Pearl Jam helped draw huge crowds out to Jazz Fest on Saturday. The day even started on a note from the grungy Pacific Northwest as Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs lapsed into Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on their set at Congo Square. But they finished on a popular local note, with rapper Dee-1 on stage doing their New Orleans Saints anthem "Bring 'Em to the Dome."
Jamming was the order of the day on the Acura Stage. Anders Osborne, sporting a long grey/blond beard and the wrinkled brow of an aging Nordic sea captain, opened his set with a blistering blues rock jam. He was backed by members of Galactic. Several songs into the set, he brought out metal rocker Pepper Keenan (pictured) and quipped that the two have created a ZZ Top cover band as a side project.
Pearl Jam turned in a solid hour and half of thrashing guitar rock interspersed with older hits ("Even Flow" off Ten, "Better Man" off Vitalogy). But some of the expected and unexpected extras included a link-up to soldiers in Iraq. The concert was broadcast to a Louisiana National Guard unit in Iraq. And a friend (Lt. Col. John McDonough) of Eddie Vedder's in the Marines was reached via satellite for a brief exchange (above Vedder holds his friend's unit's insignia). Much of the exchange was broadcast on the jumbo screens adjoining the stage.