My Night at Hot Stove Cool Music: A Great Event for a Great Cause

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Hot Stove Cool Music charity event at Metro in Chicago.┬áBenefiting Theo Epstein’s charity “Foundation To Be Named Later,” the event featured a number of musicians and Cubs players and personnel. The organization aids urban youth and families.

The night was headlined by the one and only Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, making for a truly surreal experience.

Full disclosure: I’m not a Pearl Jam super-fan, but I do like and respect their music and I’ve seen them a handful of times before. But I have to say, having the chance to see Eddie Vedder perform in a small venue like Metro — that was really special.

The event also featured other performers such as John Stirratt (the bass player from Wilco), Brendan Bayliss (guitarist with Umphrey’s McGee), Len Kasper, and Matt Spiegel. Jimmy Chamberlain, drummer and co-founder of Smashing Pumpkins was scheduled to be there, but I didn’t see him perform.

Here are some highlights:

* The “Chicago” all-stars (including Kasper and Spiegel) kicking things off with “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” by the Cars. Great rendition. I love the Cars, so I was really happy to hear them play this.

* Jason Motte, Travis Wood, Jason Hammel and Jose Cardenal (Eddie Vedder’s favorite Cub) joined the guys on stage to help with the J. Geils Band’s “Love Stinks.” It was a pretty funny moment. This song always makes me think of the Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler.

* Bayliss took lead vocals on the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind.” Loved this. Bayliss is a member of Umprhey’s McGee, one of my favorite bands. I wish he got more time on stage, but with so much talent in attendance, there was only so much to go around. The guys in Umprhey’s are big Cubs fans. It would be cool to see them perform at Wrigley one day.

* Finally, Eddie took the stage solo. He opened with the Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” Hard to dislike this song.

* He busted out the electric guitar for covers of the Talking Heads’ “Building on Fire” (great song) and The Band’s “The Weight.”

* Perhaps fittingly, Eddie and the gang paid tribute to The Who with “The Kids Are Alright.” Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell would approve. Shameless plug, but for a post I wrote at the end of last year, I chose this very song as one of my highlights of the Cubs’ 2014 season.

* Eddie headed to the keyboard at one point for a rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” Didn’t see this one coming. Thumbs up.

* In terms of Pearl Jam songs, Eddie broke out “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town” and “Corduroy.” If there was one Pearl Jam song I would ask for, it’d probably be Corduroy, so that was pretty awesome. Theo Epstein was on stage playing guitar for both of these tunes. Once again I had to kind of pinch myself and realize I was witnessing Eddie Vedder performing these songs — not in front of a massive festival crowd, but an intimate setting such as the Metro.

And here are some random pics I took. Such a fun night. It was a great event, and it was for a really good cause. I’d definitely recommend it in the future for Cubs and music fans.

Eddie and a bunch of Cubs players (and Joe Maddon):

Eddie and Cubs

Eddie crowd-surfing and playing guitar at the same time:

Crowd surf

Theo jamming out to “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World”:

Free World


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