The weather held and the Innings Festival in downtown Tempe rocked on

Headliner Eddie Vedder closed out the festival after weekend performances by Green Day, Weezer, The Black Crowes, Marcus Mumford and others


Northeast Valley News

Innings Festival Headliner, Eddie Vedder

The Innings Festival 2023 returned to Tempe over the weekend showcasing some of the classic alternative rock icons of the 90’s. Green Day, Weezer, The Black Crowes, Marcus Mumford, The Offspring and many others performed but the clear headliner was—Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.

Not only were the music stars out, but many professional baseball players were spotted over the weekend such as hall of fame Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson and former MLB pitcher Jake Peavy.

While waiting for musical sets, baseball enthusiasts worked on their swing in the batting cage and the pitching cage was rotating non-stop with some people topping 85mph.

Longtime Diamondbacks fan, Evan Turner, a Phoenix resident, told Northeast Valley News that he was thrilled all weekend with the amazing combo of baseball and rock music.

“Randy Johnson was my favorite baseball player growing up,” Turner said. “He’s brought so much happiness to the state and seeing him here is a dream come true in itself.”

While there was undoubtedly a local crowd for Randy Johnson the bands and musical artists at the festival were certainly not overshadowed by professional sports players.

“I listened to Green Day for most of my high school and college years,” said Mesa resident Michael Daugherty. “I don’t get to go to many concerts and I’ve always wanted to see them perform live—now I’m able to.”

The sets pretty much lived up to what fans expected and the crowds were steady all weekend despite a few chilly and light rain weather spells.

Paris Jackson (daughter of music legend Michael Jackson) offered a folksy, Nirvana inspired set that was well received even though she had to overcome multiple technical difficulties.

Evelyn Rose, a Scottsdale resident of 30 years, specifically came to see Jackson.

“Michael was a true music icon. I’ve seen him perform live with my husband two times before he passed,” Stone said. “Me and Rob (husband) wanted to see if Paris could bring back any of the great memories her father gave to us when we were younger.”

Glimmers of the late Michael Jackson were indeed alive in his daughter Paris as some of her father’s voice riffs resonated as well as her resemblance to her dad but the crowd connected to Paris’s own style.

Marcus Mumford brought out a bunch of classics that included, “I Will Wait” and “Awake My Soul” songs that instantly stirred the crowd to shift to the front of the stage.

Although the festival was sold out both days, straggler concert goers showed up to see some of their favorite “old” musicians throughout the weekend.

Ezekiel Ross and his wife Lisa, rented a boat in nearby Tempe Town Lake in order to enjoy the festival music with some peace and away from the crowds…their favorite—headliner, Eddie Vedder.

“My wife wanted some space away from people to listen to Eddie Vedder so we got a donut boat for an hour,” Ross said.

And Vedder didn’t disappoint the couple.

The Innings Festival would not have been as successful if not for some of Vedder’s most powerful and seminal Pearl Jam mantras like, “Porch,” “Betterman,” and even “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.”

But Vedder also has, and clearly revels in the freedom to dive into his solo efforts, in particular, the Sean Penn movie soundtrack for “Into the Wild,” or even covering his long lost friend, Tom Petty.

But the highlight near the end of Vedder’s set was the most fitting tribute to, and recollection of, the epic U2 concert that happened just across the street at Sun Devil Stadium in 1987 where the band from Ireland concluded the “Joshua Tree Tour.”

Vedder was there.

When Vedder spun off into “In God’s Country,” he connected the dots of his own journey as a flat broke, young, aspiring singer song-writer— to the Rock n Roll Hall of Famer that he is today.

The last night and the final set of the Innings Festival was all Vedder, as he got to showcase the master story-teller that he is today and near the place where he first experienced a life changing little band called U2—those in attendance were lucky enough to enjoy Vedder’s recollections on a chilly night in downtown Tempe.