More than three decades after helping found Pearl Jam, the band’s original drummer, Dave Krusen, sat in for his first concert performance since leaving the band in 1991. Pearl Jam’s current drummer Matt Cameron sat out the Fresno, Calif., show because of a positive COVID-19 test, so Krusen took over for much of the set, which happened to lean heavily into the band’s earliest album.
“When this all went down with Matt the other day, we started thinking about all the other people that — you know, we’ve been through some great drummers … some of the best,” Eddie Vedder said to the live crowd. “You know, that first record [Ten] seems to be a record that affected so many people. But our friend that was playing drums at that time, the amount of shows that he got to play with us was fairly limited. Well, it looks like this week we’re going to get to make up for that.”
Dave Krusen left Pearl Jam right as they were becoming the biggest band in the world
Krusen abruptly left the group during its stratospheric ascent in the early alt-rock 90s due to personal struggles and alcohol issues. He finally got his shot at rock god redemption, though, as he sat behind the kit for 10 songs with his former band; eight of which fittingly came from their debut album. (Krusen did play a special performance with Pearl Jam during their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2017).
Pearl Jam has utilized a few different drummers during Cameron’s absence, including fans and random touring musicians, UCR reports. Longtime fans of Vedder and the band know they don’t mind changing up their sound once in a while to evolve creatively and give the audience a unique memory to take home.
One such evening experiment came last fall during the Ohana Festival when Vedder welcomed country music star Brandi Carlile to the stage for a rendition of “Better Man.”
“[Carlile] said about this festival and this day in particular, ‘Man, there were a lot of power b*tches on this stage tonight,'” Vedder told the crowd. “I couldn’t agree more, and it’s approved that I can say that [by her]. Don’t cancel me for saying b*tches in the nicest way possible.”
“Brandi would know about power b*tches, because it takes one to know one,” Vedder declared before charging into the iconic opening bars of “Better Man.”
Pearl Jam continues its current North American tour with stops in Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Canada before heading to Europe for more than a dozen summer dates. They will then drop down the East Coast to New York City and eventually play in Nashville on September 16 at Bridgestone Arena.