You never know exactly what goodies are in store when Pearl Jam hits the stage. On Monday night (May 2) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, not only did they come packing nearly three hours of literally floor-shaking rock and roll for the second night in a row, but they invited some Rock and Roll Hall of Famers onstage for surprise duets: Sting and members of Cheap Trick.
A few songs into the set, which began with hard-charging rockers like “Corduroy" and “Animal,” frontman Eddie Vedder invited Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson to the stage. Next thing the sold-out crowd knew, Madison Square Garden was being treated to Cheap Trick’s classic “Surrender,” as Nielsen and PJ guitarist Mike McCready rained guitar picks onto the packed GA pit.
Diehard fans were quick to notice other little treats throughout the night, including the rarely played “Man” trilogy (“Nothingman, “Leatherman,” “Better Man”) and 1998’s “Do The Evolution,” which got the Garden’s floor shaking. Vedder came down to the front barricade to sing “Breath” with the fan requesting that song (full disclosure: it was me).
So, by the time two mics were set up two encores in, all bets were off about who the next special guest might be. Turned out it was Sting, there to duet on the vintage Police track “Driven To Tears,” a song which Pearl Jam has only covered a few times throughout the years.
Pearl Jam’s spring tour—which also featured a massive night in Philadelphia last week during which the band played its debut album, Ten, in order, for the first time since 1992—rolls on to Canada later this week. PJ will headline Bonnaroo and play Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field this summer.