With Pearl Jam in New York for this weekend’s Global Citizen Festival, the band stopped by Late Show With Stephen Colbert to make their first live appearance of 2015. Eddie Vedder and company opened things up with their Lightning Bolt track “Mind Your Manners” before – amid chants of “One more song!” – Stephen Colbert himself joined the group onstage to perform their longtime go-to live encore: a cover of Neil Young‘s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
As opposed to Colbert’s goofy performance with “Paul Simon cover band” Troubled Waters, the host plays it straight for the Freedom favorite, assisting Vedder on the chorus. The energy of the rendition sent Vedder diving into the Late Show pit during the guitar solo, but that actually threw the song off course, as he didn’t return to the stage in time for the “We got a thousand points of light” verse. Instead, Vedder, aided by Colbert, improvised a pre-chorus chorus before the rest of Pearl Jam musically circled back to the “Keep on rockin’ in the free world” portion.
“Whoo! Calm down. What an honor! You don’t get to do that every day,” exclaimed Colbert as the song wrapped up. Before the Young cover, Pearl Jam warmed up the crowd with a frenzied rendition of “Mind Your Manners”:
Pearl Jam will headline the Chris Martin-curated Global Citizen Festival September 26th alongside Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Common, Bollywood singer Sunidhi Chauhan, Tori Kelly and Coldplay, with Katie Holmes, Usher and Laverne Cox serving as hosts.
“We hope Pearl Jam fans will sign up to become Global Citizens – not just to earn tickets to the show – but to be part of a movement that encourages leaders of nations with the greatest wealth to apply aid, trade and governance policies in support of nations and communities in the greatest need,” Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard said in a statement. “People living on less than $1.50 a day deserve the opportunity to lift themselves up out of extreme poverty.”