Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Open Letter to Eddie Vedder

Dear Eddie,
Way back in the mists of time, 1993, when I was part of the Juanabees comedy troupe we once received a piece of fan mail written in about six different colours of highlighter-pen. It gushed about us and thanked us for making her summer so much fun and how she could hardly wait for our next tour. We didn't get many fan letters – I could probably count them all on my fingers – but this one stood out for one single, oddly presumptuous question and request. The young lady asked "If [we] knew Pearl Jam" and would we "please tell Eddie Vedder I love him?"
I wrote back – I answered all of our fan mail with as much whimsy as I could, we did have a reputation to uphold. I told her that "No, we don't know Pearl Jam, but next time I'm golfing with Soundgarden I'll have Chris pass on the message." That of course was a lie. I have never golfed with Soundgarden.
Fast forward to last night. I went to your show at GM Place. It was fantastic. Top ten of all time for me. And I have a sneaking suspicion that it was a pretty special one for you guys too. You pretty much told us that, but it was more than your words. It was more than the three encores that lasted longer than the main show. There was a moment during Rearviewmirror where Jeff Ament looked up at you and shared a look that I interpreted as something to the effect of "I am having the greatest fucking time, buddy – you too? Yeah I thought so."
And it was totally deserved.
I had a transcendent moment during Evenflow. That's the song that brought me in back in 1992. It's special for me. I recall those days when even for me as a performer with occasional bouts of fan-adulation that even I was prone to looking up at a stage and imbuing a demi-god image upon the rock star belting it out for us on the floor. I never actually made it to a Pearl jam concert back in those days, but had I it would have been no different. But last night as Mike, Jeff, Matt and Stone noodle away, you walked to the back corner of the stage, not far from where I sat, and you smiled and waved at the crowd. It was a far cry from those fame-hating days of yore. (Which incidentally I can appreciate to an extent. Even on our small level, I found I was constantly uncomfortable with the fan's intimate knowledge of who I was, when I was at an utter disadvantage with them.) No, this was no longer the relationship of screaming groupies, this was a friendly exchange of accepted ritual between friends. And then you returned to the main portion of the stage and you all played on. Playing the hell out of a song that we all know you could sleep through and still bring to 95% of the same intensity. But I think that is why we, the fans, are still so appreciative of you and your side of the bargain – you still top up that last 5%. That is why from the days of grunge, you are the last band standing.
Anyhow, I just wanted to say 'thanks.' Sorry I missed you at Harpo's when you were practically no-one. But I'll be back next year if you are and I'll still be standing when the lights come up. This has been a really rewarding friendship these past seventeen years, I figured that I should pass that much on seeing as I failed to tell you that "Tanya loves you."

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