Pearl Jam‘s current North American trek has been full of surprises, from a full album performance of Vs. in South Carolina to Friday’s complete Ten in Philadelphia. The band arrived at New York’s Madison Square Garden Sunday night for the first of two concerts, and Eddie Vedder threw an unexpected curveball into the setlist: An earnest cover of the Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It to the Streets.”
“I’ve got this friend right, and I’ve known him long enough where he could give me some shit … so we’re celebrating a big birthday for him and his request was so fucked up, just fucked up,” Vedder prefaced before dipping into the 1976 single. “But, I was like, ‘That’s a bit gutsy, especially at the Garden. I don’t want fuck around when we’re playing the Garden.”
Vedder added, “He said, ‘Ed, I’ve known you a long time and you’re actually one of my favorite singers, but you’re not quite as good as this other guy.’ I think he has a point. I mean, it’s not Lou Rawls, I’m not as good as Lou Rawls. But we’re just gonna play a second if it. Happy birthday, Jack.”
Pearl Jam played significantly more than “a second” of the song, handling two verses and two audience-assisted choruses before seguing into more familiar territory with Vitalogy‘s “Whipping.”
Pearl Jam return to Madison Square Garden Monday night.