Music

Pearl Jam’s Illness Was Like a ‘Near-Death Experience’

Pearl Jam is back on the road after illness forced the cancellation of a trio of concerts. Eddie Vedder said the experience left him deeply frightened.

“Can I just say that the last week, it almost felt like a near-death experience,” Vedder said from on stage in Barcelona. “It was very uncomfortable, and it got frightening. It felt like chest bronchitis. It felt like maybe you couldn’t breathe, and maybe you wouldn’t make it through the night, and maybe you’d have to go to the hospital.”

Pearl Jam had been set to play June 29 in London and then July 2-3 in Berlin. They’ll return to the U.S in August after completing these ongoing European dates, with stops in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, among others. A run of Australian shows follows in November.

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“You just realize how precious this life is,” Vedder added, and “how lucky we are to have been living on a planet where we can go around and play to incredible people like the people in this room here tonight. So, it was a poignant experience. I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.”

The timing for this illness couldn’t have been worse: Pearl Jam is touring in support of their latest album Dark Matter, which just arrived on June 22.

“The impacts of this decision are not lost on us,” Pearl Jam said in a band statement announcing the scrapped concerts. “We feel deeply that so many people spend their time, money, and emotional energy to get tickets and then to come see the band and it is heart-wrenching to have to disappoint you.”

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Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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