During Pearl Jam‘s concert Thursday in Columbia, South Carolina, the band added to the endless chorus of artists remembering Prince, who died earlier in the day at the age of 57. “The shocking news of the day was losing an incredible musician,” Vedder told the Colonial Life Arena crowd. “All of us on this stage can tell you: That guy loved music so damn much. He never stopped playing, never stopped writing, never stopped recording, never stopped creating.
“He was dripping with songs. They’d go into the shower after he took a shower and there’d be three songs laying there. And of course, I’m talking about Prince,” Vedder said. “All of us up here were incredible fortunate to see him a number of times over the years. Some of us got to meet him a bit. He was an intense cat. If there was anyone I thought would be playing when he was 80 or 85, it was gonna be Prince. So today was a real shock.”
Vedder’s speech came after Pearl Jam had played “Even Flow,” the Ten single that Prince had previously performed an instrumental rendition of during a May 2013 concert at Minneapolis’ Myth nightclub, a version that showcased Prince’s remarkable guitar work.
“People know him from the ways he looked, and the different ways he looked, and different things he said – a lot of incredible things to remember him by,” Vedder added. “But I gotta tell you, and you just saw some great guitar playing. Prince was probably the greatest guitar player we’ve ever seen.”
Later in the concert, before the first encore, guitarist Mike McCready played the resounding opening notes of “Purple Rain” as the lights coated the stage in all purple. “He was amazing,” Vedder said of Prince. “He will be missed.”