To say that the guys in Pearl Jam were tight with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell would be a massive understatement. Eddie Vedder has, throughout his career, referred to Cornell as a big brother figure, and credits him with helping him become ingratiated into the Seattle rock scene during the early ’90s as a transplant from San Diego while breaking into the scene with their joint band Temple Of The Dog and later on the 1992 Lollapalooza circuit. During a myriad of solo gigs just after Cornell’s death, Vedder found a way to honor his friend with lengthy, onstage monologues, but couldn’t seem to summon the ability to actually say his name.
Last night, in the middle of Pearl Jam’s first concert since Cornell took his own life at the Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, he finally found the words. Just before launching into the rather somber 2006 track “Come Back,” Vedder stepped to the microphone and said, “This is for Chris.”
Matt Cameron, Pearl Jam’s current drummer and a longtime member of Soundgarden took Cornell’s loss especially hard. In an interview with Billboard last year, he offered his condolences to the singer’s fans who were still processing the loss. “Kim [Thayil] and Ben [Shepherd] and I are certainly aware of how much our fans are hurting, and we’re certainly hurting right there along with them, but we’re extremely private people, and we’re all still processing our grief in our own way and on our own time. But we definitely are thinking of our fans and love them very much.”
In his own salute, Cameron performed the gig wearing a special Chris Cornell t-shirt, with his friend’s face emblazoned on the back.