David Letterman Honors Pearl Jam
Letterman shined as a last minute substitute for Neil Young, who was originally supposed to induct Pearl Jam into the Rock Hall. The former Late Show host earned guffaws as he gently ribbed, well, pretty much everyone. He started with himself ("I can't even begin to tell you what an honor and a privilege it is to be out of the house") and then moved on to Young ("The poor guy just can't stay up this late. … Either that, or he swallowed a harmonica"), Ticketmaster ("... beady-eyed, blood-thirsty weasels!") and Pearl Jam's rotating cast of percussionists ("Tonight the entire balcony is full of former Pearl Jam drummers").
But under cover of all the jokes, Letterman displayed a keen appreciation for live performance – "Never take the opportunity for live music for granted," he told the crowd – and above all else, a sincere admiration for Pearl Jam. "These guys in Pearl Jam were something more than a band," he remembered feeling when they debuted in 1991. "They're true living cultural organisms."