December 4, 2005

Rock veterans Pearl Jam rock Brazil

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Blasting away despite heavy
rains and municipal restrictions, veteran rockers Pearl Jam
delighted tens of thousands of fans in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on
their first tour of Latin America.

In two outdoor shows on Friday and Saturday night in the
Pacaembu football stadium, the Seattle-based band treated fans
to favorites such as "Alive," " Even Flow" and "Black" in a
two-hour set.

"We've got clouds and rain, just like in Seattle ... but
Sao Paulo is better," frontman Eddie Vedder told the crowd in
halting Portuguese as rain fell on the 40,000-strong crowd on
Friday night.

The Sao Paulo shows went ahead after lengthy negotiations
with city authorities, who agreed to lift a suspension on
concerts at the stadium imposed after residents of the posh
neighborhood had complained about the noise.

Mayor Jose Serra set the condition that the Pearl Jam show
should finish at 9.45 p.m. and special security measures should
be laid on.

A squad of mounted police was deployed outside the venue on
Friday night when a crowd of people who did not have tickets
threatened to rush the entrance. But there were no other major
security incidents.

Language also appeared to be no problem. The crowd, many
wearing plastic capes against the rain, sang along in English
to the songs while Vedder drew appreciative cheers as he spoke
in Portuguese.

"Over the years, we've always been impressed by the
Brazilian flags at our shows ... it's fantastic to finally play
for all Brazilians," Vedder said.

Among the highlights was a version of "Man of the Hour"
dedicated to Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, who died last year.

Pearl Jam band emerged from the grunge scene in Seattle in
the 1990s and although they tour constantly, this is their
first Latin American tour. It started on November 22 in
Santiago, Chile, took in Argentina and Brazil, and finishes in
Mexico City next Saturday.