Watch: Pearl Jam Bring Tour Debuts, Tom Petty Tribute and Andrew Watt and Chad Smith to Los Angeles

May 23, 2024
Watch: Pearl Jam Bring Tour Debuts, Tom Petty Tribute and Andrew Watt and Chad Smith to Los Angeles

Photo Credit: Danny Clinch

Last night, May 22, Pearl Jam wrapped its two-night booking at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum with an astounding two-set performance. Carrying the celebration of Dark Matter–its 12th studio album, released on April 19–to the Golden State, the band bridged its storied past into its bright future with an artful collection of longtime favorites and exciting new tracks. This second date was distinguished by the sheer volume of tour debuts, returning five timeless classics to the group’s rotation, plus a loving tribute to Tom Petty, a friend and hero to frontman Eddie Vedder, who regularly renews his commitment to the legacy of the late icon.

Pearl Jam kicked off its first set with “Long Road” from Merkin Ball, the group’s 1995 collaborative EP with Neil Young, who originally contributed pump organ to the track; Vedder dedicated this first track to his uncle John. After cycling through live staples “Nothingman” and “Present Tense,” the band staged a thundering run through “Go,” the lead single from 1993’s Vs. which arrived as the first tour debut of the evening. Next, the band turned over to new material, reciting Dark Matter cuts “Scared of Fear,” “React” and the exhilarating and harmonious standout “Wreckage” before unleashing 1998’s fan favorite “Untitled” for the first time this year. The grunge legends followed with two more tour debuts, unearthing “MFC” from 1998’s Yield and “All Those Yesterdays,” a deeper cut from the same album staged only 24 times in the band’s three decades on the cutting edge.

Pearl Jam continued through its first frame with more essentials and fresh tracks, reaching a notable highlight with the heavy-hitter “Black,” fondly remembered as the band’s first runaway hit and treasured by fans as one of its finest works still. To bring its soul-stirring treatment of this stone-cold classic to new heights, the group attached a tag of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” delivered by lead guitarist Mike McCready in a fiery solo. Watch a fan-recorded video of this memorable performance below.

This tag proved prophetic in the second set when the band once again staged what is rapidly becoming a trademark. After closing the previous set with a tour debut of 2006’s “Comatose” and “Porch,” the band returned to the stage behind Vedder, who stepped into the spotlight alone for a solo version of “I Won’t Back Down.” Vedder’s chilling moment of reverence for the dearly departed country star was made all the more powerful by the fact that it was delivered on Petty’s guitar, which the artist gifted to him. This marked the fourth time the frontman has saluted Petty on the tour, and the band’s 24th approach to the cover since 1994.

Finally, as the concert came to a close, the band brought on one last surprise for its Los Angeles fans. For the penultimate song in the second set, the band welcomed tour opener Deep Sea Diver to support its well-traveled cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” plus icons, longtime collaborators and friends Andrew Watt and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith. Watt recently advanced his creative relationship with Pearl Jam as the producer for Dark Matter, and Watt, Smith and Vedder toured together in 2022 to support Vedder’s solo project Earthling, bringing the Young cover to nine of its dates. Watch a fan-recorded video of the exhilarating track below.

Pearl Jam will perform again on Saturday, May 25, to headline BottleRock Napa Valley in Napa, Calif., then wrap the first leg of its North American tour with a pair of hometown shows at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena on May 28 and 30. For tickets and more information, visit

Read on for the complete setlist from Wednesday night.

Pearl Jam
Kia Forum – Los Angeles

Set I: Long Road*, Nothingman, Present Tense, Go+, Scared of Fear, React, Respond, Wreckage, Untitled+, MFC+, All Those Yesterdays+, Even Flow, Dark Matter, Corduroy, Won’t Tell, Black, Waiting for Stevie, Comatose+, Porch
Set II: I Won’t Back Down^, Dance of the Clairvoyants, Do the Evolution, Jeremy, Alive, Smile, Rockin’ in the Free World%, Setting Sun

* Dedicated to Eddie Vedder’s Uncle John
+ Tour debut
# w/ Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” tag
^ Tom Petty cover. Eddie Vedder solo, dedicated to Tom Petty and played with his guitar.
% Neil Young cover. w/ Deep Sea Diver, Andrew Watt and Chad Smith.