What is Pearl Jam without Eddie Vedder? The same thing Pearl Jam is without their star drummer Matt Cameron. In my opinion hard hitting Camerons' sound keeps the thread running through the music of Pearl Jam. Without Cameron people dont bob their heads and the music lacks a strong foundational back beat. And Pearl Jam without that, definitely feels as if something is missing. Well on this night, Matt Cameron tested positive for Covid-19, so he sat out the Oakland gig. PJ decided not to postpone or cancel this show in Oakland, as they have the twice before. Although they pulled it together at the last minute with two fill in drummers, Josh Klinghoffer and Richard Stuverud. And one added from the audience, Josh Arroyo for the last song, Yellow Ledbetter. The sound was less powerful than it is with Cameron on the throne. However, to say the show wasn't enjoyed would be a lie.
I love this band. But I love this band with Matt Cameron. Musically I feel that he makes the signature sound of Pearl Jam. Like RUSH wouldn't be the same sound without Neil Peart. Or as if Eddie Vedder could not perform, it just wouldn't be Pearl Jam without him. The Who has never sounded like it did when Moonie was alive. I know the band knows this. They kept applauding the audience as if to say, "I know its not as good with out our drummer but this is what we got so we didnt have to cancel this show". Cancel the show is what I think they should've done. But they didnt, and they had others fill in, instead. Josh Klinghoffer was the first drummer we saw when the show opened as he was also their opening act, going under the name of Pluralone. Hes a multi instumentalist and long time guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He and a guy who reminded me of Animal from Sesame Street, Richard Stuverud divided the songs up and filled in for the duration of the show, until they got to the last song in which they used audience member volunteer, Josh Arroyo. It was all okay. They got the band by that night, only to cancel a few of the next shows booked.
The show opened with Eddie Vedder coming out to do two songs solo on acoustic guitar. Neil Youngs' “The Needle and the Damage Done”, and a Tom Petty tune “I Won’t Back Down”. Vedder went on to introduce Pluralone, (Josh Klinghoffer). Josh would return to the stage to play drums with Pearl Jam that night sharing the throne with friend of the band, Richard Stuverud. PJ played for 2 hours and 40 minutes. All the hits were heard, plus some. Capturing PJ is always fun. The anticipation for them to return (for me) lasts all year round. I still love PJ live. If you haven't had the pleasure of catching them, I would highly suggest it. Someday, I want to see them in their home town of Seattle. There are not many voices I like better than Vedders'. Maybe not for some, but for me, his is one of my faves. The photographers on this night were shooting from the back, by the soundboard (again). As you can imagine, the pit is far more preferable. But I shoot from where the promoters/artists ask me to shoot from. Anyway you slice it, when I go to a Pearl Jam show, I always have fun!
Here are some photos from that show without its' star drummer.