On Thursday night, Pearl Jam took the stage for a rousing three-hour set at Oakland Arena in Oakland, California. However, this cast of Pearl Jam had never been seen before. That’s because longtime drummer Matt Cameron missed his first show since ascending the throne in 1998.
In Cameron’s place, touring guitarist and former Red Hot Chili Peppers member Josh Klinghoffer stepped behind the kit for a number of songs, while Richard Stuverud, Seattle drummer and frequent collaborator with bassist Jeff Ament, played the remainder of the concert. Though they had some pros holding down the kit, Pearl Jam also enlisted a fan named Josh Arroyo to fill in for the show’s final song, “Yellow Ledbetter.”
The show began with Eddie Vedder taking the stage solo to perform two covers, Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” and Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Only the fifth concert on the band’s “Gigaton” tour, Pearl Jam debuted a slew of classic songs including “Animal” and their covers of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” during this current tour Thursday night. . ‘ by The Beatles, ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ by Neil Young and ‘Baba O’Riley’ by The Who.
“Matt Cameron is a true artist and a force of nature,” Eddie Vedder once told the crowd. “However, even his superhero status couldn’t stop him from testing positive. That damn COVID thing yesterday. We crawled around for 24 hours because after 25 months… We should have been here 25 months ago. We’ve waited and we’ve waited. Postponing was not an option and it wasn’t a rejection for us either.”
“We didn’t want to pull the plug and we couldn’t pull the plug,” Vedder continued. “We have our group here, we have our gear here and, most importantly, you are here. So luckily for us we have some friends, and one of our friends was already on our team on this tour – the multi-talented, multi-faceted multi-instrumentalist currently playing behind the drums, Mr. Josh Klinghoffer. “
Vedder even got a solid baseball reference, giving Klinghoffer props for “being like rock ‘n’ roll’s shohei Ohtani.” Let’s bang the shit on the fan and hopefully it’s some good shit.”
Check out Klinghoffer playing the kit on “Rockin’ in the Free World,” Stuverud taking the throne for “Baba O’Riley,” and Arroyo ringing out “Yellow Ledbetter” below.