Eddie Vedder had a reaction to fellow musician Mark Lanegan’s passing this week that was not just tantamount to each-Seattle-rocker’s-death-diminishes me — he felt it deeply viscerally, as he described it during a concert at the city’s Benaroya Hall Tuesday night.
“We felt good last night and excited… and then I got here at 4:00 and all of a sudden, my body started shaking a little bit,” Vedder told the crowd. “And I started to feel really terrible, and I think it was because I was having an allergic reaction to sadness. Because we lost.. um… “
Although most of the crowd required little explanation for what provoked the overwhelming melancholy, Vedder made it clear in the remarks that followed. “There’s a guy called Mark Lanegan. There are a lot of really great musicians; some people know Seattle because of the musicians that have come out of the great Northwest. Some of those guys were one-of-a-kind singers. And Mark was certainly that, and with such a strong voice.”
In fan-shot video that has been posted online, he continues, “It’s hard to come to terms, at least at this point, that, yeah, he’s going to be deeply missed, and at least we will always have his voice to listen to, and his words and his books to read — he wrote two incredible books in the last few years.” (Vedder was referring to the memoirs “Sing Backwards and Weep” and “Devil in a Coma.”)
“So I just wanted to process it and put it out there (and) let his wife and loved ones know that people in his old stomping grounds are thinking about him and love him.”
Lanegan, the frontman for Screaming Trees and a one-time member of Queens of the Stone Age as well as prolific solo artist, died Tuesday at age 57.
It was, of course, pure coincidence that the tour schedule led Vedder to be in the hometown he shared with a fallen hero to the city’s rock community on the day of his death. The locale was cause for some joy, too, as the singer said, “It’s Seattle…so I know a lot of you,” the Pearl Jam frontman said, in an understatement.
Vedder’s short tour behind his new solo album, “Earthling,” was to have climaxed with this homecoming show, but he still has two dates left on the agenda after all. Shows at L.A.’s new YouTube Theatre and San Diego’s Magnolia that were to have transpired last week were postponed due to positive COVID tests in the touring team; they are now slated as tour-enders on Feb. 25 and 27, respectively.