PJ20 a day of celebration, reunion

By Kyle Brown
Entertainment Editor 
I was very much disheartened to see the weather radar for the day as I sat in C&J’s Kountry Diner  in Abell’s Corner, WI. Two major storm systems were forecast to descend upon Alpine Valley Music Theater, venue for Pearl Jam’s Destination Weekend festival.
I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best as I ate my steak and eggs, but my sense of hope evaporated when the deluge arrived and instantly drowned the air with misery. 
The inclement conditions were not enough to keep me away from my destination (no pun intended), and sure enough, the rain died down to a slow yet constant drizzle.
The radar indicated heavier storms were yet to come, but thank God they never came.
After a good four hours of holding my turf on the amphitheater’s expansive lawn, six o’clock came around and grunge act Mudhoney took the main stage to begin the show. The crowd remained sparse and was all but attentive for Mudhoney’s game effort. 
Time ticked by as Josh Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age played their dark and heavy set in no-holds-barred rock ‘n roll style, which would give way to the Strokes’ lighter sound, done ten minutes under schedule with an apologetic performance from frontman Julian Casablancas.
Here, Eddie Vedder made his first appearance of the night dropping in to sing with Casablancas on the bass-driven screaming surf rock tune “Juicebox.”
By nine thirty, the man-made grass bowl was replaced by a mob of dedicated Pearl Jam fans, eager to wish them a happy 20th anniversary.
“One more year and you can finally drink alcohol,” said guest act Liam Finn earlier in the day.
Around 9:45, all lights went black and a roar of anticipation rose from the crowd of 37,000 and a giant “PJ” insignia of model amplifiers illuminated the stage.
Vedder kicked the night off with the sedate “Release” with the crowd echoing his “Oh’s” in near-perfect unison. They followed it up with a cover of Joe Strummer’s “Arms Aloft” before ripping into “Do The Evolution.”
Pearl Jam isn’t the kind of band that would celebrate its birthday alone, so they invited several other artists to play on stage, beginning with bringing Liam Finn, John Doe from punk outfit X, and Mudhoney drummer Dan Peters for “Who You Are.”
Also invited were Casablacas for “Not For You,” which may have been a snide message directed towards his stage abilities, followed by a livelier presence from Homme on “In The Moonlight,” where Homme comically dwarfed Vedder in stature, emphasized with an embrace between the two.
But the most well-received act to come on stage with the band was Soundgarden’s lead singer Chris Cornell, whose appearance immediately caused the fans to burst into raucous cheers, some to the point of blowing their vocal cords.
Cornell’s presence on the stage was special because it represented a sort of reunion of his 1991 project Temple of the Dog that he did with the members of Pearl Jam before they rose to fame the next year with the release of “Ten.” 
Click to see footage of Temple of the Dog’s reunion.
They closed out the night with their second encore, where Mudhoney’s Mark Arm requested a “sea of hands” before jumping into an electric cover of MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams.”
Overall, there was a sort of magical feeling to the night, and I think Vedder described it best:
“We’ve been a lot of things over the years…but I’m glad to say that we are now a party band.”