More than two years after becoming the first major artist to postpone a tour at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearl Jam has rescheduled North American shows in support of their 2020 album Gigaton as part of a two-leg trek, the first of which will begin May 3 in San Diego and wrap May 20 in Las Vegas. A fall leg kicks off Sept. 1 in Quebec City, Quebec, and closes Sept. 22 in Denver.
The planned Baltimore show from the original routing has been canceled due to renovations at Royal Farms Arena, but new California dates have been added in Fresno and Sacramento, Las Vegas and Camden, N.J. As was on tap for the 2020 tour, new Pearl Jam touring member Josh Klinghoffer will open each night with his solo project Pluralone, whose latest album, This Is the Show, arrives March 17 through ORG Music.
Gigaton debuted at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on the Top Alternative, Rock and Hard Rock Albums chart. The single “Superblood Wolfmoon” reached No. 4 on the Mainstream Rock tally, while “Retrograde” hit No. 9 at AAA radio.
Fans who held onto tickets from the 2020 dates can use them for the new shows. Members of Pearl Jam’s Ten Club fan organization will get first crack at any remaining unsold seats starting today, while the rest will be available through Ticketmaster Verified Fan Registration beginning March 29. Pearl Jam will up its cash commitment to carbon dioxide mitigation by a factor of 10 to $200 per pound on this outing, furthering its longstanding efforts to address the environmental impact of its touring carbon footprint.
“I just want to get on the road and get into a groove where we can have those great nights,” Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard tells SPIN of Pearl Jam’s first proper North American tour since 2016. “We really haven’t played in four years, you know?”
Indeed, prior to the intended 2020 outing, Pearl Jam hadn’t been on stage together since the late summer of 2018, when it sold 74,000 tickets and raised more than $11 million for homeless initiatives through two hometown shows at the former Safeco Field. During a short window last September and October before the Omnicron variant put live shows on hold again, the band was able to squeeze in four sets at the Sea.Hear.Now festival in Asbury Park, N.J. and frontman Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival in Dana Point, Calif. All but one of the Gigaton songs were debuted during those performances, and Gossard can’t wait to hone them further.
“‘Seven O’Clock’ was great — loved that. ‘Quick Escape.’ All of it was feeling great,” Gossard says. “Having Josh Klinghoffer playing with us, he’s an amazing musician and a total sweetheart. He plays all these little cool parts that we wrote for Gigaton and he can sing all those background parts. Having him involved makes the band sound so full.”
“There were songs like ‘Alright’ and ‘Buckle Up’ that maybe we only did once and they’re also hard to pull off outdoors at a festival — they’re more sensitive and low-key,” Klinghoffer tells SPIN. “I feel like the guys probably didn’t have the same endorphins released as when they played ‘Superblood Wolfmoon’ or something a little more rocking. Speaking from my own experience. I think everything has sounded really good. It’s just a question of doing them more. You can do them at rehearsal a thousand times, but the minute you get up on stage, it’s a different thing. It takes a couple shows to get your feet under you.”
The Sept. 11 show at Madison Square Garden comes on the 24th anniversary of one of Pearl Jam’s most memorable shows ever, when thousands of fans mobilized online and held up signs requesting the song “Breath,” which hadn’t been played live in more than four years. “This is like some organized religion here. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Vedder marveled from the stage, before Pearl Jam rewarded the faithful by dusting off the song.
After the first North American leg ends, Pearl Jam will embark on a previously announced European tour June 18 at the Pinkpop festival in the Netherlands. And at some point during breaks in the 2022 show schedule, the band will continue working on the as-yet-untitled follow-up to Gigaton with 2020 Grammy producer of the year Andrew Watt, who served in the same role on Vedder’s latest solo album, Earthling and played with Klinghoffer in Vedder’s band during the accompanying tour.
“We’ve recorded a little bit with him, so we’ve got some things going already, and they’re killer,” Gossard reveals. “We’re psyched. Andrew is a total character. Really, like immediately, we were writing quickly. Spontaneously. Bring in a riff. Let’s knock it out. [Drummer] Matt Cameron is playing his ass off. We didn’t bring any gear down. We were just doing some recording in Andrew’s basement in Beverly Hills, basically. So far, so good.”
Part of the fun of the early sessions has been that Watt is a professed Pearl Jam super-fan who “knows how to play all of our songs better than we do, and knows the catalog,” according to Gossard. “He’s known for some of his pop hits, which I personally love, but he really is a great musician and he knows the band well enough to know when we’re hitting something. His perspective has been great. I hope we continue with that process. It’s been fruitful, everything that we’ve done so far. We’ll see how long it takes to finish it off.”
In the meantime, Pearl Jam’s members remain busy with a host of their own projects. As previously reported, Gossard has relaunched his ‘90s-era Loosegroove label and is releasing music from his new side band Painted Shield as well as a long-gestating album from his earlier project, Brad. Guitarist Mike McCready just reissued his side band The Rockfords’ lone 2000 self-titled release on digital platforms for the first time, while bassist Jeff Ament recently joined forces with friends from the ‘80s Montana punk scene to record a five-song, six-minute-and-40-second punk EP under the name P.E.S.T.
In addition, Vedder’s solo album Ukulele Songs is being reissued May 6 in two different vinyl iterations for the first time since its original 2011 release.
Pearl Jam’s 2022 North American tour dates:
May 3: San Diego (Viejas Arena)
May 6-7: Los Angeles (The Forum)
May 9: Glendale, Ariz. (Gila River Arena)
May 12-13: Oakland, Calif. (Oakland Arena)
May 16: Fresno, Calif. (Save Mart Arena)
May 18: Sacramento, Calif. (Golden 1 Center)
May 20: Las Vegas (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
Sept. 1: Quebec City, Quebec (Videotron Centre)
Sept. 3: Ottawa, Ontario (Canadien Tire Centre)
Sept. 6: Hamilton, Ontario (FirstOntario Centre)
Sept. 8: Toronto (Scotiabank Arena)
Sept. 11: New York (Madison Square Garden)
Sept. 14: Camden, N.J. (Waterfront Music Pavilion)
Sept. 16: Nashville (Bridgestone Arena)
Sept. 18: St. Louis (Enterprise Center)
Sept. 20: Oklahoma City, Okla. (Paycom Center)
Sept. 22: Denver (Ball Arena)