Diary of a Pearl Jam fan
Read excerpts from the diary of a Pearl Jam fan who saw every show on the group's 2005 Canadian tour
Jason Leung, Stefan Klopp, and Tak Hayashi are three Vancouver residents who decided to hit every show on Pearl Jam’s Canadian tour last fall. They bought a gray 1989 Dodge cargo van for $3,000, posted an announcement on the fan club’s Message Pit, and, along with a rotating cast of riders and hitchhikers, spent three weeks on the road, not missing a performance. Along the way, they filmed a documentary called Touring Van 2005, and are already planning to rescue the van — currently abandoned in Newfoundland — and head back out for the 2006 tour. Here’s an excerpt from Hayashi’s tour diary; more stories can be found at www.touringvan.com. — Whitney Pastorek
Sept 1st/The Gorge
Warm up show for us and the band. Got to the venue and was like holy f—! It was so beautiful. The Columbia River in the background, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The show was three and half hours long and included an acoustic set and an electric set, similar to the Mansfield 03 show. Amazing!
Hometown show, lots of family and friends in town. My brother flew in from Tokyo. Jason and I went around the city filming the nice parts of Vancouver for our documentary before picking up Stefan and Lester.
Sept 3rd/Day Off (Van to Calgary)
We stopped off at a place in Chilliwack, just outside Vancouver. There is a road there called Vedder Road and we took some pictures.
After the show, Dirk was in a rush to get to Winnipeg because it was his hometown, so we decided on driving all night, which was a huge mistake. First, we ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere at 1:30am. Some fans driving saw us pushing the van and got us gas, and we resumed our drive. Jason was driving. The rule was the person in the passenger seat had to stay awake and accompany the driver so he wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel. The guy in the passenger seat was Dirk, and he fell asleep, as did Jason, who put us in a ditch. Everyone was ok, and we called a tow truck to come get us out. 30 minutes later, we hear a boom! The back tire blew. We finally arrived in Winnipeg in the wee hours. At this point I was really considering going home.
Sept 10th/Day Off (Thunder Bay to Kitchener)
Picked up a hitchhiker named Paul. Turns out this guy went to the same high school as me. We camped out that night.
The vibe in the parking lot is crazy. All these Americans tailgating in the parking lot, felt like a pre-party to an NFL game. Maryland, Texas, Massachusetts license plates. Brought out the hockey sticks and showed the Americans the Canadian version of tailgating.
Sept 14th/Day Off (Ottawa)
Finally a day off from concerts. We stopped at the liquor store, stocked up on the booze. Everyone started to call me ”Ice-Man” at this point. Long story.
Got a backstage pass and met the crew and management and everyone else behind the scenes. All the guys were jealous.
Spent the day surfing with Jason and Stefan at Martinque Beach. The town is in great spirits for the show tonight. Everyone is so stoked. They’ve never had a band this big play here.
Sept 24th/St. John’s (My B-Day)
Met Jeff Ament, he signed our van and chatted with us. Everything here is beautiful. Great way to celebrate my b-day, Saturday night in St. John’s, hot girls everywhere, the best band in the world is here, what more could I ask for??
Sept 25th/St. John’s
Last day of the tour. Sad day. Unloaded and started to clean out the van. Ran into Mike McCready at the hotel. He and his wife wanted to see the van.
Everyone in the PJ community is talking about us — we couldn’t have done this if it weren’t for them. This video will be dedicated to all of the people who we met on the road and at the shows, everyone who helped us out, hung out and traveled with us, gave us beer, gave us food and gas. It was truly the greatest three weeks of my life.