When is a cover song better than the original? Only you can decide. This week Pearl Jam And Robert Pollard take on the Who’s “Baba O’Reilly.” MAGNET’s Edward Fairchild pulls the pin. Take cover!
On Dec. 3, 1979, 11 fans were killed during a Who concert at Cincinnatti’s Riverfront Coliseum. Robert Pollard was in attendance as a fan. Twenty-six years later, on June 24, 2006, Pollard opened for Pearl Jam at the same venue. Coincidentally, the concert would fall almost exactly six years to the day of the tragic accident that occured during a Pearl Jam concert in Roskilde, Denmark, where nine fans died in similar circumstances to the Who show. Given Pollard and Vedder’s virtually unmatched adoration of the Who, the history of the night was undoubtedly on everyone’s minds, with a tearful, heart-wrenching rendition of “Love Boat Captain” (a song Vedder wrote as a tribute for the victims of the Roskilde accident) and Pearl Jam bookending its set with covers of “The Kids Are Alright” and this life-affirming duet of “Baba O’Reilly” with Pollard. If you know where to look in this video, you can spot yours truly up front, pumping my fist. Certainly one of the most emotional concerts I’ve ever seen. Watch the entire arena absolutely erupt when Pollard does his high kick around the 1:40 mark.