Original Pearl Jam Drummer Plays First Multi-Song Performance With Band in 31 Years
Pearl Jam have been rotating drummers of late while their longtime drummer Matt Cameron remains away from the band after testing positive for COVID-19. That's allowed for some unique opportunities, as Josh Klinghoffer has shown off his jack-of-all-trades ability, Richard Stuverud has been sitting in as well, and they've welcome guest audience drummers to the stage. But during their Monday stop (May 16) in Fresno, California, the group welcomed back one of their old drummers who last jammed with them at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Dave Krusen was the band's original drummer, and his name has come up prior on this run as he was in the audience during the group's May 6 show at the Kia Forum on Los Angeles. But, on this night, at the Fresno Save Mart Center, it was time for Krusen to step back behind the kit for the band.
In introducing Krusen, Eddie Vedder reflected back to the Rock Hall ceremonies and the opportunity it provided them to reconnect with past members. "The part that was the most rewarding was seeing some old friends, seeing some old bandmates and some people we hadn't seen in quite a long time and we had our friend come out to Seattle. He came up and only played a couple of songs, but when this went down with Matt [Cameron] the other day, we started thinking about all the other people …. you know we've been through some great drummers (chuckles), and some of the best, and we have the best currently."
He continued, "That first record seems to be a record that affected so many people. But our friend who was playing drums with us at that time, the amount of shows he got to play with us was very limited. Well, it looks like this week we're going to make up for that."
While Krusen had joined Pearl Jam for "Alive" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Fresno show marked the first time he'd been behind the kit for multiple songs with the band since May 25, 1991. And given Krusen's ties to the Ten album, the setlist for this night leaned heavy in that direction.
After a wave of acknowledgement to the crowd, Krusen settled in for a mid-set stretch that included "Once," "Why Go," "Even Flow," "Garden" and "Black." But his duties for the night were not done, as he later returned for "Porch" just ahead of the encore songs "Jeremy," "Deep," "State of Love and Trust" and "Alive." That meant only two songs from the band's. breakout record were not played by Krusen – "Oceans" and "Release."
Ironically, Krusen was initially asked to audition for Pearl Jam after being recruited by Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, who were unable to secure Matt Cameron due to his duties with Soundgarden. The drummer was with the band through recording of their Ten album, but left soon after citing "personal problems" as he checked himself into rehab.
Check out the setlist from the Fresno show below, as well as fan-shot footage of Krusen's introduction and performance behind the kit with Pearl Jam on "Once" below.