Pearl Jam and Jack White have come together on a series of occasions to perform material by one another or, on occasion, to just cover each other in concert. That said, perhaps the greatest collaboration between these two visionaries came in 2018 when they took on Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’.
The summer of 2018 was the summer of love for Pearl Jam and Jack White, the two bands sharing a number of poignant memories together as they found themselves playing the same festival and gig circuit which began in July at Portugal’s NOS Alive.
The Seattle grunge icons headed up the bill at the European bash which also welcomed performances from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Queens of The Stone Age and The National across the weekend but as Pearl Jam’s set followed Jack White’s then why not get him on board?
Their setlist was everything you would want from your headliner on the final night of the festival, with their encore including covers of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd. Topping that is a hard task but it’s an occasion that Pearl Jam had no trouble in rising to with the help of a very special guest.
During ‘Porch’ they hinted at the arrival of White by including a shortened instrumental version of ‘Seven Nation Army’ but following that they played ‘Alive’ and fans may have assumed all hope was lost. Then, to end their lengthy 25-song set, they performed a wonderous version of Neil Young’s timeless ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’.
Covering Neil Young was a no-brainer for the duo considering they have both respectively played on his records over the years. With the Seattle grunge icons lending a hand on Neil Young’s 1995 album Mirror Ball as well as sharing the stage with him many times over the years. Meanwhile, White co-produced and played on A Letter Home by Young which was released on Third Man Records in 2014 — so it’s safe to assume their cover of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ will have raised a smile on his face.
The bromance continued a few weeks later when Pearl Jam made their return to Seattle on August 8th with a huge show at Safeco Field where they performed a splendid performance of ‘We’re Going to Be Friends’ by The White Stripes during their hometown show. Therefore, when Jack White performed in Seattle a matter of days later, he reciprocated the love with a gorgeous cover of ‘Daughter’ at his WaMu Theater show.
For now though, check out the perfect way to end a festival headline show courtesy of Pearl Jam and Jack White, below.