Concert goers were reminded that the pandemic is still very much a concern when Matt Cameron, drummer of Pearl Jam, contracted Covid which prevented him from attending last night’s concert in Oakland. And although the band could’ve rescheduled or canceled altogether, their love for the fans wouldn’t allow them to do it. After 7 years of not touring and two of postponing their Bay Area dates, the grungers insisted that the show go on.
And boy are we fortunate that they did. From kicking off the show with a Neil Young cover of “Keep on Rockin’ in the free world” to the 7 song encore to conclude the set, this was a performance for the ages.
Early into the show, the singer of Pearl Jam shared with the audience why Matt Cameron would not be able to attend that night. In true Eddie fashion, the iconic singer poetically gave homage to his bandmate’s talent while also wishing him a speedy recovery. He then took a swig from a wine bottle to begin the festivities. What followed was an array of Pearl Jam classics from these legends of grunge. “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” slowed things down a bit before heading into the powerful “Why Go,” a song that had everyone up on their feet.
The drum throne this evening was a musical chair of sorts with Josh Klinghoffer of Red Hot Chili Peppers playing on the first few songs, then tapping in Richard Stuverud, who took us through “Quick Escape” and “Superblood Wolfmoon.”
Klinghoffer and Stuverud would switch every few songs as Pearl Jam stuck to classic hits such as “Black,” “Daughter,” “Jeremy,” “Porch” and “Better Man.” Then towards the end of the night, a fan named Josh Arroyo got the change of a lifetime when he was picked from the audience to play drums on the last song of the night, “Yellow Ledbetter”. It was a touching moment and a true testament to how much this band genuinely cares about their fans.
Photos by Louis Raphael