At the start of his spellbinding solo set at the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival — which closed out the third annual event in Franklin, Tenn. — Eddie Vedder "took a knee" on stage, expressing solidarity with the NFL players taking a stand against President Donald Trump during Sunday's games.
Pearl Jam's opinionated frontman also weighed in on Trump's tough talk concerning North Korea, and that nation's nuclear capabilities.
He told the audience he'd read that a nuclear missile fired from North Korea could reach his home in Seattle in 30 minutes, and he'd thought of his wife and his two daughters.
"What would you do? You'd scream at the sky and go, 'What the f___? How could this f___ing happen?' But at that point, that's not gonna do any good whatsoever. And if I'm not gonna be on a stage for a while, I'm gonna say it tonight, here in Nashville. What the f___? Are you kidding us? Can you please stop? Just stop."
"We all maybe need to raise our voices ..." he continued. "We need to request and desire diplomacy. It's something called diplomacy. It's something called, you know, 'outsmart your opponent.' It's called, 'get them to do the thing that you want them to do, and have them think it was their idea.' It's called, 'Quit f___ing with the lives of millions and millions of people.'"
The packed field on Harlinsdale Farm roared in approval.
"All right," Vedder added. "Now that I think that we've gotten that out of the way, I think it's gonna be a great night."
Vedder’s solo set had its share of non-partisan highlights, too. That included an appearance from Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, who unfortunately didn’t have a drumkit handy, but joined in for a few vocal harmonies.
He also brought out a teenage fan named Jack West, who’d caught Vedder’s attention just hours before on the festival grounds. West’s vocal performance blew the crowd away.
“He’s just a really cool kid,” Vedder enthused.
He also marveled at his crowd, which didn’t budge through his encore.
“It looks like there’s people all the way out to the highway, and that’s a lot of people to see a guy with a mandolin. (I’m) really grateful.”