Pearl Jam Rocks the Forum, Covers Foo Fighters in Emotional Taylor Hawkins Tribute (“He Lived His Life to the Fullest, We Just Want More of It”)


Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine
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There was a moment onstage at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles this past Saturday night, May 7, when Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder found himself at a loss for words.

His voice visibly cracking, the usually talkative Vedder was overcome with emotion while talking about the recent loss of a comrade, fellow rock and roll icon Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters. Taking a few minutes about halfway through the concert, notably after the song “Immortality,” Vedder took a few minutes to talk about some of his band’s friends and colleagues that were in attendance, including Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith (whose band also paid tribute to Hawkins recently at New Orleans Jazz Fest).

Vedder then changed his tone to discuss Hawkins, who passed away suddenly on March 25 at the age of just 50, ripping a void in the rock and roll scene that was expressed in a touching manner here by Vedder.

Raising a toast of his wine bottle to Hawkins, Vedder continued, “You know, it’s never easy when you lose someone. As you get older, you’ll notice it starts happening more and more. It’s just where you are in the timeline, where your friends are. But sometimes, like this, it’s so unexpected, but also it makes it harder because he was someone who truly, truly loved living life, on this planet.

“So I guess the one thing that makes this all right is that he never wasted a moment. He lived his life to the fullest, we just want more of it,” added Vedder, expressing love and support to Hawkins’ wife Alison and their children.

Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron then led the group in an unexpected cover of “Cold Day in the Sun,” a Foo Fighters song Hawkins wrote for 2005’s In Your Honor album and had become a staple of the band’s set list, with the drummer on lead vocals.

For the Pearl Jam cover, Cameron played guitar and sang lead while famed drummer Mark Guiliana manned the kit, Vedder and Chad Smith teaming up on tambourine in the back:

It was a moving tribute to a musical peer and colleague who will be — and already is — sorely missed by everyone, and highlighted a characteristically powerful set from Pearl Jam.

The show, part of a rescheduled tour in support of 2020’s Gigaton and delayed nearly three years since it was first announced due to the pandemic, leaned less heavily on that record than the other two gigs on the tour had up to that point (with three songs). Instead, Pearl Jam opted to play more “deep cuts” on the second night of a two-night run at the Forum.

After Vedder opened the show with an acoustic solo cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers,” which he did prior to an opening set from Josh Klinghoffer’s Pluralone solo project, Vedder handed a notepad to fans in the front general admission area; he asked them to write down some song requests as a means of thanking them for spending two consecutive days lined up outside the venue to get the closest possible spot for the shows.

Always a band propped up by the undying and singularly passionate adoration of its fan base, Pearl Jam has long been known for marathon concerts filled with “deep cut” songs, and thanks to this request list sheet, it led to songs like “Glorified G,” “Lukin” and “Unthought Known” making it into the gig, which was a nice surprise.

In full, Pearl Jam played 25 songs and nearly two hours of music, which for any act would be impressive — but it was decidedly shorter in track number than the sort of marathon gigs the band usually plays. Whether this was the result of easing into a full tour after an extended break (which would make a ton of sense) or the fact that Pearl Jam’s members are pushing 60 (which would also make sense), the band did play fewer songs than some fans may have expected.

However, this did not detract from the evening at all. Vedder and band mates Cameron, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Boom Gaspar and Klinghoffer were are their absolute best and most precise as they played songs from throughout their Rock Hall of Fame career, including the mesmerizing opener “Release,” the Yield standout “Low Light” and hits “Even Flow” and “Daughter,” not to mention an encore highlighted by classics including “Jeremy,” “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” “Better Man” and “Alive.”

Three years may have passed since Pearl Jam first announced the Gigaton tour. The world is a different place now than it was in 2019, for myriad reasons, but the band is just as much of a can’t-miss live act as ever, making even a big, sold-out arena feel like an intimate experience.

Catch a show on the rest of Pearl Jam’s tour … you won’t regret it.

The remaining dates of this North American tour, with more hopefully on the way in the future:

May 9 Glendale, AZ Gila River Arena
May 12 Oakland, CA Oakland Arena
May 13 Oakland, CA Oakland Arena
May 16 Fresno, CA Save Mart Arena
May 18 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
May 20 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena
September 1 Quebec City, QC Videotron Centre
September 3 Ottawa, ON Canadian Tire Centre
September 6 Hamilton, ON FirstOntario Centre
September 8 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
September 11 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
September 14 Camden, NJ Waterfront Music Pavilion
September 16 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
September 18 St. Louis, MO Enterprise Center
September 20 Oklahoma City, OK Paycom Center
September 22 Denver, CO Ball Arena

Pearl Jam’s set list, The Kia Forum May 7, 2022:

Release
Given to Fly
Do the Evolution
Low Light
Quick Escape
Take the Long Way
Even Flow
Seven O’Clock
Immortality
Cold Day in the Sun
(Foo Fighters cover)
Daughter
Unthought Known
Glorified G
Lukin
I Believe in Miracles (Ramones cover)
Garden
Mind Your Manners
Porch

Encore:

Better Man
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Jeremy
Leash
Alive
Indifference

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