Jack Jam – Jack White meets Pearl Jam

[Another report from correspondent Gilles LeBlanc. – AC]

Forget backpacking across Europe – When I was younger, all I wanted to do was visit music festivals abroad I had only heard about in places like Rolling Stone and SPIN magazine. Ever since I can remember, there has always been a sense of “anything can happen” at these almost mythical destinations that their North American counterparts have never quite been able to recreate.

Take NOS Alive in picturesque Oeiras, Portugal where Pearl Jam and Jack White played on Saturday night. (I know, right? What do we have to do to get any kind of a multi-day event to come back to the Toronto area?)

Eddie Vedder and company closed their set as they often do with the Neil Young stomper “Rockin’ in the Free World”. This time, Pearl Jam had a special guest trading solos with Mike McCready in the form of former White Stripes guitarist Jack White. Pretty epic, yeah.

Two songs earlier on what was another killer PJ setlist, the band played a snippet of “Seven Nation Army” during “Porch” that the crowd immediately picked up on, and started chanting as was customary throughout the just-completed World Cup. (Félicitations à la France !)

This isn’t the first time these music mega-powers have collided. Two summers ago, Pearl Jam dropped into Third Man Records’ Blue Room in Nashville Tennessee to cut a live album. White appears on rarity “Of the Earth”, and also has a connection to the Godfather of Grunge Vedder affectionately calls “Uncle Neil”. Young recorded the lo-fi effort A Letter Home inside Jack’s store using a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph.

Dare I say White accompanying Pearl Jam on Rolling Stone’s 216th Greatest Song of All Time was even better than when Jack asked another fogey similar in age to Mr. Young to sing on an old blues song of his he was covering at Lollapalooza Argentina.

And I know Vedder is turning 54 at the end of this year, but wouldn’t it be cool if they ever have Jack White back to jam with them, Eddie could do one of his “Porch” scaffold dives for old times’ sake, like he did at Pinkpop in 1992?

Hey Jack – Pearl Jam are working on their eleventh studio album as I’m sure you’re aware. Maybe they need a producer with fresh ears to, y’know, give Brendan O’Brien a break for once?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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