Eddie Vedder recruits Stewart Copeland to cover The Police’s Message in a Bottle during live show

Eddie Vedder (right) and Stewart Copeland
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty)

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Eddie Vedder, who recently wrapped up a US tour in support of his new solo album, Earthling. With the aid of his all-star house band – comprised of electric guitar players Andrew Watt and Josh Klinghoffer, Glen Hansard, bass guitar player Chris Chaney and drummer Chad Smith – Vedder has treated attendees to cuts from his new record, as well as a handful of show-stopping covers.

Not only has the Earthlings band covered the Beatles, Prince and Jimi Hendrix during their time on the road, they also recently teamed up with Duff McKagan for an energetic performance of The Pretenders’ Precious.

Now, the crew have continued their fine interpretive form, bringing out The Police drummer Stewart Copeland on stage for a cover of the band’s 1979 hit, Message in a Bottle.

Taking place at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California, on February 25, the cover commenced with Copeland picking up the sticks for a fill-loaded intro beat that preceded a particularly rusty opening exchange.

Vedder himself couldn’t help but laugh, though the band managed to pick up the slack and settled into a comfortable rhythm for the first chorus. 

Message In A Bottle was then followed by an Earthlings setlist stalwart, Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World, which has served as the ensemble's closer on a number of occasions.

And, with the drum stool temporarily occupied by Copeland, the Earthlings' resident drummer – Red Hot Chili Peppers legend Chad Smith – once again took up position behind a Bigsby-equipped Gibson Les Paul Goldtop to keep himself busy with guitar duties.

It’s a position he’s become quite familiar with in recent times, after he spontaneously swapped instruments with bandmate Klinghoffer for an encore rendition of the same track last week – a rendition, may we add, that contained some spectacular onstage antics.

His guitar hero tricks went one step further this time out, though, as he made his way off the stage and into the pits with his six-string to get up-close-and-personal with some lucky front row spectators.

It capped off what had been a whirlwind evening for Vedder and the Earthlings. Earlier in the show, the group brought on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench to perform a couple of Petty's biggest hits, including Room at the Top and The Waiting.

With the aid of Tench, the group also covered Marvin Gaye’s Baby Don’t You Do It and George Harrison’s Isn’t It a Pity.

Eddie Vedder’s Earthling tour wrapped up last night (February 27) at The Magnolia in El Cajon, CA.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.