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Stolen plane flew by Pearl Jam show on Sub Pop Day Eve + Save Seattle’s Showbox

Pearl Jam Mudhoney Soundgarden
members of Pearl Jam, Soudgarden & Mudhoney at Safeco Field

What a few days to be in Seattle!

Pearl Jam played a pair of shows at Safeco Field on Wednesday and Friday (8/10), shows considered extra special due to to their location in the grunge superstars’ hometown and because the shows reportedly raised over $1 million dollars to help with homelessness. On night one of the “Home Shows” they brought out Brandi Carlilewho gets around lately — to sing on her song “Again Today” which they recently recorded a cover of. The 33 song setlist also included covers of Neil Young, Pink Floyd and White Stripes (watch that one and other videos below).

Night two — which was also the first night of Seattle record label Sub Pop’s 30th anniversary festival in the same town — was even more special since Eddie Vedder and band covered fellow Seattle legend and collaborator Chris Cornell‘s song “Missing” from the 1992 Poncier EP (a song that later appeared on the Singles soundtrack reissue bonus disc, and in the setlist of the Temple of the Dog reunion shows), and then later brought out Chris’ Soundgarden bandmate Kim Thayil for a cover of MC5 classic “Kick Out the Jams” during the first encore (reminder: Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron is also Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron). Kim (wearing a Cornell shirt) returned during the second encore along with surprise guests Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney to play two punk covers: “Search and Destroy” by Iggy and the Stooges (not Mark & Steve’s first time doing it with the band), and “Sonic Reducer” by Dead Boys (also not Mark’s first time doing it with the band). Pearl Jam’s 36 song setlist that night also included Mother Love Bone song “Crown of Thorns.” Videos are at the end of this post.

That’s all very exciting, but none of it is close to as crazy as what went on in the sky near the Pearl Jam show on Friday night…

Yes, that plane (not to be confused with the Sub Pop plane) stolen from Seattle airport by airport worker Richard Russell went very close to the show. It’s a very scary thing to think about. As the News Tribune puts it:

The man used that tow knowledge to rotate the plane 180 degrees while it was parked in a cargo area Friday evening, Alaska officials said. After that, he started the plan, taxied to a runway and took off.

He appeared to be suicidal, based on his conversations with air traffic control. But the potential for a disaster, if Rich had wished to harm others, is sobering.

As the incident unfolded in the skies over Puget Sound, a Pearl Jam concert was being held at Safeco Field, and the plane traveled over highly populated residential and commercial areas.

Unfortunately that incident did end with Richard losing his own life when the plane crashed on Ketron Island, but thankfully nobody else was hurt in the process.

Meanwhile, a lot of Pearl Jam fans didn’t stick around town for the weekend…

…but the more indie Sub Pop Festival had its big day on Saturday — also now known as Sub Pop Day thanks to the mayor of Seattle — with more Mudhoney, sets by Beach House, Father John Misty, a Fastbacks reunion, Wolf Parade, and many more. A lot of it was professionally shot by KEXP who have all the footage up on YouTube.

Last but NOT LEAST, iconic Seattle music hall The Showbox may be replaced by apartments, so a campaign is now underway to help save the historic space. Over 170 artists — including Pearl Jam, the living members of Nirvana including Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, members of Soundgarden, members of Guns N Roses, members of of R.E.M., Stone Temple Pilots, Dave Matthews, Sleater-Kinney, Katy Perry, Brandi Carlile, Bob Mould, The Black Keys, Conor Oberst, A$AP Ferg, Fleet Foxes, Fred Armisen, Guided by Voices, Jason Isbell, My Morning Jacket, Neko Case, The War on Drugs, The Shins, The xx, Odesza, The Decemberists, Death Cab For Cutie, Grizzly Bear, Superchunk, Spoon, Low, Luna, Devo, Ted Leo, The National, The New Pornographers, Mudhoney, Wolf Parade, The Afghan Whigs, Jimmy Eat World, Thrice, The Damned, X, Jello Biafra, Train, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and many more have signed a letter in favor of landmarking The Showbox before it’s too late! It was printed in the Seattle Times and looks like this:

The group is led by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Duff McKagan of Guns n’ Roses, Macklemore, and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.

The letter notes, “For nearly 80 years, The Showbox has been home to some of Seattle’s biggest cultural moments, from Duke Ellington to Buffalo Springfield, The Police, The Ramones, James Brown, Heart, Ellen DeGeneres, Eminem, Soundgarden, Coldplay, Robin Williams, Chris Stapleton, Prince, and beyond. Despite this venue’s iconic status, it is under threat. The Onni Group, a BC-based developer, plans to tear down The Showbox, to build a 44-story luxury residential tower in its place. We cannot let this happen.”

The group is working with an advocacy coalition led by Historic Seattle to advance several policy solutions that can help protect The Showbox. In addition to designating the venue as a historic landmark, the letter urges people to take meaningful action to support the effort by contacting Seattle’s City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan.

More info on how to join the fight HERE.

Videos from the Pearl Jam shows:

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