Skip to main content

See Mike McCready destroy his guitar, amp and attempt to bludgeon his pedalboard onstage at the end of Pearl Jam's final show of their European tour

Pearl Jam
(Image credit: George from the Netherlands / YouTube)

It's no secret Pearl Jam look up to The Who, and it looks like guitarist Mike McCready was channeling the spirit of Pete Townshend as he went about destroying his Strat, amp and pedalboard at the end of Pearl Jam's last show of their triumphant and troubled European tour.

After a few gig cancellations due to Eddie Vedder's vocal issues, the 25 July show at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam went ahead. So who can blame them for blowing off some steam, right? Well this is a whole new level.  

During the set's final song – a cover of Neil Young's Rockin' In The Free World – McCready attacked not just his Sunburst Strat, but his guitar amp and pedalboard too.

Credit to YouTuber George from the Netherlands for the excellent footage above.

We're assuming this was the 2021 Custom Shop version of his favourite 1959/60 vintage Strat at the very most, and even it was… ouch: that's a $15,000 guitar! 

McCready first throws the, soon-to-be-ex, Strat straight at his cab. Then begins using the guitar to demolish what looks to be the front of his Rola Lead Custom head (a Seattle company). He then uses the guitar to push the head and its cab backwards. But he's far from done.

At this point the Strat's body is still kind of alive… it's attached to its neck at least. But then comes the breaking point; McCready swings it over head straight down on his pedalboard – including an unsuspecting Line 6 DL4 – while amused / shocked touring bandmate Josh Klinghoffer looks on and the guitar's body is splintered into pieces. 

McCready throws it down again, numerous guitar picks go flying, and somehow the strings are holding the broken pieces together. As if waking up out of a daze, the guitarist simply drops what's left of his Fender and walks away, leaving eager fans disappointed to not get a piece passed their way.

For those who are recoiling in horror right now, we would like to assure you that McCready has probably got it out of his system, but alas, he's a repeat offender…

Classic interview: Pearl Jam's Mike McCready 

Rob Laing
Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.