For the first time in the short history of the Ohana Festival, a second weekend was added. Centered around two days of eclectic acts, the festival’s curator Eddie Vedder rebooked his band Pearl Jam to headline both nights of what would be referred to as the Ohana Encore on October 1st and 2nd. Compared to the previous weekends 3 day fest, this 2 day version offered scaled back lineups with the focus of the weekend firmly set on Vedder’s iconic band. Set against the backdrop of one of the world’s most iconic surf beaches, Doheny State Park once again challenges any festival worldwide for best overall location and vibe.
Friday October 1st Highlights:
Ohana Stage: Pearl Jam | Beck | White Reaper | ZZ Ward
Tiki Stage: Lord Huron | Pluralone | St. Panther | Vanillaroma
Although the calendar had just freshly been turned to October, a sunny and warm 90 degree day greeted fans to the beach for what would be a chill day with 8 bands across two alternating stages. For roughly 8 hours the music was non stop, culminating with a two hour set from the weekend’s headliner—Pearl Jam.
Early in the afternoon sets from singer-songwriter ZZ Ward and ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (performing as a one man band called Pluralone) helped kickstart the afternoon session. Pluralone offered their Tiki Stage viewers an early surprise as Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament came out to jam with Klinghoffer.
Lord Huron took a break from their headlining tour to cap off the afternoon on the Tiki Stage with a bang. The Los Angeles-based indie band drew an immense crowd to the side stage, their fusion of folk and rock & roll even offers up a nice beach rock vibe from time to time. Lead singer Ben Schneider is a true showman and commanded the stage with a confident and fun loving vibe. Their nine song set ended too early for many in attendance with “The Night We Met”.
Beck hit the stage shortly after 6pm, taking advantage of the sunset time slot and the singer-songwriter performed the first two songs solo and acoustically. With 14 albums behind him, Beck has no issues filling up a setlist. His career spanning 16 song set included everyone’s favorite jams–“Devil’s Haircut”, “The New Pollution” and “Loser”. This was Beck’s second time playing Vedder’s Ohana Festival, the two have developed a clear admiration for one another as Beck came back Saturday evening just to watch Pearl Jam play. He finished up strong with rousing renditions of “Where’s It’s At” and “E-Pro”, nicely setting the stage for the Vedder and Company. Vedder later stated this set “was one of his favorite performances ever”.
One thing that you could be sure of is that each of the 3 Pearl Jam shows at Ohana (one the weekend before and these two at the Ohana Encore) would not be carbon copies of one another. Many songs off their latest release, Gigaton (which was released just two weeks into COVID lockdown on March 27, 2020) had yet to be played live–so these past few shows have offered live debuts for a handful of them…specifically “Buckle Up” and “Whoever Said”. “Even Flow” was a wild ride, with a lengthy solo by guitarist Mike McCready. They dusted off “Sweet Lew”, a tribute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and sung by bassist Jeff Ament…a song that they had not played live since 2010 and introduced as the “2nd worst PJ song ever” by Vedder.
To no surprise, the band’s early hits such as “Better Man” and “Rearviewmirror” resonated loudly with the packed crowd. Vedder made sure to thank the Surfrider Foundation for their tireless efforts in preserving the coastline and for being a key sponsor of the festival. In addition to the Bob Dylan cover of “All Along The Watchtower”, the encore included killer versions of “Why Go” and “Alive” culminating with another fan favorite “Yellow Leadbetter”.
Saturday October 2nd Highlights:
Ohana Stage: Pearl Jam | Brandi Carlile | Sleater-Kinney | NHC (Navarro Hawkins Chaney)
Tiki Stage: Margo Price | Amythyst Kiah | Joe Wong + Nite Creatures | Naked Giants
Another warm beach day welcomed fans back for day 2, which promised another packed schedule of acts. Early highlights from day 2 included Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron sitting in on drums on Joe Wong + Nite Creatures set and the much anticipated live debut of NHC—the supergroup that includes guitarist Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), drummer and vocalist Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) and bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction). A wild and explosive 8 song set in the bright sunlight started with new songs “Lazy Eyes” and “Feed The Cruel”. Hawkins shared with the crowd that he learned to surf at Doheny, right behind the grandstands that lined the beach. As ad additional surprise, veteran guitarist and fellow Foo Fighter Pat Smear accompanied the band and provided additional rhythm guitar.
Hawkins had double duty as took responsibility for both vocals and drumming on select songs. He enlisted Matt Cameron from Pearl Jam to help with a fun version of “Keep Yourself Alive”, a cover of the Queen classic song. For the finale he brought out Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to drum on “My Friends”, an appropriate RHCP cover.
The rest of the afternoon and early evening was definitely ruled by the women. Amythyst Kiah brought a soulful sound to the Tiki Stage, not to mention a cover of Moby’s “Natural Blues” while indie veterans Sleater-Kinney rocked the main stage. The Washington-based duo of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein put on a clinic as they tore through their nine song set that included “A New Wave” and “Modern Girl”. Nashville’s Margo Price closed out the Tiki Stage with a bit of country and a little bit of rock & roll on “Heartless Mind” and “A Little Pain”.
With the crowd getting primed and ready for the return of Pearl Jam, Brandi Carlile more than provided a proper warm up as she threw together a fun 60 minute set that included many of her hits as well as closing with a trio of covers that included Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” and a fun version of Elton John’s classic “Rocket Man” were both crowd favorites.
The veteran Seattle genre-bending artist was a ball of energy and was (other than Pearl Jam) the only repeat performer from weekend one. On the set closer, Pearl Jam members Mike McCready and Matt Cameron made a surprise appearance and lent their talents on the Soundgarden cover “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”.
The stage was now set for the final act of the Encore weekend. Another eclectic setlist was created by Vedder that made sure to highlight new tunes, rarely played songs and fan-friendly mega hits. They opened Saturday night with “Superblood Wolfmoon”, the second single off their latest release Gigaton. Vedder took time in between songs to address the crowd. Per usual he was articulate and sincere—at times overly thankful. Before “Corduroy”, he mentioned that he was “fueled by the breeze off the ocean”. He later shared the stage with Brandi Carlile, performing her song “Again Today” before a four song encore that would close out the weekend.
“Alive” was thunderous as usual, leading perfectly into the night’s final song—Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World”. Any performer that was left at Doheny joined him on stage, including Brandi Carlile, Taylor Hawkins, Chad Smith, Patti Smyth, Sleater-Kinney as well as world championship surfer Kelly Slater.
It was clear that this year’s two weeks of Ohana was extremely therapeutic for Vedder—assuring him that after almost 20 months of no shows the communal nature of festivals is still viable. As Ohana continues to evolve and grow we can’t help but be giddy about the lineup announcement for the 2022 version.
Ohana Encore Photo Galleries