Pearl Jam welcomed a host of famous musical friends on stage last night (Oct. 28) in Santa Barbara, Calif., at a benefit for the Louis Warschaw Prostate Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The group was joined by its former drummer Jack Irons, singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, veteran guitarist Lyle Workman, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, and Soundgarden/Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell for a rare reunion of the pre-Pearl Jam combo Temple Of The Dog.
“We didn’t invite any of the sh***y friends,” Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder joked during the first portion of the show, which featured acoustic renditions of the Ramones’ “I Believe in Miracles” alongside the group’s own “Immortality,” the unreleased “Fatal” and the new song “Man of the Hour.”
After Workman’s appearance on Johnny Cash’s “25 Minutes To Go,” Pearl Jam ditched the unplugged format. Irons took over the drum kit for “In My Tree” and “Hail, Hail,” two older songs clearly influenced by his style. Johnson dueted with Vedder on the whimsical “Soon Forget” and then remained on stage for “Better Man.”
But the biggest surprise came in the form of Cornell, who was first granted a two-song solo acoustic set of “Can’t Change Me” and Audioslave’s “Like a Stone.” He proceeded to reprise his duet with Vedder on Temple Of The Dog’s “Hunger Strike” and a nearly 10-minute version of the group’s “Reach Down.”
Frusciante plugged in for encore runs through the Ramones’ “Daytime Dilemma” and another stab at “I Believe in Miracles.” The entire cadre of guests returned for a show-closing, six-guitar collaboration on the Byrds’ “So You Wanna Be a Rock’n’Roll Star.”
All of the additional artists necessitated a longer-than-usual soundcheck, which was still in progress when the gates to the venue opened. “Chris just came down today to rehearse,” Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready admitted to Billboard.com of the Temple Of The Dog reunion. “We haven’t played these songs with him since one show on the 1992 Lollapalooza when Eddie was sick.”
The Santa Barbara show capped a week-long, four-show run of acoustic charity concerts in Seattle and outside San Francisco.