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Pearl Jam Pay Homage to Michael Jackson in London

Plus: Watch video of the grunge gods unveiling "Supersonic," a new song from the forthcoming Backspacer.

Peter Gaston // August 19, 2009

Tributes to Michael Jackson have come by the barrelful in recent weeks, but rarely from a source as unexpected as Pearl Jam.

Wrapping their five-date European mini-tour last night at London’s O2 Arena, the same venue where Jackson was to have performed his 50-date headlining run this summer, Eddie Vedder launched into a short but heartfelt ode to the King of Pop. The singer performed a quick version of “Ben,” Jackson’s chart-topping 1972 single from the soundtrack to Williard, a film about a killer rat, before launching into Pearl Jam’s own “Rats,” whose final verse pays homage to “Ben”: “Ben, the two of us need look no more.”

Vedder dedicated the cover “to a man who was supposed to take to this stage and do what he did,” according to the BBC.

The band also unveiled a new song from their forthcoming ninth album, Backspacer (out Sept. 20), for the first time: “Supersonic.” It’s a fast-paced romp with a dirty bridge in the middle featuring a spine-tingling riff from Mike McCready. Check out the video below.

The band also played already-released Backspacer single “The Fixer.”

Pearl Jam setlist: O2 Arena, London
(Courtesy of tenclub.net)

Release
Animal
Corduroy
Why Go
Small Town
Immortality
The Fixer
Even Flow
I Got Shit
Rats
Got Some
Whipping
Light Years
Insignificance
Black
Life Wasted
Blood

Encore 1:
Supersonic
Hail Hail
Footsteps
Love
Reign O’er Me
Do the Evolution
Alive

Encore 2:
Better Man/(Save It For Later)
Crazy Mary
Leaving Here
Porch
Yellow Ledbetter

WATCH: Pearl Jam, “Supersonic”