On Friday night, I had the best time I’ve ever had at Fenway Park. Not a single pitch was thrown. Not a single ball went over the Green Monster.

I was there to see Pearl Jam play the first of two shows at Fenway. It brought together two of the simple joys of my life. My favorite band, my favorite ballpark, and the mash-up of happy memories of both. The three-hour show created new memories of both.

Pearl Jam is the soundtrack of my adult life. The band’s first album, “Ten,” was released when I was 19. For the last 25 years, their music has entertained and inspired me. It was there as I went through college. It was there as I started my first real job and questioned my career path, floating aimlessly through my mid-20s looking to work a job that provided just enough hours for me to slack off and go snowboarding. Pearl Jam’s songs are the background to many of my road trips. So much has changed in my life in the last 25 years, but Pearl Jam is one constant. Fenway Park is another.

As the band matured out of its early angst-filled years, so did I. In my late-20s, as I became more serious about writing, Pearl Jam’s sound shifted, too. They became more confident. Their most recent album, 2013’s “Lightning Bolt,” is a celebration of life.

That attitude permeated Friday’s concert. For me, the show was a love letter to music and baseball.

My first trip to Fenway Park was for a game against the Baltimore Orioles when I was 4, and I’ve seen dozens of games there since. I was there for Derek Lowe’s no-hitter on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in April.


I saw Reggie Jackson strike out three times in a game. At that point he was playing for the California Angels, no longer a hated New York Yankee, but it still counts. A K is a K, no matter the uniform.

I saw Trot Nixon forget how many outs there were and tossd the ball to a fan after catching the second out of an inning. In the ultimate of random memories, a Todd Benzinger grand slam stands out.

A weekend series against the Chicago White Sox in 1979 when they wore those awful collared jerseys. A weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers in 1986, sitting next to Pesky’s Pole, with an up close view of Dwight Evans showing the world how right field should be played.

Pearl Jam acknowledged the history of the ballpark numerous times throughout the show. Lead singer Eddie Vedder said it was a thrill to be performing on a stage in center field, where Fred Lynn patrolled during his youth. The band dedicated the song “Faithful” to David Ortiz, and as they played, I thought of all the moments Big Papi has given fans in this ballpark. Clutch home runs. Inspiring, heartfelt words after the Patriots Day bombing. “This is our — city.” We’re faithful. We all believe.

Former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo came out to play guitar with the band on the song “Black,” and I thought of the 2004 team that won Boston’s first World Series title in 86 years. I thought of Alex Rodriguez slapping the ball from Arroyo’s glove in the American League Championship Series, and how it’s become the enduring symbol of the Yankees’ beautiful playoff collapse.

Kevin Youkilis appeared onstage to deliver a ukulele to Vedder, and I thought of the 2007 World Series winning team. When the band invited longtime fan Peter Gammons on stage, I thought of how he revolutionized baseball writing, and in doing so, helped inspire my career.


The Red Sox and Pearl Jam have been important pieces of my life, Each has provided so many wonderful memories. Each has been support when I needed it. Now they’re intertwined, and for that, I am grateful and thankful.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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