A night after covering the Doobie Brothers, Pearl Jam were back at New York’s Madison Square Garden with two more surprises: First, Cheap Trick‘s Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson joined the band onstage to perform the Rock Hall inductees‘ “Surrender.” Later, Sting made an unannounced onstage appearance to sing the Police‘s Zenyatta Mondatta track “Driven to Tears.”
Prior to the performance, Vedder explained to the crowd why they chose to perform the Police song. “I think I read that we get more information in one day in modern times than people in the 1700s used to get in a whole lifetime. So if you’re every feeling crazy or overwhelmed or insignificant or frustrated or beaten down, there’s a fucking reason,” Vedder said in his introduction. “It’s impossible to keep up. There’s a lot of tragedy in the world; we just didn’t used to hear about all of it.”
Vedder’s banter then veered toward slamming the news channels because they turned an election year into “bullshit spewing around like a fire hose.” “The news companies, they know they’re getting ratings by planting fear, and they want it to go to Game 7. There’s more ratings if they keep it close,” Vedder said. “Idealistically, someone like Bernie Sanders is the best candidate, maybe. It’s all about voting … stay vocal.
“But it’s hard with all that information, you would think that it would be easier to be educated, and I’m probably preaching to the choir because I’m sure you all are, but sometimes we need to work to educate others so they don’t make a terrible decision,” Vedder continued. “But it all goes into being overwhelmed and there’s no better song than this one.”
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Earlier in the show, Pearl Jam, longtime fans of Cheap Trick, welcomed guitarist Nielsen and bassist Petersson onstage to perform that band’s classic “Surrender”; Two months ago, Cheap Trick performed at Mike McCready’s birthday party. Pearl Jam previously played “Surrender” for the first time on April 8th to pay tribute to Cheap Trick’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. In October 2014, at Pearl Jam’s Yield show in Milwaukee, Nielsen also joined them onstage for the Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”