Mike McCready has paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen at a recent Pearl Jam show by performing EVH’s classic electric guitar workout, Eruption.
During the Seattle rock vets’ set in Glendale, Arizona on May 9, frontman Eddie Vedder gave a short speech on musicians and friends the band had lost in recent years, noting, “I don’t think we’ve played a show since Eddie Van Halen passed away, and he was another legend that we miss. And so we’ve been wanting to play one for him.”
McCready then kicks on his MXR Phase 90 and dives into the EVH classic – on a vintage Strat, no less. It’s a looser interpretation than some covers – with a somewhat shaky start – but soon settles into the Van Halen cut’s trademark pyrotechnics, including the palm-muted runs and marathon two-hand-tapping outro, with a cheeky tease of the You Really Got Me riff to close.
The guitarist has tackled Eruption several times over the years – his debut rendition of the track with Pearl Jam was back in 2012 – but the Glendale performance marked the first time McCready had played the song live since Van Halen’s passing in October 2020.
You can watch the performance below (Eruption starts at 1:38).
During his speech, Vedder also paid homage to Taylor Hawkins, revealing he only got to know the Foo Fighters drummer over the past year, but noted drummer Matt Cameron’s closeness with the late musician. The band had paid tribute to Hawkins two days previously at LA’s Forum, performing Foo Fighters’ Cold Day in the Sun with Cameron on guitar and vocals.
Pearl Jam’s long-awaited trek in support of 2020’s Gigaton has served up a number of surprises so far, not least a revolving cast of drummers following Matt Cameron’s positive Covid diagnosis on May 12, leaving touring member Josh Klinghoffer and fans as young as 18 years old to handle drum duties.
The tour has also seen a gear shake-up or two, with McCready tapping up Fender’s digital Tone Master amps for his clean backline, while Vedder and Stone Gossard have been employing two rare and unusual Gibson guitars throughout the sets.