Growing up is never easy, growing old even more so. For bands it seems to be something of a challenge. It’s understandable, you invariably produce your best work at the start of your career and – if you achieve any sort of longevity – it’s that period that comes to define you as the quality of your output starts to decline. For the artist those records are just part of the story but for the audience they are frozen in time, either heavy with nostalgia for the original listener or fresh and vital for newcomers.

Either way, it’s what the people want. A few manage to buck the trend – of the current crop of stadium artists you could perhaps argue for Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters, Coldplay and (most staggeringly) the Rolling Stones. Green Day and U2 (twice) managed to stop the slide with landmark releases but they too have succumbed to what awaits most of their peers – the need to make peace with the past. Dress it up anyway you want – the classic album celebration is a smart move – nostalgia is dominant.

Pearl Jam, however, haven’t given up just yet. In the fourteen years (to the day) since they last played here, they’ve released just three albums – two of which kept them as a going concern, the latest Dark Matter sitting quite comfortably towards the top of their output. It can’t help but keep them fresh as a live act you feel, able to populate a quarter of the set with new songs. They sound great too, especially ‘Wreckage’ and ‘Upper Hand’, and it’s testament to the record’s strengths that you regret missing the opportunity to hear ‘Waiting For Stevie’ or ‘Won’t Tell’. It’s the other telling thing about the Pearl Jam live experience, for a big band they’re awfully light on their feet set list wise.

This is the 13th show on the tour (and the first outside of the US) but they’ve already racked up a hundred different songs – no wonder then that Eddie Vedder appears to bring a file of lyrics onstage with him. It would have been easy for them to simply trot out a greatest hits set or ‘revisit those classic albums’ – it might even have shifted a few more of those terribly expensive tickets – but instead you genuinely don’t know what you’re going to get. Every moment before a song starts gathers a sense of anticipation that erupts as a recognisable riff emerges.

They ease into the early evening with a meandering ‘Release’ and understated versions of ‘Low Light’ and ‘Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town’ before ‘Corduroy’ provides the first explosive moment of the show. It strikes you how rare it is to see a straightforward rock band play at this level. There are no bells and whistles production wise, leaving them free to play the songs in much the same way as they would have done in clubs thirty years ago.

Mike McCready in particular is a whirl of energy and perhaps the musical heart of the band, pacing the stage in his Thin Lizzy t-shirt and soloing with gusto at every apparent opportunity. Vedder isn’t quite the life force of yore, replacing the old manic intensity with a slightly rambling charm. The noise that the five of them (plus two half hidden musicians) make together is still a wonder to behold.

Yet it’s the smaller moments that make this such a memorable night. Every artist who visits will tell us how much they love Ireland, not many will regale us with a story about meeting Glen Hansard’s mum, introduce their Dubliner tour manager or recall stealing Van Morrison’s booze at Slane in 1993 to replace what Shane McGowan took from their own dressing room. The singer tells an eleven-year-old celebrating his birthday that the show is about young men becoming the best version of themselves, then references the day’s marches in support of Natasha O’Brien – the snippet of Fugazi’s anti-sexual harassment song ‘Suggestion’ that they drop into ‘Daughter’ carrying extra weight.

‘Black’ is emotional at the best of times, even more so when dedicated to teenage fan Amelia Ferguson who had recently passed away. A fast approaching curfew means Vedder’s encore solo set is cut to one song, but the dedication of Warren Zevon’s ‘Keep Me In Your Heart’ to Shane and Sinead is lovely. Bands this big aren’t supposed to care this much.

So, yes, we do get the songs you might expect but so much more. There’s a lot of large scale outdoor shows happening here over the summer – and something surely has to give in that regard – but it’s hard to see anything matching this. Whether Pearl Jam will pass this way again remains to be seen – unless they have something to say and new songs to sing. On this evidence however, they’re far from done.