Legendary rock band Pearl Jam enlisted the help of a teenage fan to get them through their Oakland show after the group’s drummer fell ill with COVID-19.
After learning that the band’s regular drummer Matt Cameron was unable to make it, 18-year-old Kai Neukermans decided to take matters into his own hands.
The teen couldn’t believe his luck when he was invited up on stage Friday to perform the band’s hit track, “Mind Your Manners,” after bravely telling them he was up to the task.
“Everybody, this is Kai; Kai, this is everybody,” frontman Eddie Vedder introduced the high school student to the crowd in a video shared on the band’s YouTube channel. “You’re leading the band, brother.”
Prior to sharing the stage with Pearl Jam at Oakland Arena in California, Kai and his brother, Manoa Neukermans, returned from watching the band perform in Los Angeles, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
To get noticed by the four-time Grammy award-winning rockers, Kai texted Vedder’s daughter, Olivia Vedder, after finding her number on his phone following a 2018 encounter.
The teen — a senior at Mill Valley’s Tamalpais High School — offered to sit in on the drums for her father’s group.
“It was a last-minute thing, and I didn’t think it was going to work out,” he told the San Fransisco Chronicle.
Kai’s text got the ball rolling and was soon invited to send a video of him drumming along to a Pearl Jam track, which he admittedly skipped school to do.
The aspiring musician recorded a video of himself playing along to “Mind Your Manners” from the group’s 2013 album, “Lightning Bolt.”
Within an hour, the band’s tour manager told him to come down to the stadium for a quick trial run.
Even though the band already secured Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, and Oakland drummer, Richard Stuverud, to sit in for Cameron, they agreed to let Kai rock out to one song.
“My heart started racing when everyone started screaming and my heart skipped a beat,” the teen added.
The teen’s brief stint on stage proved to be a success among 20,000 screaming fans, who couldn’t stop cheering for him.
“I tried to stay as focused as possible and watch the other band members and just tried not to look at the crowd because it was freaking me out,” he added.