Drummer Matt Cameron Misses Pearl Jam Show for First Time in His Career
Pearl Jam played Oakland, Calif., on Thursday (May 12) without drummer Matt Cameron. He tested positive for COVID-19 before the concert, according to Spin. It reportedly was the first time Cameron had missed a Pearl Jam gig since joining the band in 1998.
In his place, current Pearl Jam touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, a former Red Hot Chili Pepper, filled in on the kit for portions of the gig. Two other drummers also swapped in.
Klinghoffer drummed half the set, including on alt-rock classics such as "Corduroy" and "Better Man," both from Pearl Jam's 1994 album, Vitalogy. (See Setlist.fm.) Richard Stuverud, a fellow Seattle musician, former drummer of the Fastbacks and a frequent collaborator with PJ bassist Jeff Ament, drummed for the rest.
Except for the encore's final song, the prime Pearl Jam B-side "Yellow Ledbetter," when the group selected an audience member, Josh Arroyo, to fill in on the drums instead. Outlets including Billboard, Stereogum and the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Arroyo was a fan in attendance, not a professional musician.
As for Cameron, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder told the crowd that "even his superhero status could not prevent him from testing positive. Let's let the shit hit the fan, and hopefully, it's good shit!"
The vocalist previously tested positive for the virus. Pearl Jam are now on tour in North America as part of a trek first plotted for 2020 before the pandemic delayed the plans, the trip promoting their latest album, that year's Gigaton. A second night at Oakland Arena is scheduled for Friday (May 13). Get tickets here.
Cameron is also known for his work in Soundgarden, Skin Yard, Temple of the Dog and Wellwater Conspiracy. He recently co-founded the grunge supergroup 3rd Secret with musicians from Nirvana and Soundgarden.
See fan-captured footage of the different Pearl Jam drummers below.