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NEW YORK — Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder stunned Seattle fans who had bought tickets for a screening of “Into the Wild” on Monday and Tuesday by instead performing a full solo set, in advance of the April 2 launch of his maiden solo tour.
Tickets to the gigs at Kenyon Hall were sold for $5 by Easy Street Records, with fewer than 150 people on hand each night. A number of fans who lined up outside the venue but were initially unable to get inside were treated to coffee by the Easy Street staff, before being ushered in gratis after the show had started.
Vedder played guitar for most of the shows but also strapped on a banjo for Cat Stevens’ “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” and switched to harmonica, mandolin and ukulele on a host of other tunes.
As expected, the set lists mixed Pearl Jam tracks (“Around the Bend,” “I Am Mine,” “Dead Man”) with songs from Vedder’s “Into the Wild” soundtrack (“Guaranteed,” “No Ceiling,” “Society”) and a bevy of covers (Bruce Springsteen’s “Growin’ Up,” Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young, Tom Waits’ “Picture in a Frame”).
Also performed were James Taylor’s “Millworker,” unreleased solo cuts like “Broken Hearted” and “You’re True,” and “No More,” Vedder’s contribution to the recent “Body of War” compilation album.
In related news, the guitar Vedder used to write the Pearl Jam song “Love Boat Captain” sold for $8,000 last night during a West Memphis 3 fundraiser at the New York home of Peter, Paul & Mary’s Peter Yarrow. Pearl Jam has long been a vocal advocate for the innocence of the men, who were convicted of the 1993 murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark.
A new hearing in the case, which will present DNA evidence defense attorneys claim exonerates the men, is scheduled for April 14.
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