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Toronto 2011: Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder Recalls the Moment He Slow-Danced With Kurt Cobain

Eddie Vedder
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"You think, if only he could have pulled through," Vedder says of the powerful footage Cameron Crowe recovered while researching "Pearl Jam Twenty."

TORONTO -- Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder was drawn back Saturday to the moment a backstage camera caught him slow-dancing with Nirvana's Kurt Cobain at the 1992 Video Music Awards.

“I saw it for the first time today,” Vedder told a press conference Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival for Pearl Jam Twenty, Cameron Crowe’s chronicle of the legendary band’s chaotic climb to stardom.

Nirvana frontman Cobain and Pearl Jam’s Vedder at the time trash-talked one another in public, each claiming they were kings of the early 1990s Seattle grunge band scene.

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Then one night backstage at the 1992 VMAs, Cobain and Vedder confronted one another for the first time.

“That had been talked about, some people didn’t quite remember it happening, others swore there was someone there with a camera,” Crowe told reporters Saturday.

While researching Pearl Jam Twenty, Crowe did recover lost footage of the chance meeting between Vedder and Cobain, before the latter’s tragic death.

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It’s grainy footage, but it captures the grunge frontmen setting aside their public smackdown and sharing a dance.

“For a second the camera is blurred, and then you see Kurt look over, and go like this, and it’s not like saying don’t tell anybody, or keep a lid on this private moment,” Vedder told a hushed media in Toronto.

“It’s because on the stage above us Eric Clapton was playing 'Tears of Heaven,'” he added.

Vedder said the lost footage represents a powerful moment.

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“I think it’s because he (Cobain) is smiling. You think, if only he could have pulled through,” he added.

“It’s so powerful. It’s such a human moment, and it is what happens outside the glare of the media, when Kurt and Eddie got to express themselves as people,” Crowe summed up.