It's been a long time since Eddie Vedder first sang, "This is not for you." Like, 18 years. Nowadays the Pearl Jam frontman's formidably grizzled pipes are for, well, just about anyone.
It was one thing when Vedder went onstage last month with Bruce Springsteen. He'd done it before, it was his hometown, and Springsteen is the Boss. Likewise, it made sense when the one-time Ticketmaster challenger spoke about class the other day at a fundraiser for President Obama. And how could Pearl Jam not back Jay-Z last month on "99 Problems"?
But Vedder's quality control appears to be slipping. Last night in San Francisco, as the NME points out, Vedder came out on stage with Kings of Leon. Yup, the "Sex on Fire" guys. Pearl Jam were headlining the Oracle Appreciation Event; Kings of Leon were supporting. As you can barely make out from the 18-second fan clip above, Vedder lent his roar to the Southern rockers' song "The Bucket," from 2004's Aha Shake Heartbreak. Now that's just going too far.
Sure, it was a bit of step down from Jay-Z and Springsteen the other week when Vedder sang live with the Gaslight Anthem, too. The New Jersey rockers' latest, Handwritten, received our fearsome "Worst New Music" designation. But at least those guys used to be kind of awesome: Their American Slang even made our list of the 40 Best Albums of 2010. But Kings of Leon? Really?
Suddenly what happened in Amsterdam a few months ago comes into focus, as much as what happens to Americans in Amsterdam can ever come into focus. Eddie Vedder went on stage during someone else's concert again, this time joining Tom Petty and the Heartbeakers. But guess what: Jack White, while present, declined to go up and join the superjam. Then again, White recently set off a small firestorm with an abbreviated set at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, so maybe he isn't the best model for How to Always Leave Them Wanting, like, you know, More and stuff.