Pearl Jam announces tour dates, shares abiding love of Neil Young with Toronto
Pearl Jam, one of the few surviving products of the grunge era, have just announced that they will be headlining two Toronto shows this September when their 20th anniversary tour touches down at the Air Canada Centre. The concerts will mark the band’s 12 and 13th appearances in Toronto, a city that shares one overarching passion with the veteran arena rockers: a love for all things Neil Young.
The band’s history with the man dates back to 1992, when Pearl Jam played at Young’s exclusive annual Bridge School Benefit Concert (they’ve since played the show seven more times). The two musical powerhouses have been linked ever since, collaborating on albums like Young’s Mirror Ball and appearing on stage together numerous times. With Neil often referred to as the “Godfather of Grunge,” his effect on one of the most prolific exponents of the genre has resulted in a genuine bond.
Attend a Pearl Jam concert in Toronto and you’ll likely hear a story or two about a recent stay at the home of “Uncle Neil,” as was the case in 2009 when the band played a sold-out show at the Molson Amphitheatre. In fact, when the opening act for that night’s show was held up at the border, frontman Eddie Vedder took it upon himself to perform an impromptu acoustic set of Neil classics like “Sugar Mountain” and “The Needle and the Damage Done.” Pearl Jam ended their show that night the same way they close
every Canadian dates—with a rendition of Young’s iconic anthem “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
Many bands have adopted Toronto as a sort of home away from home. Most famously, the Rolling Stones used take up residency at the El Mocambo, working out the kinks in their act in a series of secret concerts before taking their show on the road. We can only hope the same can one day be said of PJ. For now we’ll gladly settle for a yearly tour stop.
Pearl Jam play the ACC on September 11 and 12. Tickets are $69.59, on sale May 27.
UPDATED (May 18, 4.51 p.m.)