Rock band Pearl Jam returns to stage after three years, debuts six new songs


WASHIGNTON: American rock band Pearl Jam’s first live show in more than three years was an eventful one on Saturday, as the group debuted six songs from its 2020 album ‘Gigaton’ and welcomed a new touring member Josh Klinghoffer into the fold.

According to Variety, Pearl Jam opened the 20-song set with three new songs in a row, ‘Dance of the Clairvoyants’, ‘Quick Escape’ and ‘Seven O’Clock’. Klinghoffer’s presence was quickly felt, as he contributed guitar and backing vocals throughout.

The best of the rest was ‘Never Destination’, a spritely rocker that served as a great segue into the classic ‘Even Flow’. Drummer Matt Cameron’s ‘Take the Long Way’ and the surging, Vedder-penned ‘Superblood Wolfmoon’ were also played for the first time.

Singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen was the subject of rumours that he’d make a surprise appearance during the set. Though the man himself did not appear, his music and Asbury Park legacy were saluted by Vedder with a cover of the Boss’ Asbury tribute ‘My City of Ruins’, featuring a four-piece choir.

Producer and noted rock photographer Danny Clinch guested with the band on harmonica during ‘Red Mosquito’. Clinch has worked closely with Pearl Jam and Springsteen over the years.

In a set with so much new material, Pearl Jam didn’t skimp on the hits, with the late first-set run of ‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’, ‘Given to Fly’, ‘State of Love and Trust’, ‘Better Man’ and ‘Porch’ summoning vintage rock ‘n’ roll energy.

To close the show, Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye joined Pearl Jam for Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’.

“We’re so glad you made it,” Vedder told the 30,000-strong audience, most of whom had purchased tickets to see the festival as originally planned to take place a year ago. He said, “We’re happy we could make it and I think we’re all gonna make it together.”

As for Klinghoffer, he replaced guitarist John Frusciante in Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009 but was himself replaced by Frusciante when the latter reclaimed his job in 2019.

Since then, he’s moved into the Pearl Jam orbit by performing at guitarist Mike McCready’s Peak to Sky festival in Montana and contributing to frontman Eddie Vedder’s forthcoming solo album, ‘Earthling’.

According to Fox News, as previously reported, Pearl Jam will be back in action the next two weekends at Vedder’s Ohana festival in Dana Point, California.