Pearl Jam dedicated the first-ever concert performance of its new song “Can’t Deny Me” to the survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting and the students who participated in Wednesday’s National School Walkout.
Performing at the Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, singer Eddie Vedder told the crowd in Spanish, “This is dedicated to the incredible students in Florida, and the United States, who survived a terrible tragedy. We will all be protesting tomorrow throughout the United States.”
Vedder also paid tribute to one of the most vocal students to emerge from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, saying, “We support you all, and Emma Gonzalez, we love you. We’d like to play this for them, and us.”
The show in Chile kicked off a string of South American gigs for Pearl Jam and was their first concert since August 2016, not including a brief performance at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last April.
It was also the band’s first show since the death of their close friend and — for Vedder and drummer Matt Cameron — bandmate Chris Cornell, who took his own life last May. Vedder acknowledged the late singer by saying, “This one’s for Chris,” before the band broke into “Come Back” from its self-titled 2006 album.
“Can’t Deny Me” was released last weekend and is Pearl Jam’s first new song in five years. The band has confirmed it’s from an upcoming album, its first since 2013’s Lightning Bolt. A release date has yet to be unveiled.