Losing an artist always leaves a void. A void that is hard to fill and hard to forget. In the music scene, losing someone like Chris Cornell hit people hard. Like losing a friend, Cornell was like no other. As artists began to pour their emotions out in support and paying tributes to the late singer, there was one that has been absent in these past few weeks.
Eddie Vedder has been quiet with his grief. Vedder had apparently missed Cornell’s memorial service Friday due to the start of his European tour. But those who were waiting for a response from Vedder got something more during the opening of that tour, subtle as it was.
Vedder opened up his European solo tour this past weekend with a couple of shows in Amsterdam with subtle tributes to the singer, friend and mentor to the Pearl Jam frontman.
Though Vedder never mentioned Cornell by name, the mood, according to fans on the official Pearl Jam forum, was undeniably affected by the musician’s unexpected death this month. During the Saturday show, Vedder adjusted the song “Long Road,” with changes in the lyrics. Instead of singing, “But still / Something is missing” Vedder adjusted it to, “Without you / Something is missing.” He also performed the Fugazi song “I’m So Tired” for the first time. The song is widely regarded as a song about suicide with lyrics such as “No more struggle / No more energy / No more patience / You can write that down / It’s all too crazy / I’m not sticking round.”
Throughout the set, Vedder also performed “Trouble” by Cat Stevens, “The Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young as well as “Imagine” by John Lennon. The latter song was frequently covered by Cornell.
At one point during the show, a fan in the audience shouted out, “I love you.” This prompted Vedder to respond, “Thank you. I need it.We all need it.” He continued with a heartfelt message to the crowd. “I’m thinking of a lot of people tonight. And some in particular and their families. And I just know that healing takes time if it ever happens. It takes time, and that means you have to start somewhere. So let it be music. Let it be love and togetherness. And let it be Amsterdam.”
The second of the three shows at Amsterdam took place the night before and continued to show subtle tributes to Cornell. One particular set of songs were sung back to back that was sweet and poignant. Vedder performed the string of successive Pearl Jam songs beginning with “Man of the Hour,” followed by “Unthought Known,” “Parting Ways” and “Off He Goes.”
The music friendship between Cornell and Vedder started in 1990 when the two met in Seattle when Cornell was putting together the album Temple of the Dog in which he was paying homage to Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood. While recording the album and composing the song “Hunger Strike, Vedder provided vocals for the track. It’s been a friendship filled with many fan favorite moments ever since.
Music lives on regardless of time. That void left behind will never be forgotten but for fans still heartsick over the loss of Cornell can know that they can always turn to music to help fill the void.