Members of the rock band Pearl Jam made a teenager’s dream come true Friday when they offered him a chance to fill in for drummer Matt Cameron during a concert at the Oakland Arena in California.
When Cameron contracted COVID-19, the band secured former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and Oakland drummer Richard Stuverud as replacements, but a chance encounter inspired the band to invite a local teenager to play one song with them, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The band invited 18-year-old Kai Neukermans to share the stage after Neukermans reached out to frontman Eddie Vedder’s daughter by text message. He had saved her number after meeting her at a music festival in 2018, according to the outlet.
Neukermans told her he was up for the task of filling in on stage, but he didn’t think anything would actually come of it, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “It was a last-minute thing, and I didn’t think it was going to work out,” he said.
The band reportedly asked Neukermans to share a video of his drumming skills with them, and the Tamalpais High School senior said he left school early in order to prepare a recording of “Mind Your Manners” from the 2013 Pearl Jam album “Lightning Bolt,” according to the San Fransisco Chronicle. The tour manager for the band then invited the teen to the stadium, and arrangements were made for him to perform a song with Pearl Jam, reported the outlet. (RELATED: Pink Floyd Breaks 28-Year Silence To Aid Ukrainian Citizens)
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In front of an arena full of screaming fans, Vedder announced Neukermans to the stage, and the young man rose to the occasion for the epic experience, according to the outlet. “Everybody, this is Kai. Kai, this is everybody,” Vedder said in a video posted to YouTube. “We’re ready when you are. You’re leading the band, brother.”
The video shows Neukermans rocking out to “Mind Your Manners” as the crowd cheered him and the band on with enthusiasm.
“My heart started racing when everyone started screaming and my heart skipped a beat,” Neukermans said, according to Page Six. “I tried to stay as focused as possible and watch the other band members and just tried not to look at the crowd because it was freaking me out.”