Pearl Jam has joined Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Ani DiFranco, Cirque du Soleil and others in protest over the state’s controversial “bathroom bill,” canceling their planned Raleigh, North Carolina concert. But Monday night in Virginia, frontman Eddie Vedder elaborated on their decision, explaining why they weren’t soldiering ahead like Mumford and Sons, Duran Duran and others, channeling profits into awareness for the deeply divisive HB2 bill, which encourages and enables discrimination against an entire group of American citizens.
“We thought we could take the money and give it to them and still play the show, but the reality is there is nothing like the immense power of boycotting and putting a strain,” Vedder said before the band’s first encore, “and it’s a shame because people are going to affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna affect change, so again, we just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement so…”
“We had to make a real tough call about what we would do about the situation in North Carolina,” he continued. “Because they have a law there that broadly discriminates against a whole group of people. I can’t tell from here if you are booing North Carolina, if you’re booing us for having to decide that we are not gonna play there. I would understand that too.”
Vedder then dedicated a gorgeous cover of Steven Van Zandt’s I Am a Patriot to the “soldiers in the LGBT community.”
“So we apologize to those in Raleigh, we apologize to those who are going to Raleigh, we apologize to the locals who probably believe in the same things that we do,” Vedder said. “They have a reason to be pissed, and we’re pissed off too. But we gotta be pissed off at the right people and get them to change their minds because they made a mistake, a big mistake and they can fix it.”
Now do yourself a favor. Go back and watch I am a Patriot, beginning just after two minutes into the clip.
…and the rivers shall open for the righteous, someday.
Photo: Johnny Firecloud