Pearl Jam Signs On For Who Benefit Show

Pearl Jam will play its first show of the year Monday (Sept. 23), opening for the Who at Chicago's House of Blues.

Pearl Jam will play its first show of the year Monday (Sept. 23), opening for the Who at Chicago's House of Blues. As previously reported, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was originally announced to open the show with his occasional backing band C-Average. The event will raise funds for Maryville Academy, which aids disadvantaged youth in and around Illinois. Vedder and C-Average opened a similar benefit for the Who at the same venue in November 1999.

In an unusual twist, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard is not expected to appear at the show due to a prior commitment with the environmental organization Conservation International. Instead, the band will be joined by Boom, a friend of Vedder's who plays keyboards on the majority of Pearl Jam's upcoming Epic album "Riot Act." The altered lineup should prove especially interesting on "Riot Act" material, the bulk of which has yet to be performed live.

"I think Boom's going to be there because Stone can't," Vedder tells Billboard.com. "We'll have Boom fill in for him on his side of the stage, and we'll just kind of wing it. I brought my ukulele so I might do a version of [new album opener] 'Can't Keep' or something."

For the Who, the event comes three shows prior to the Sept. 28 close of its North American tour, which pressed on despite the June 28 death of founding bassist John Entwistle. As previously reported, the Who is offering soundboard-sourced live recordings of shows from the trek via guitarist Pete Townshend's Eelpie.com site and new community/comerce site TheMusic.com.