What did we learn about Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder at Voodoo?




Pearl Jam capped off Voodoo Music and Arts Experience's first day with an energetic set, and it hit a lot of notes. Former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason introduced the band and watched the show from the side of the stage. At one point, Eddie Vedder called Gleason part of the band and credited him with composing the set list, which stretched over the band's career and back to its first album Ten. (Guitarist Mike McCready wore a "Defend Team Gleason" T-shirt.) Some of the bigger hits from the 1990s included "Jeremy" and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town." "Daughter."

Also dating back to the early 1990s, Vedder brought up his fond memories of being arrested in New Orleans, after an incident outside a French Quarter bar. Vedder polled the audience about how many people had been arrested in their lives and a lot of hands went up. Asked how many had been arrested in New Orleans, surprisingly few hands stayed up. Vedder then asked if anyone planned on getting arrested later in the evening, and he shared a phone number for anyone in need of bail money. He said the number belonged to fellow Seattle performer Macklemore.

The band has not been shy about supporting various causes. Vedder spoke out about BP and its 2010 Gulf disaster. He gave a shout-out to the Gulf Restoration Network and criticized the oil company for spending money on public relations campaigns that Vedder said should have been spent on restoring Gulf ecosystems and coastal communities.

In a more spontaneous recurring theme, Vedder looked out over the audience and spotted a man in a bunny suit. He claimed to be unfamiliar with furries, save for a Sonic Youth song he said he heard (one wonders if flannel is a gateway fabric). Vedder asked if the man was given to the fetish, and the bunny gave him two thumbs up, but maybe he just liked the shoutout. It's hard to believe Vedder gets all his information from Sonic Youth songs, but he was tickled by the idea and kept returning to it — at one point telling the bunny and the audience his hotel room number. During the band's encore, which included extended and jubilant jams of "Alive" and Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," the lucky rabbit came up onstage, along with a woman wearing a full unicorn head, and danced with Vedder and McCready. The crowd and Vedder loved it. Perhaps Vedder would like to meet Pierre the Pelican.

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