June 6 [7:55 EDT] -- On a day full of surprises, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready turned up on stage during Sunday's leg of the Tibetan Freedom Concert, at one point joining R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Mike Mills. [Live at the Tibetan Freedom Concert 1.2 MB QuickTime]
Vedder, now sporting a full beard and shaggy black hair, went almost unnoticed on Saturday when he traversed the Randall's Island concert site drumming up signatures on a letter urging President Clinton to aid Tibet's struggle for freedom from Chinese rule.
However, there was no mistaking the singer when he took the stage Sunday morning with his Pearl Jam guitarist to play an unannounced opening set. Despite the fact that the singer's microphone wasn't working for the first half of the duo's first song, the crowd was still wildly cheering, apparently thirsty for any type of Pearl Jam sighting. When the vocal glitch was worked out, a roar rose from those who
were smart enough to get to the show early, and were rewarded with the surprise set.
Vedder and McCready blew through a handful of Pearl Jam tunes, before wrapping up with an almost dirge-like rendition of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World."
If the start of Sunday's show was a surprise, it was nothing compared to the shock that came over the crowd when Vedder and McCready turned up on stage with Stipe and Mills of R.E.M., and Beastie Boy Mike D on drums for a version of Iggy Pop's "The Passenger."
The R.E.M. duo had been working through a set of low-key tunes like "Electrolyte" and "New Test Leper" before being joined by their friends.
The R.E.M./Pearl Jam/Beastie Boys collaboration wasn't the only surprise at Sunday's show. We'll have more from the Tibetan Freedom Concert throughout the week, bringing you the whole story from a fan's perspective. No backstage chit-chat, no name-dropping, just a weekend's worth of music and social awareness as it