Pete Townshend may well be famed for his electrifying performances with The Who but that doesn’t mean he can’t strip it all back when he so desires. That’s exactly what he did when he joined Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder for a performance of ‘Better Man’.
Below, we’ve gathered the footage from 1999 which sees the two heavyweights of crock share the stage for a rendition of Vedder’s most personal anthem. It’s a stunning performance that has left us dreaming of potential collaborations.
Townshend was touring North America when he arrived in Chicago’s House of Blues to perform a set chock full of Who classics and songs from the guitarist’s solo career. Yet he allowed Eddie Vedder to take the spotlight midway through the set with a stunning performance of ‘Better Man’.
The special guest stayed around for a while too. The duo sang Rough Mix cut ‘Heart to Hang Onto’ as well as songs like ‘I’m One’, ‘Magic Bus’, ‘Let’s See Action’ and ‘Till the Rivers All Run Dry’ a cover of the Don Williams song.
“The last couple of days, spending time with Pete has taught me new things about music and new things as a human,” Vedder said reflecting on the acoustic sound which allowed for more audience chatter. “One of those things is to say what you feel – and I feel like you people talking between songs are driving me nuts.”
Only a few months later and Townshend’s short solo tour was over and he was back working with The Who. Though Townshend would return to the electrified sound of The Who, his performance with Eddie Vedder as an acoustic accoutrement will go down as one of his best.
Equally, Vedder has sung this song countless times, often sharing it with some incredible musical heroes. But this performance sings out like no other.
Watch Eddie Vedder and Pete Townshend perform an acoustic ‘Better Man’ back in 1999.