Watch Eddie Vedder Sing at President Obama’s Farewell Address
Pearl Jam have been a headlining act for pretty much their entire career. So when Eddie Vedder serves as an opening act, there’s usually somebody pretty big at the top of the bill. That was the case tonight (Jan. 10), when he sang with the Chicago Children’s Choir prior to President Barack Obama’s farewell address.
Footage from the evening, which was captured by people inside Chicago’s McCormick Place, can be found below. Stereogum says that they performed two covers that are quite familiar to Vedder, Neil Young‘s “Rockin’ in the Free World” and Patti Smith‘s “People Have the Power.” Setlist.fm notes that he also played “Rise” from his soundtrack to Into the Wild, and “(Something Inside) So Strong,” an anti-apartheid song by Labi Siffre that Kenny Rogers also recorded in 1989. You can also see a photo that the Chicago Children’s Choir posted to their Instagram account of themselves with Vedder. The caption read, “Honored to perform with this brilliant musician TONIGHT!”
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Although he was in Chicago, he did not perform “All the Way,” which he wrote in 2008 in honor of the Chicago Cubs’ playoff run. But perhaps he chose to skip that because Obama is famously a fan of the Cubs’ crosstown rivals, the Chicago White Sox.
Vedder, a native of the nearby suburb of Evanston, Ill., was only part of the local flavor. The national anthem was sung by Bryan James Sledge, a neo-soul singer known as BJ the Chicago Kid who has worked with Stevie Wonder and Kanye West. However, immediately after Obama finished his speech, they abandoned the Windy City for the Jersey Shore, with Bruce Springsteen‘s “Land of Hope and Dreams” coming from the PA system.
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