Flashback: Eddie Vedder Sings 'American Girl' With Tom Petty - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Eddie Vedder Sings ‘American Girl’ With Tom Petty

Watch the Pearl Jam frontman stun the audience at a 2012 Petty show

Pearl Jam had three days off after headlining England’s Isle of Wight festival on June 23rd, 2012, but Eddie Vedder traveled to the next city on the itinerary the following day. The fact that it was Amsterdam was certainly reason enough to get there early and chill for a bit, but there also happened to be a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert in town that night. It was  a date on the group’s first European tour since 1999, and Vedder was watching as they tore through hits like “Here Comes My Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Listen To Her Heart.”

Ten songs in, Vedder shocked the crowd by walking onstage and joining the group for “The Waiting.” Pearl Jam have a much bigger audience than Petty in Europe, so the place went ballistic. He vanished when the song was done, but he re-appeared at the very end for “American Girl.” He did a stellar job of the “alone on her balcony verse,” but completely blanked when it came time to sing, “And for one desperate moment there he crept back in her memory.” He handles the flub up nicely, however, singing a bit of gibberish for a second before getting back on track.

Two nights later, Pearl Jam took the stage at the significantly larger Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam and delivered a killer show that included covers of Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive,” the Kink’s “Better Things,” the Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” By that point, Petty had already moved onto Paris. The Heartbreakers played a scant 14 shows on the continent and haven’t been back since.


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