to get out of hand pretty early on. It had been raining for a few days already and the festival grounds had become muddy an unstable. The crowd was rowdy as well, and the pit was showing no signs of letting up.
Consistent with his lifelong fear of fans going down in the pit, Eddie spent much of the set urging the fans to calm down and take it easy. But the worst was yet to come.
Lost nine friends we’ll never know…
Tragedy. Disaster. Disbelieving.
The band was devastated, and unsure if they could go on, they canceled the remainder of the European tour. Rumors of a breakup were abound, and they probably weren’t too far off.
But the band decided not to cancel their US summer tour. And an emotional tour it was. I’ve always maintained that there are three types of PJ shows: Happy, Angry, and Emotional. The rest of the tour was emotional show after emotional show. The band shelved Alive, and brought out a different gem: It’s OK.
They used their music to get through the times and used their shows to help us get through it too.
Ten years later, let’s remember those who’s lives were tragically cut short with these three songs.
It’s OK, the song the band used to get themselves and their fans through the rest of the tour.
Love Boat Captain, the song the band used to immortalize those nine fans.
And finally, Alive, the song that the band brought back on the last night of the tour at the hometown Seattle show. A song that despite the tragedy associated with it, despite the original context of uncertainty and despair, was to become a song affirming and celebrating life.