She said, "Yes! We just got front row tickets to see Eddie Vedder! I know I don't know you but, thank you for letting me grab you!" I thanked her in return for doing so. She introduced herself as Sara and a friendship of a lifetime was formed. The friends I came with had followed me and also traded in their tickets for front row. We were all stunned and so happy and couldn't believe out luck. We all were anxious to check out our seats, and mine was dead center stage. I couldn't have been more front row and center.
The stage. And notice how the front row has a cluster of people already seated? Yeah, we were a little excited to already sit down, I'd say.My shadow is on the right. I sat down in disbelief and pure joy. And there was so much more to come.
Glen Hansard, my second (very close second) favorite musician opened for Eddie. I've seen this man perform multiple times and know all his Swell Season songs. He only played six songs total, but they were perfect. I sang along to the ones I knew (he did some covers I did not know the words to). He looked at me and smiled several times and it made my day. I was THAT close! Close enough to make eye contact and know it. Ha.
Moving on to the main man of the hour. Eddie came out and played the first three tracks of his new "Ukulele Songs" album in order, which I promptly and gladly sang along to, but was careful not to sing too loud to not annoy my neighbors (I'm a considerate fellow fan). Upon finishing the third song titled "Without You" Eddie got up from his stool and walked toward the front of the stage. I don't recall what it was that prompted me to get out of my seat and walk towards him. It's all sort of a blur. Maybe it was the simple fact that he had something in his hand and was obviously moving forward to give it away. So, I stood up and moved toward him (seriously felt like an out-of-body experience), and others on the front row followed my lead. By now Eddie was at the edge of the stage and reached out. I started to raise my hand towards his, and I could see out of my peripheral vision that other hands were rising up to meet his. What he did next is embedded in my mind forever. He distinctly, but slightly, seemed to shake his head at others' hands higher than mine and motioned/pointed his hand at me, non-vocally saying, "This is for her". In a state of pure denial, I reached up at his hand and he passed his guitar pick into mine. He turned to walk back to his stool and I returned to my seat, savoring the moment when I actually touched Eddie Vedder!
My new friend Sara added to the experience as she turned to me and said, "Oh my God! That was so for YOU!! How awesome!" I think she even congratulated me, and then repeated, "That was so for you!" I loved her even more in that moment. I think I said something in response, but can't recall what it was, I was just stunned. Michelle came over to hug me after the sweet exchange and I got a fist bump from Joe for it. It made me feel even happier that everyone around me was stoked for me. For the next few songs, I held that pick tightly in my hand. Eddie played for two hours and Glen joined him on a few songs, namely, "Sleepless Nights" and "Falling Slowly". I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. The two of them, on stage together, singing...my mind was about to explode.
At the very end of the show, the security guard walked by the front row, motioning everyone to get up and come up to the stage. He went by so quickly, though, and no one was watching him because we were watching Eddie. But as he passed me I saw him continuing to motion us up, so me and a few others began to move forward and the rest of the row followed. We got to be up against the stage for the last song or two. His second to last song was "Hard Sun" from the movie soundtrack "Into the Wild", and the stage background became this blue sky full of white clouds. At that moment, I literally felt like I was in heaven. Eddie got the signal from the stage crew that he could play one more song, and he chose "Dream a Little Dream", which again, solidified my heaven-like state of mind.
The whole thing, from start to finish, felt like a dream. But it was very real and I have a guitar pick to prove it. And 3,999 witnesses.
Back story: If you're reading this, thinking, "This girl is a little obsessed," know that Pearl Jam is the band I've always considered the first real band I ever liked as a pre-teen/teen (post my childhood Amy Grant and NKOTB phase), and I have stayed an avid fan all these years. My answer to the question, "Who is your all-time favorite band" has been and always will be PEARL JAM.