Eddie Vedder said Pearl Jam was considering the idea of arresting him after nine people were killed and 26 injured in a crowd crush as the group performed at the Danish Roskilde Festival in 2000.
Pearl Jam singer recalls aftermath and slow return to music in new Audible audiobook i am mine, released last week but recorded ahead of this month’s Astroworld festival tragedy.
Ten people died in a crowd crash on November 5 at Astroworld, the festival of hip-hop artist Travis Scott. The result served as a grim reminder of what happened on that Pearl Jam show two decades ago.
After Roskilde, Vedder “disappeared to Europe” to mourn privately, and at least one member of Pearl Jam presented the prospect of never playing his bandmates again. After what they had just experienced, it was an idea that, according to the singer, could not be dismissed.
“[I] I had my own way of coping, “says Vedder,” taking Spanish guitar lessons with people who didn’t speak English. It was just a way of focusing and being with people that most of me couldn’t understand. That way I was able to be around people, but since I didn’t really know what they were saying, it was very peaceful and calm. ” [via UCR]
He continues, “There was at least one person in the band, I remember, who thought that maybe we should never play again, and if that’s something the rest of us didn’t feel, it still wasn’t something that could be easily dismissed. We all had to deal with something that we all experienced as individuals, but also with help from each other. “
At Roskilde 2000, Pearl Jam performed in front of a rain drenched crowd as part of a lineup that included other arena rockers such as Iron Maiden and Oasis. It attracted over 100,000 ticket holders to one of Northern Europe’s largest and longest-running annual outdoor gatherings. The deadly crowd crush happened during the Pearl Jam set on June 30.
As Vedder later recalled, the group had no idea what was going on until it was too late. “It was chaos,” he said in 2003. “Some people were screaming ‘thank you.’ Others, who weren’t in bad shape, would run up and say hello. Then someone was stopped, stretched out and they were blue. We immediately knew it had gone to that next level. “
He added: “There were still 40,000 people there. They were ready for the show to start again. They started singing, ‘I am still alive.’ “Alive” was going to be the next song. It was then that my brain clicked a switch. I knew I would never be the same again. “
Vedder’s new solo album Earthling arrives on February 11, 2022; he has so far released the singles “Long Way” and “The Haves” off the set. The last of Pearl Jam, Gigaton, was released last year.