Pearl Jam helped create a once-in-a-lifetime moment for a terminally ill fan during their concert in Berlin, Germany on June 21st.
Via Live for Live Music, the fan in question, Roland Mandel, originally bought his tickets to see the band back in 2019 for their planned 2020 tour. But, of course, that tour was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in the interim, Mandel was diagnosed with ALS.
Now confined to a wheelchair as the neurodegenerative disease progresses, Mandel wasn’t able to find a handicap accessible seat at the Berlin Waldbühne, as the 12 seats set aside in the 22,000+ capacity venue had already been sold.
However, Mandel’s family and friends were not to be deterred, and decided to both write a letter to the theater explaining the situation and start a campaign on social media asking Pearl Jam to play the teacher’s favorite song from their catalog, 1993’s “Rearviewmirror” using the hashtag “#RVMforRoland.” The grassroots efforts worked, and Mandel was able to secure a view of the concert from the side of the stage.
But that’s not where the story ends. At the end of the show, Eddie Vedder and co. played a special cover of “I Believe in Miracles” by The Ramones before bringing Mandel onstage.
And while “Rearviewmirror” ultimately didn’t make the night’s setlist, the band did treat the fan to an entire stadium of more than 20,000 people cheering his name. “He should also experience his special sight; he worked his ass off to be here tonight,” Vedder told the audience.
Watch Pearl Jam’s special moment with Mandel below.
What a moment! We did it everyone. Here’s Roland getting to live out a dream and getting a wonderful ovation. @AxelPicker #RVMforRoland #pearljam pic.twitter.com/LU1z3yM1tv
— Live On 4 Legs Podcast (@liveon4legspod) June 21, 2022
Roland Mandel sitzt im Rollstuhl, ihm wurde der Zugang zur @WaldbuhneBerlin zunächst verwehrt. Denn dort fehlt es an #barrierefrei.en Plätzen – und zwar gewaltig: 12 statt der mindestens 220 (1% aller Plätze) gibt es dort.
✒️@heim_taz @PearlJam pic.twitter.com/qRY0fAcIZh
— taz (@tazgezwitscher) June 14, 2022