"Hey Chris, why are we doing this?" Eddie Vedder asked Chris Cornell one cold Arizona night, looking out at the sea of fans gathered for Temple of the Dog's Lollapalooza set on September 8th, 1992. "We're just going to make fools of ourselves." The Pearl Jam singer had every reason to air his concerns to the Soundgarden singer: although grunge was on the rise when Vedder and Cornell made their first Lolla appearance, the genre's cultural omnipresence wouldn't take hold for several months. The musicians' turgid racket proved a hit with audiences back home in Seattle, but how would it play out in the desert at America's hottest festival?
That's a trick question, of course. As two of the biggest luminaries in rock at the time, Vedder and Cornell had everything to gain and nothing to lose, so they strapped on their guitars and proceeded to deliver an intimate stripped-down take on "Hunger Strike," the standout single from Temple of the Dog's eponymous 1991 album. The crowd swelled up to meet them, their roaring choruses filling the desert with mirth — and and thus, one of the most legendary alt-rock performances was born.
Cornell and Vedder reprised their triumphant Lollapalooza duet on several occasions prior to the former musician's death last May, reuniting for "Hunger Strike" at a handful of Pearl Jam shows throughout the aughts. Their final duet took place on October 26th, 2014, during Vedder and Co.'s set at the Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, California.