Eddie Vedder Performs First Shows Since Chris Cornell’s Passing, Offers Subtle Tributes
While dozens of artists have spoken out or performed tributes to Chris Cornell since his death by suicide two weeks ago, one who has been noticeably absent in expressing his grief publicly is Eddie Vedder, who missed Cornell's memorial service on Friday. Over the weekend though, he kicked off a European solo tour with a pair of shows in Amsterdam and included subtle tributes to a singer who many considered to be a mentor to the Pearl Jam frontman, having given him a spotlight in Temple of the Dog.
While not mentioning Cornell by name on Saturday (May 27), Vedder began the gig with the Pearl Jam song "Long Road" and adjusted the line, “But still / Something is missing” to “Without you / Something is missing.” He also performed for the first time the Fugazi song "I'm So Tired," which is widely regarded to be about suicide with the lyrics, "No more struggle / No more energy / No more patience / You can write that down / It's all too crazy / I'm not sticking round."
Elsewhere in the set, Vedder took on the melancholy Cat Stevens song "Trouble," Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done" and John Lennon's "Imagine," a song frequently covered by Cornell which Vedder hadn't done live in more than three years.
At one point, an audience member yelled out "I love you!" which led Vedder to reply, "Thank you. I need it. We all need it. I’m thinking of a lot of people tonight. And some in particular and their families. And I just know that healing takes time if it ever happens. It takes time, and that means you have to start somewhere. So let it be music. Let it be love and togetherness. And let it be Amsterdam."
The second of three Amsterdam shows took place last night (May 29) and was, by all accounts, just as subtle a tribute. A particularly poignant string of successive Pearl Jam songs began with "Man of the Hour," followed by "Unthought Known," "Parting Ways" and "Off He Goes."
Vedder and Cornell first met in 1990 in Seattle when the latter was putting together the Temple of the Dog album to pay homage to Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, who had died after a heroin overdose that March. Vedder was in town to audition for a new band featuring Wood's former bandmates Stone Gossard (guitar) and Jeff Ament (bass) along with Mike McCready (guitar). The three were working with Soundgarden's Cornell and Matt Cameron (drums) on the Temple of the Dog record, and while composing "Hunger Strike," Vedder provided the low-end vocals for the track.
Watch highlights from Vedder's Saturday night gig above.
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