Pearl Jam‘s concert at Chicago’s United Center on Thursday, September 7, turned into a surprise ceremony in honor of hockey star Chris Chelios.
During the show, frontman Eddie Vedder invited Chelios onstage to inform him that the Chicago Blackhawks would be retiring his jersey number. In addition to having played for the Blackhawks for many years during his historic Hall of Fame career, Chelios is also originally from the Windy City.
“The band and I are deeply honored to be the ones who get to tell you in front of all these fine people that before [Blackhawks owner] Mr. [Rocky] Wirtz passed, it was one of his last wishes that you would be honored,” Vedder told Chelios.
The Blackhawks posted footage of the moment on social media. Chelios’ jersey will officially be retired during a pregame ceremony held February 25, 2024.
Chelios, by the way, wasn’t the only athlete to get a shoutout during PJ’s Chicago show. In footage posted by the United Center, Vedder told a story about how Chicago Bulls player Dennis Rodman, who’s a well-known Pearl Jam fan, gave Eddie’s grandmother his jersey after Game 1 against the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 NBA Finals.
“[My grandmother] was so inspired, she had this jersey and showed it off to all her friends, and then she ended up getting this massive back tattoo of Dennis,” Vedder joked. Or, at least, we think he was joking.
As for the actual music, the show’s set list included a cover of The Rolling Stones song “Street Fighting Man.”
Pearl Jam’s tour continues Sunday, September 10, in Indianapolis.
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