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Pearl Jam Play Montana Political Fundraiser + Reveal New Album Progress

Troy Augusto, Getty Images

Pearl Jam made good on playing their lone political fundraiser as a full band this past weekend, packing the Adams Center in Missoula, Mont., to help out the re-election campaign of Sen. Jon Tester.

The group has personal ties to Tester, as bassist Jeff Ament grew up with the senator in a small Montana town. “I can vouch for how much he cares for Montana,” said Ament at a pre-show event. “I couldn’t be prouder to be up here with the band.” The senator and his wife were seated alongside Pearl Jam fan club members watching the show.

Tester told Billboard that the show was not the traditional campaign fundraiser, but they did sell some premium ticket packages. However, the Senator says the primary goal was “to get people to vote and have fun in the process. If we can get everybody to vote who is eligible, that’s really what’s most important. And then everything will turn out right.”

While Pearl Jam do tend to work in a few cover songs into their sets, the band added several that were very specific to the issues at hand. They rocked through the Clash‘s ‘Know Your Rights,’ Neil Young‘s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World,’ and Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s ‘Fortunate Son.’ They would also perform MC5‘s rocking anthem ‘Kick Out the Jams’ with longtime cohorts Mudhoney, who opened the show.

As is typical, Eddie Vedder, who recently played solo for a Barack Obama benefit, took the chance to speak openly to the audience. In this case, he used the platform to discuss Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, stating, “The candidate on the other side talks as if 47 percent of people are living off the country, taking welfare and living on food stamps. The person that said that has never had the thrill or terror of walking on the tightrope without a net. He doesn’t understand that that doesn’t represent half the country. We can all agree on that. Only maybe one percent can relate to him.”

Meanwhile, Mike McCready, speaking with Folha de S. Paulo, opened up about the progress of their latest album. The told the Brazilian press, “There are seven songs recorded and at least 15 ideas on which we’re working. But we’re taking it slowly. Eddie Vedder is on a solo tour. Matt [Cameron] is playing with Soundgarden, and I’m playing with Duff McKagan.”

Next: Pearl Jam: Top 21st Century Hard Rock Songs

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