Pearl Jam‘s 2016 tour has seen the band celebrating their 25th anniversary onstage by digging into the deep recesses of their catalog, whether it is full album performances of Ten, Vs. and Binaural or unexpected covers of Sting and Doobie Brothers cuts. At the band’s headlining gig at Telluride, Colorado’s Ride Festival Saturday, Pearl Jam whipped out another surprise, playing their 1993 Christmas single “Angel” for the first time since 1994.
“Some of you may know that this next song doesn’t get played much and some of you may not.” Vedder told the crowd prior to the performance (via Stereogum). “It was written by the guy who was our drummer. Dave Abbruzzese, We wish him well.”
Abbruzzese joined Pearl Jam soon after the recording of Ten to serve as the band’s drummer for the tour in support of their 1991 debut LP. The drummer remained part of Pearl Jam through Vs. and for the majority of Vitalogy; he was ultimately fired in 1994 and replaced by Jack Irons. In 2015, two warrants for Abbruzzese’s arrest were issued in Denton, Texas stemming from controlled substance charges.
Pearl Jam has only played “Angel” a handful of times live, including an acoustic run-through at the 1992 Bridge School benefit concert where Abbruzzese played guitar.
“Angel” wasn’t the only Christmas singer to get a receive a rare performance Saturday: “Santa Cruz,” off the band’s 2009 Christmas single, was played live by Pearl Jam for the first time since 2010 and for the second time ever.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) July 10, 2016