Pearl Jam enlists fans to fill in for Covid-stricken drummer Matt Cameron

This week's performances in Oakland, California marked the first time the Pearl Jam drummer has missed a performance in 24 years

FILE PHOTO: 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - Show – New York City, U.S., 07/04/2017 – Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam performs. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
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Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week, but instead of cancelling their scheduled performances, the band looked to their fan base for support.

Pearl Jam held a pair of performances in Oakland, California on Thursday and Friday, bringing on stage celebrated drummers Josh Klinghoffer and Richard Stuverud, as well as local talents, to fill in for Cameron. According to Blabbermouth, the shows marked the first time Cameron has missed a Pearl Jam performance in 24 years.

However, the band did not want to postpone the shows as they had already been rescheduled once before.

“Matt Cameron is a true artist and he’s a force of nature,” Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder told the crowd during Thursday’s performance. “However, even his superhero status could not prevent him from testing positive.

“Postponing wasn’t an option and for us neither was cancelling. So, we didn’t want to pull the plug and we couldn’t pull the plug. We’ve got our group here, we’ve got the equipment here and, most importantly, you’re here. So, lucky for us, we have some friends.”

According to TMZ, the Oakland drummers who performed with the band included Josh Arroyo, a music teacher who offered a helping hand during the band's rendition of Yellow Ledbetter on Thursday, and a teenager named Kai Neukermans, a member of the band The Alive, who was called to the stage on Friday to perform the song Mind Your Manners.

The band shared an image of their set-list for Friday’s performance on their Instagram page, showing the drummers performing on each track. Neukermans’s name is highlighted midway. A fan-shot video of his performance has also been posted on YouTube.

“I saw this band called The Alive,” Vedder is heard saying in the clip. “They blew my mind. They are pretty young for how hard they can play, and how much impact they had. My daughter reminded me that they’re from here in Mill Valley.”

Neukermans is then seen walking on stage, visibly over the moon, before taking the drum kit by storm.

Updated: May 15, 2022, 12:13 PM