Eddie Vedder Talks ‘Despicable Law’ That Led To Pearl Jam Cancellation, Power Of Boycotting


Eddie Vedder discussed Pearl Jam canceling their show in Raleigh, North Caroline due to an anti-LBGT law last night in Hampton, Virginia.

“We had to make a real tough call and um, we had to make a call about what we would do about the situation in North Carolina. (crowd cheers and some boos). Because they have a law there that broadly…broadly discriminates against a whole group of people. And I can’t tell from here if you are booing North Carolina if your booing us for having to decide that we are not gonna play there. I would understand that too.

It was a hard process because we thought we could still play and make things right and we could fortify all the people on the ground working to repeal this despicable law. We thought we could take the money and give it to them and still play the show but the reality is there is nothing like the immense power like boycotting and putting a strain and it’s a shame because people are going to affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna effect change so again, we just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement so…

So we apologize to those in Raleigh, we apologize to those who are going to Raleigh, we apologize to the locals who probably believe in the same things that we do. They have a reason to be pissed and were pissed off too. But we gotta be pissed off at the right people and get them to change their minds because they made a mistake, a big mistake and they can fix it.

So tonight we play this one for all the soldiers in the LGBT community.”

Sea posted the full setlist and notes from the show (via John) on the PearlJam.com forums:

01. Why Go
02. Mind Your Manners
03. Corduroy
04. Brain Of J
05. Faithfull

(Ed talks about how beautiful it is here in Hampton and asks the audience if they wanted to keep it a secret. He offers to have all this cut out of the bootleg. He talks about playing Virginia Beach every 8 years and compares the band to locusts. Showing up every 8 years and devouring everything and then, and this is where the analogy falls apart, laying millions of eggs.
He goes on to say that He remembers the terrible weather when they were going to play just after the tragic event in Denmark and the band wasn’t sure they could ever go onstage again. This was the song he wrote in the hotel before the show.)

06. I Am Mine
07. Jeremy
(Ed says he never got to meet Chris McCandless but he did meet his sister. She lives in the area and is at the show tonight.)
08. Setting Forth
09. Not For You/Modern Girl-(Sleater Kinney)
10. Even Flow

(“you know sometimes we get Soundgarden fans here and rather than tickets in the front row they say they wanna sit (behind the stage) so they can see Matt Cameron. Here’s Stone Gossard on guitar”.)

11. Daughter/It’s OK-(Cole) (Ed sings “you can’t beat me, gonna survive” before going into the It’s Ok tag)

(Ed compliments the audience on their singing and encourages them to get a job that requires singing because it feels so good. He also asks the audience how many had a good teacher that got them on the right path. Many fans raise their hands. “That is great. Isn’t it funny then that they keep cutting money for education. He says there is a good teacher named (Gene?) in the audience and asks for a light to be put on him. The next song is about a great teacher Ed had.)

12. Long Road
13. Wishlist
14. Sirens
(Ed finds a guy who lost out on a tambourine in Philly that is here tonight and dedicates “Habit” to Andrew and his brother who are celebrating two years of sobriety. Of course he makes a substance abuse joke between the two stories much to his belated chagrin)
15. Habit
16. Given To Fly-(dedicated to Keith Harward who was released after 30 years in prison. Wrongly convicted. DNA evidence finally got the conviction overturned. “I wish I could buy him a drink”.)
17. Lukin
18. Rearviewmirror

Encore Break One

19. I Am A Patriot-(Van Zandt)

20. Sleeping By Myself (Ed forgets the lyrics in the bridge. He asks to try it again and has to quickly sing the entire song under his breath to get to the bridge and carry on)

21. Come Back (for a dad named Peyton and a friend of the band Dr. Michael Richter (sp)
22. Sad
23. Lightning Bolt (Ed stops playing guitar, though the song continues, to point out somebody in the pit misbehaving. Other people in the pit point at the guy and security finds him. As they are taking the guy out Ed tells him to “give it up, we already caught you being a douchebag, you are out of here. See you next time.”)

(Ed comments that it is their fifth show and there haven’t been any knuckleheads until tonight and that guy got caught right away “so that is a pretty good average.”. Pointing to a tall, heavily bearded guy in the stands he says, “I really thought you would have been a problem but no…The guy joking gestures at Ed that he is only a little problem. Ed spots his female companion and says, “oh that is why, see what a good woman can do?” The next song is spontaneous request)
24. In My Tree
25. Breath (Ed lets some folks on the barricade sing a bit of the middle eight)
(Ed puts on what looks like a Bernie Sanders hat and reflects light off of a pick guard on his guitar. He doesn’t play during this song but his tech hands him one so he can shine it around the venue)

26. Do The Evolution
27. Porch

Encore Break Two
(Ed thanks the audience member that gave him the hat he is wearing, “It’s a little bit dirty but can you read it? Warren is Elizabeth Warren, and speaking of cool women, This woman has been with us forever and it is her birthday today.” They sing Happy Birthday for Liz who is the production manager for the tour and has worked for the band for a very long time.

28. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town

Mike wrote the next song and the band want to play it for Jennifer Jaff. She passed away a couple of years ago. Mike talks about Jennifer Jaff Care line, a patient advocacy group founded her.

29. Inside Job
30. Black
31. Alive
32. Rockin’ In The Free World-(Young)
33. Indifference