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Through "God Has a Hangover," Pearl Jam Shine at Tour Opener

June 12, 2008 12:08 PM ET

The persistent rain clouds in South Florida parted just in time for Pearl Jam to launch their twelve date US tour last night in West Palm Beach, FL. Playing for the first time since headlining last summer's Lollapalooza festival, Pearl Jam showed no signs of rust other than a mistimed start to the opening "Oceans." The band quickly recovered to rock out "Severed Hand," "Save You" and "God's Dice" in short order.

Click here for more live photos of Pearl Jam's tour kickoff show in West Palm Beach.

Playing with fiery intensity Pearl Jam nailed hard hitting classics such as "Dissident" and "Even Flow" midway through the night. Long unbound from playing only commercial material, Pearl Jam plucked deep cuts such as "Sad" and "Faithful" from their extensive catalogue and knocked out old favorites "Glorified G," "Do the Evolution" and "Why Go" for a thundering close to the opening set.

Pearl Jam carried the momentum into the first encore with a lean "Inside Job" and a lengthy jam session on "Rearviewmirror." Eddie Vedder then embarked on a short solo stint and quipped that "we were looking forward to the sunshine of Florida, but instead it has pissed on us like god has a hangover." The remark prompted a mini cover of the Tom Waits classic "Rains on Me" before Vedder induced the crowd to sing along on his anti-war number "No More," from the Body of War soundtrack.

The sweat-soaked band returned in full to cap the evening with "Alive" and the staple closer "Yellow Ledbetter." The members of Pearl Jam stood patriotically by as guitarist Mike McCready tagged the Hendrix inspired "Star-Spangled Banner" to the end of "Ledbetter" and the crowd reveled in his brilliance. Pearl Jam plays again tonight in Tampa, FL before headlining this weekend's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, so stay tuned to Rock Daily all weekend for coverage of Bonnaroo and more Pearl Jam.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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