Until last night, drummer Matt Cameron had never missed a Pearl Jam gig since joining the band 24 years ago. But Cameron had to skip Thursday’s PJ show in Oakland after testing positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by a rotating cast of stand-ins. As Blabbermouth points out, the show at Oakland Arena started with touring PJ member and former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer behind the kit for a few songs. Longtime collaborator of bassist Jeff Ament, Richard Stuverud, performed drum duties for most of the show. And for their last song, the band handed the drumsticks to a fan.
Wearing a T-shirt with the names of Pearl Jam members, a guy named Josh Arroyo got a chance to keep the beat going for PJ as they wrapped up their encore with their Hendrix-y ballad “Yellow Ledbetter.” Eddie Vedder even gassed him beforehand, telling him he should add Arroyo to the list of names on his shirt. (Notably, Josh isn’t the first Arroyo to sit with the band; pro baseball player Bronson Arroyo once played “Black” with them at Fenway Park in Boston.)
“Matt Cameron is a true artist and a force of nature,” Eddie Vedder reportedly told the crowd. “However, even his superhero status couldn’t stop him from testing positive. That fucking COVID thing yesterday. We’ve been hustling for 24 hours because after 25 months of… We had to be there 25 months ago. We waited and we waited. Postponing was not an option and neither was canceling for us. We didn’t want to pull the plug and we couldn’t pull the plug. We have our band here, we have our gear here and more importantly you are here so lucky for us we have friends, and one of our friends has already been part of our team on this tour – the multi-instrumentalist at multi-talented and multifaceted who currently plays behind the drums, Mr. Josh Klinghoffer. Like the Shohei Ohtani of rock ‘n’ roll. Let the shit hit the fan and hope it’s good shit.
Below, check out footage of Arroyo performing “Yellow Ledbetter” with Pearl Jam along with a few other tracks from the show, including the required covers of “Rockin’ In The Free World” and “Baba O’Riley.”
“The Needle And The Damage Done” (Neil Young cover) (Eddie Vedder solo)
“I Won’t Back Down” (Tom Petty cover) (Eddie Vedder solo)
“Rockin’ In The Free World” (Neil Young cover)
“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”
“Super Bloody Wolf Moon”
“Given to Steal”
“Not For You” (with Sleater-Kinney’s “Modern Girl” as outro)
“You Must Hide Your Love” (Beatles cover)
“Baba O’Riley” (cover of The Who)