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Pearl Jam postpones North American tour amid coronavirus concerns

Pearl Jam postpones first leg of upcoming tour over coronavirus fears
Pearl Jam postpones first leg of upcoming tour over coronavirus fears

Only a week before it was set to kick off, Pearl Jam has postponed its 2020 North American concert tour.

The news was confirmed by the legendary Seattle-based grunge band in a statement through its official website on Monday evening.

“It is with deep frustration and regret that we are forced to make this most unfortunate of announcements: this scheduled first leg of our PJ/Gigaton tour will need to be postponed and shows rescheduled for a later date,” frontman Eddie Vedder wrote.

The 16-date tour was the first reported North American tour to be cancelled amid concerns of the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus and the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19.

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The long-awaited trek was set to kick off in Toronto on March 18, with three more concerts in Canada scheduled days before the release of the band’s upcoming 11th studio album, Gigaton (March 27). To promote the album, the quintet was set to hit the U.S. for 12 additional gigs the following week.

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“We are being told that being part of large gatherings is high on the list of things to avoid as this global health crisis is now beginning to affect all of our lives,” wrote the Black singer, who did not explicitly name COVID-19 in the lengthy statement.

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“Unfortunately, communing in large groups is a huge part of what we do as a band, and the tour we’ve been busy planning for months is now in jeopardy,” he added. “We have and will always keep the safety and well-being of our supporters as top priority.”

Eddie Vedder, right, of Pearl Jam and Matt Cameron perform onstage at the 32nd annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017 in New York City.
Eddie Vedder, right, of Pearl Jam and Matt Cameron perform onstage at the 32nd annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017 in New York City. Kevin Kane/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Vedder, 55, continued to share how he and his bandmates have been affected by the virus, which has spread across the globe.

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“As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate,” he wrote. “Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.”

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Though the end result was the postponement of the entire tour — and subsequent fan disappointment — Vedder said the band “worked hard” to “find other solutions” to keep the tour going for its initially scheduled spring dates.

“The levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level,” said the singer.

“We have a unique group of passionate fans who travel far and wide. We’ve always been humbled by this and respect their energies and devotion. However in this case, travel is something to avoid.”

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Signed by “Ed & Pearl Jam,” the statement concluded: “We are so sorry… And deeply upset… If anyone out there feels the same based on this news, we share that emotion with you.”

As of this writing, the band is still set to embark on its 2020 European tour with Pixies, White Reaper and Idles this summer.

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Though ticketing information is not yet available for current ticket holders, the band has promised that Ticketmaster will soon be in touch.

It’s currently unclear when Pearl Jam will reschedule their North American tour dates, however, they have since issued an FAQ page for concerned fan.

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Vedder’s full statement can be found through the official Pearl Jam website, which lists all North American shows as “to be determined.”

Pearl Jam’s postponed 2020 North American tour dates:

** Canadian gigs are bolded below **

March 18 — Toronto, Ont. @ Scotiabank Arena
March 20 — Ottawa, Ont. @ Canadian Tire Centre
March 22 — Quebec City, Que. @ Videotron Centre
March 24 — Hamilton, Ont. @FirstOntario Centre
March 28 — Baltimore, Md. @ Royal Frams Arena
March 30 — New York, N.Y. @ Madison Square Garden
April 2 — Nashville, Tenn. @ Bridgestone Arena
April 4 — St. Louis, Mo. @ Enterprise Center
April 6 — Oklahoma City, Okla. @ Chesapeake Center
April 9 — Denver, Col. @ Pepsi Center
April 11 — Phoenix, Ariz. @ Gila River Arena
April 13 — San Diego, Calif. Viejas Arena
April 15 — Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Forum
April 16 — Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Forum
April 18 — Oakland, Calif. @ Oracle Arena
April 19 — Oakland, Calif. @ Oracle Arena

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adam.wallis@globalnews.ca