On April 4th, Pearl Jam gathered in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After a touching, heartfelt introduction by David Letterman (who stepped in at the last minute for an ill Neil Young), they took the stage at the end of the night with original drummer Dave Krusen for the first time since May 25, 1991, nearly 26 years. Against a backdrop of early photos of the band, Alive kicks off the performance, and Krusen provides a more than solid backbone. Mike practically sprints into the crowd during his solo, perhaps trying to kick some life into the well-dressed floor crowd. Krusen goes to end the song at the 1991 length, cutting Mike’s solo and the song short, and then leaves the drum kit and attempts to head backstage, but Ed rushes back to grab him and bring him to the microphone, where, seemingly overcome with emotion, he is only able to mutter “Thank you” before leaving. Matt returns for the next song, a soaring Given To Fly dedicated to Michael J. Fox, who is in attendance after a recent health scare. Ed straps on a guitar for Better Man, and the crowd starts singing the intro, albeit at the wrong time, prompting Ed to laugh, then he makes a point to introduce Boom on the keyboards (somewhat controversially, Boom was not inducted along with the band, and neither were former drummers Matt Chamberlain, Dave Abbruzzese, and Jack Irons, although Irons had already been inducted with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2012). As the song’s ending jam reaches it’s finale, they slow it down and transition into Save It For Later, and Ed begins a call and response section which gets a HUGE response, to Ed’s delight, and he finishes it off with some Townshend windmilling to more crowd appreciation. The usual RRHOF ending jam is Rockin’ In The Free World, Ed exclaiming “For Uncle Neil!” over the opening riff, and members of all the other inducted bands join (including the aforementioned Jack Irons helping out on drums) for an abbreviated (by Pearl Jam standards) finale.