An extraordinary story
In 1992, when performing a show in Utrecht with Pearl Jam, Vedder met a fan called Valeska Custers at a concert. After the show, they met at a cafe and talked until 3am, at which point Custers took Vedder back to his hotel on her brother’s bicycle.
Last weekend when performing in Amsterdam, Vedder took time mid-gig to reminisce about that evening and asked the audience if Custers was there. “I remember her hair kept flinging against my face,” Vedder recounted. “I am almost certain that I would still recognise her face.”
Whilst Custers was not at the show in question, she heard about Vedder’s call out via a Dutch newspaper reporter who managed to track her down, and she shared her memories of the evening in an interview with Het Partool.
Recalling the evening, Custers said that she wasn’t at the gig to see Pearl Jam, but the band’s support, City Pig Unit. Backstage, she was approached by Vedder. “How do you like my new tattoo?’ he asked. I told him I liked it,” Custers recalled, adding: “He was extremely shy, but I really felt a connection with him.”
They later met at a cafe and talked until 3am, when Custers offered to call Vedder a taxi to his hotel. Instead, Vedder took a bike ride with Custers through the city where the two stopped to take photographs on the way back.
“He asked – do you have a bike? He wanted to ride on the back,” Custers remembered. While on the back of the bike, Vedder held Custers’ backpack which contained a flannel shirt which Vedder reportedly borrowed. After exchanging goodbyes, Vedder returned to his hotel but took the backpack with him by mistake.
Custers revelled to Het Partool that she did attempt to contact Vedder over the years, but to no avail. “I have thought about it so many times, but I didn’t know how I would arrange it. It would be great to meet again. He kinda feels like my soulmate.”
Someone in Vedder’s backing band spotted the interview, with his tour manager later inviting Custers to a solo show Vedder played in Brussels. Backstage, the two finally met again, with Vedder telling Custers: “You still have the same smile.”
The two reportedly discussed their families and shared memories of the evening, with Custers remembering that when she offered to call Vedder a taxi, she had no money. Vedder, meanwhile, said he also wanted to give Custers the shirt back: “I made you write down your address in order to do so. I’m not sure if I still have it now, but I kept it for years at least.” Custers told Vedder that he could keep it.
In other news, Vedder paid tribute to the Oscar-winning film A Star Is Born earlier this year (March 3) when he covered the song ‘Maybe It’s Time’ during a gig in Arizona.
Vedder served as a primary inspiration for Bradley Cooper in his approach to playing his A Star Is Born character Jackson Maine. However, it emerged that Vedder had voiced concerns about the acclaimed reboot to its director.
Vedder is well-known for performing notable covers during his live shows: last September, he covered The Smiths with Johnny Marr while he took on a Beatles classic during an acoustic show in July 2018.