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Live Concert Reviews

The PEarl Scam!

By Travis Fickle

Published in RW #11, 1998

Pearl Jam Live
Somewhere in that mess, there is a stage with Pearl Jam on it.

We thought we had a chance at a break here at Wiglar HQ. We thought we were being thrown a bone in the form of a chance to cover Pearl Jam's tour opening show at the Cultural Center in Kahului on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. We thought that a little more mainstream material in the Wiglar might attract more readers and subsequently more advertising dollars and before you know it we'd have a slick cover and full page ads for liquor every other turn.

As luck would have it, when you cast your lot with degenerates and deadbeats you reap a bitter, bitter harvest. Such is our fate. At any rate, for the sake of filling up space, here's what we could salvage from Island Correspondent, Travis Fickle's otherwise worthless account of the Pearl Jam show. Mahalo, ya'll

The phone woke me up at 3PM. I like to pick it up and just listen sometimes. I heard a familiar voice, "Hello?"

It was Muggsy. Shit.

"Listen, man!" I screamed into the receiver. "The last time I saw your Mom I handed her five bucks and stuck her in a cab! That was two weeks ago! I don't know where she is!"

"Shut up and listen," Muggsy hissed back. "This is serious." He sounded serious. "We just had a meeting and decided that we're taking the Reglar Wiglar legit. That whole sweepstakes thing was a farce. They're fucking with my mind, man. the Wiglar needs money pronto and Auman wants me to get it for him. I'm calling in my favor."

"What favor?" I asked.

"Remember...the public urination incident? Who bailed your ass out?"

"Hey, I got dirt on you too, Muggsy, if you wanna play hardball."

"There's no time for that. I need you to fly over to Maui and cover the Pearl Jam concert for the next issue. You gotta do a real mainstream fluff piece, know what I'm sayin'? We've had it over here. We need money. We're sellin' out."

It was useless to try to argue with Muggsy. I could tell from his voice that he'd been drinking.

"Oh well, I guess I could go. There'll be girls there, right?

"Hell yeah! The real young chicks eat that Pearl Jam shit up. Tell 'em you're a rock journalist, that you write for Rolling Stone."

I had to admit, it was a tempting offer. As long as they sold beer at the show I could probably make it through at least half the set.

"Alright, but you're going to owe me one Muggsy and I plan to collect, know what I mean?"

So there I was flying from Oahu to Maui with a bunch of college kids wondering how I had gotten myself into this mess. I decided to turn on the ol' tape recorder and ask the girl sitting next to me a couple of questions.

RW:> So are you flying over for the Pearl Jam show?

Girl: Oh yeah, they're great. Eddie Vedder is a modern day prophet.

RW: Yeah, whatever. Say you got a boyfriend?>

Girl: Yeah, he's staying on Oahu though, something about a parole violation.

RW: Sure, that's great. Do you like writers?>

Girl: I guess.

RW: Well, I'm writing a story for >Rolling Stone magazine, that's a big magazine you know? Maybe you've heard of it.

Girl: Wow, have you ever met Noel from Oasis? I bet he's a real nice person.

RW: He sure is! I got his phone number around here somewhere. Hmmm, where did I put that number? It must be in my baggage. What hotel are you staying at?>

Girl: I'm not sure, the Humahumalikilikei or something like that.

RW: No shit! I mean, what a coincidence, me too! Perhaps we could take a swim together after the show?>

Girl: I don't know...

RW: I could get you Noel's number.>

Girl: Cool!

(That's Journalist Perk #1)

I was in like Flynn. She'd see me with those press credentials hanging around my neck and forget all about her boyfriend, the felon, back in Oahu.

After the landing on Maui and stopping briefly to pull a baggie out of my underwear, I set off to pick up Journalist Perk #2; the rental car, the first thing you want to do is ascertain its turning radius. This is a must in the interest of safety. I immediately tested my ditchweed-green Geo Metro by doing 180s in front of a van-load of Japanese tourists. I bet they'll be sitting in their bonzai trees for years to come telling their grand kids about the show I put on for 'em.

Back at the motel, I got into my rock journalist duds; khaki pants, a faded Flipper t-shirt and a pair of Airwalks, grabbed my tape recorder and hit the scene.

When I got to the will call office, I told the lady, "I'm here to cover the concert for the Reglar Wiglar. There should be a press pass for me somewhere back there."

The will call lady left the window for a minute and returned flanked by two large Samoan gentlemen. She said she was sorry but, "you are not on the guest list and no one in the back has ever heard of Reglar Wiggle."

Damnit Muggsy! I should have known. Seeing as how I was outnumbered I causally walked away and began loitering near the gate waiting for my big chance. As a flock of kids with piercings stuck in every orifice of their bodies, neared the gate I knew this was it. While security helped the youngsters remove their jewelry (for their own safety) I made my move.

I ran through the gate, head down, knees up, not looking back. I shot through the crowd and dove to the grass behind a group of fat hippies who were busy arguing about whether or not Pearl Jam would play "Jeremy". Somehow I had managed to elude the venue's elite security force.

The lights dimmed, the band started and I thought this would be a good time to smoke some Hawaiian Crippler. Fuck Pearl Jam. Who does Eddie Vedder think he is anyway?

By the end of the first song, I knew I had to drink more. After hanging around the beer stand for most of the show I decided to do a few interviews.

(Editors note: The tape turned into our office was a barely coherent. We have sent the tape to a forensic lab in the area for a translation but we're still waiting to hear from them. The following dialogue cannot be verified and frankly we don't believe a word of it.)

The following interview took place between yours truly and a group of teenage girls.

RW: So where you gals from?

Girl1: We flew in from Seattle.

RW: Just to see Pearl Jam?

Girl2: Sure, we're huge fans. Who did you say you write for?

RW: I don't have to listen to some 13-year-old give me the third degree, all right?

Girl2: I'm fifteen.

RW: Whatever, just tell me, does watching Eddie strut around up there on stage in leather pants get you girls all hot and bothered?

I think that's when one of them accidentally spilled a coke in my face. The whole incident is a little hazy and the interview ended abruptly after that.

Undaunted and determined to get a good article, I tried again. I decided to try speaking to the lonely-looking girl standing by herself.

RW: So how are you enjoying the show?

Lonely Girl: Oh, it's so spiritual, when they played "Even Flow". I almost died.

RW: Yeah, me too, that song really says something.

Lonely Girl: Really? A lot of guys don't get Eddie's lyrics. They think he's just some megalomaniac.

RW: Hold on, could you spell that for me?

Lonely Girl: M-E-G-

RW: Forget it, I'll look it up. So let me ask you, when you hear such a great band rock out like that does it liberate you.

Lonely Girl: Oh my God, it sure does.

RW: Glad to hear it. What do you say we finish this interview over breakfast?

Once again I ended up with my drink accidentally spilled on me. These girls sure are clumsy. It must be because they were in the presence of such a big shot journalist.

Somehow I managed to stumble back to my hotel (or maybe I drove, beats the hell out of me). Later lounging by the pool with a bottle of bourbon between my legs, I spot the girl from the plane. I yelled something, I'm not sure what, and get this–she pretends she doesn't know me. Maybe it was because I had lost my shirt and one of my shoes in the liquor store after the show. Maybe it was because she knew deep down that I was too much man for her, you know what I mean.

Whatever the reason, I ended up alone, passed out with my head in my room and my legs in the hallway, a "Do Not Disturb" sign stuck to my face (glued there by a coating of vomit) and the room key in my underwear. I figured it was better to just leave the hotel via the back exit, by hopping over a wall onto the parking lot, I returned the rental car (Muggsy, expect a bill, buddy) and after making a dash through the Maui airport, Indo in my pocket and smelling like a brewery, I hoped on a plane back to Oahu. All the while trying to forget the horrible experience.

Well there you have it folks, that's as close as were every gonna come to a legitimate piece of music journalism.

More Live Reviews:

Van Halen
Bruce Dickinson


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