It was a funny, rocking night in Seattle on Monday (Feb. 12) when members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brandi Carlile, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder and guitarist Mike McCready and comedian Will Ferrell came together to raise some money for the Cancer for College nonprofit, which provides scholarship money for students who’ve survived cancer. According to the Seattle Times, “One Classy Night” mixed music stars sharing some of their silliest stories about rock star encounters with a number of all-star covers of songs by Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, R.E.M. and Depeche Mode.
Ferrell got the crowd at the Moore Theater rolling when he recalled meeting late rapper Tupac Shakur backstage at Saturday Night Live sitting in a chair, at which point he said they greeted each other like little kids. “Hi!” Ferrell said. “Hi!” ‘Pac replied. The comedian also got wistful for the days of the old Columbia House Record Club, which would give you a dozen or more albums or cassettes for just one penny. “You could get 13 free albums or tapes of your choice,” he said. “And that could make an amazing collection. What I didn’t realize is that for the next three years, a record or tape would show up at your house. And if you didn’t get it back in the mail in, like, four hours, you bought it.”
Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith — and noted Ferrell doppelganger — remembered the time he met his rock hero Gene Simmons of KISS and accidentally spit his gum out… in Simmons’ hair. The jokes went on for a while at the show that raised more than $300,000 for the charity that has provided $2.3 million in scholarships since 1993.
The music started when Ferrell busted into an a capella version of Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind,” followed by Carlile taking on the Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge,” while Smith held forth on the beauty of spandex pants. With the Q&A portion over, the gang got to rocking, with Carlile’s bandmates guitarist and bassist Tim and Phil Hanseroth, Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and the Dave Matthews Band’s bassist Stefan Lessard, who helped the all-star group rip through Hendrix’s “Fire,” the Stones’ “Sway,” Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and R.E.M.’s “So. Central Rain.”
Ferrell then brought out yet another special guest, as Vedder came bounding onto the stage banging a tambourine for a run through Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” But not before Ferrell did an egregiously long microphone check, of course.
Check out footage of the show below.