Before playing the song, the vocalist explains that being anti-war can make people 'pro peace, pro human, pro evolution' and even 'pro soldier.'
For the first time in his career, Pearl Jam's frontman Eddie Vedder covered John Lennon's classic "Imagine" during a live concert. The singer, appearing at the Super Bock Super Rock festival in Portugal late last week, was accompanied only by an acoustic guitar when playing the track.
"This next song, I've always thought is the most powerful song ever written, which is why I've never played it," Vedder told the crowd prior to the performance, as quoted by Consequence of Sound. "It seems like maybe there is a reason to play it."
Earlier this month, Vedder got criticized after he made an anti-war comment during a show in England. He didn't mention any specific conflicting country, but some people accused him of being anti-Israel as the comment was made amid the escalating military tensions between Israel and Palestine.
A few days later, the outspoken musician took to Pearl Jam's website to clarify his anti-war comment, saying, "The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war. War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on." He also quoted Lennon's "Imagine" in the post.
During the Portugal gig, Vedder also explained that being anti-war could save a lot of soldiers. "Well, so anti war make you pro many things. Pro peace, pro human, pro evolution, makes you pro communication, pro diplomacy, pro love, pro understanding, pro forgiveness," he said.
"You know some people don't understand how you can be pro soldier. If you are anti war your pro soldier because you don't want the soldier to be put in harms way. To sacrifice himself or herself for some reason that's not... for no good reason," he added.