Hall of Fame alt-rock band Pearl Jam just canceled their next two scheduled concerts in Sacramento and Las Vegas because of COVID-19. The band’s bassist Jeff Ament tested positive for the virus overnight, less than a week after drummer Matt Cameron also tested positive.
“While the band battled through Oakland after drummer Matt Cameron tested positive for COVID, and Fresno where Ed and the band got through it with the help of Dave Krusen as special guest drummer, they now have to present the heartbreaking news that this morning bassist Jeff Ament has tested positive for COVID,” Pearl Jam said in a statement posted to social media, UCR reports.
“This is horrible for everybody involved and we are especially sorry to those out there who have made plans to attend these shows,” they continued. “Our attention to staying inside the bubble has been constant. We have truly done all that we could have to remain clear of infection. Regretfully, [we are cancelling] the Sacramento and Las Vegas shows. Ticket refunds will be automatically processed to ticket holders’ method of purchase. We are so very sorry. Be safe out there.”
Pearl Jam salvaged their previous two concerts thanks to some special guests on the drum kit
More than thirty years after founding Pearl Jam, the band’s original drummer, Dave Krusen, recently took over for his first concert performance since exiting the band in 1991. The group’s current drummer, Matt Cameron, missed the Fresno, Calif., show due to illness, so Krusen picked up where he left off all those years ago.
Luckily for Krusen, the band played many songs from their debut album, which the old drummer surely still knew by heart.
“When this all went down with Matt the other day, we started thinking about all the other people that — you know, we’ve been through some great drummers … some of the best,” Eddie Vedder said to the live crowd. “You know, that first record [Ten] seems to be a record that affected so many people. But our friend who played drums at that time [only played a limited amount of shows at the time]. Well, it looks like this week we’re going to get to make up for that.”
Pearl Jam also used a few other drummers while waiting for Cameron to recover. Last week at two shows, two fans — Josh Arroyo on May 12 and Kai Neukermans on May 13 — sat behind the kit for some songs. Touring member Josh Klinghoffer and Oakland-based drummer Richard Stuverud also juggled fill-in duties in the meantime.
“It was a last-minute thing, and I didn’t think it was going to work out,” Neukermans, 18, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Neukermans, a high school student, is a friend to Vedder’s teenage daughter. “My heart started racing when everyone started screaming and my heart skipped a beat.”