It began with Justin Morneau (your 2014 National League batting champ) finding his seat as frontman Eddie Vedder said "Welcome to the last night of our tour" as Pearl Jam settled into the euphorically mellow "Release," which is where the group's 10-million-selling 1991 debut Ten concluded.
Vedder (who truly gets a workout jumping around during Pearl Jam shows) did a great job celebrating Pearl Jam's 24th birthday by celebrating devoted fans ("Thanks for being the wave; we rode the wave"), the rock icons he loved growing up (Tom Petty, Ian Mackaye, etc.) and his band mates.
Basically, it was a love-fest set to music that's no longer stylistically fresh. But, as the sublime crests of charging rockers like "Porch" and "State of Love and Trust" prove, it remarkably maintains an energy that's not only vital but uplifting and authentic.
"We didn't realize until a few days ago," the outgoing Vedder told the arena audience at one point, "but our first show was 24 years ago today. October 22  we played our first show; October 23, we went into the studio and recorded eight songs; October 24, I went back to work in the gas station in San Diego; and October 25 I put in my 30-day notice. Sometimes there's no better feeling than saying you're never going back again."
With that, Pearl Jam launched into "Life Wasted" (with its "I'm never going back again" chorus) from its eponymous 2006 album. "Life Wasted" was part of a nine-song second encore that found Vedder, passing the microphone around along with a bottle of wine, deep in the crowd during the Who's "Baba O'Riley."
Speaking of wine, Vedder drank at least two bottles of it onstage last night, at least once falling drunkenly mid-song. He giddily popped the aforementioned champagne well before the show's true closer, the "Little Wing"-esque Pearl Jam classic "Yellow Ledbetter" had ended. His fixation with wine did produce a few highlights at the Pepsi Center, including the soon-to-be-50-year-old singer's vow to send a bottle up to "that guy in the white t-shirt, in the very last row." Vedder asked the far-away man to pour wine all over his shirt so we'd all know the bottle made its way to him; apparently it did not.