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Pearl Jam honors Prince, 'probably the greatest guitar player we've ever seen'

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Theo Wargo/Getty Images; Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect

Among the musical icons paying tribute to Prince, who died Thursday at age 57, Pearl Jam and lead singer Eddie Vedder joined in with some kind words at the group’s Thursday night concert in Columbia, South Carolina.

“The shocking news of the day was losing an incredible musician,” Vedder told the crowd. “All of us on this stage can tell you: That guy loved music so damn much. He never stopped playing, never stopped writing, never stopped recording, never stopped creating.”

Though the rockers never collaborated with the late legend, Vedder said the band was able to see him perform several times throughout his career, and some members even got the chance to meet Prince. “He was an intense cat. If there was anyone I thought would be playing when he was 80 or 85, it was gonna be Prince. So today was a real shock,” he said.

Vedder’s speech followed the band’s rendition of “Even Flow,” their 1992 Ten single Prince previously covered during a May 2013 concert in his hometown of Minneapolis. “People know him from the ways he looked, and the different ways he looked, and different things he said — a lot of incredible things to remember him by,” Vedder added. “But I gotta tell you, and you just saw some great guitar playing. Prince was probably the greatest guitar player we’ve ever seen.”

Just before the show’s first encore, Pearl Jam lit the stage with Prince’s signature purple pigment, churning out the opening notes from one of the legend’s hit staples: 1984’s chart-smashing “Purple Rain.”

Watch Pearl Jam’s tribute below.

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