Music

This Story About Eddie Vedder Reuniting With a Woman He Met 27 Years Ago Should Be a Movie

In 1992 the Pearl Jam frontman connected with a woman after his concert. Last week he found her again.
IMAGE KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
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During a concert in Amsterdam last week, Eddie Vedder took a moment to address the crowd. "Is the woman who gave me a lift to my hotel in 1992 maybe here tonight?" he asked. "I am almost certain that I would still recognize her face." She wasn’t there, but the Dutch paper Het Paroolfound her, and the story she told of a chance backstage meeting, a misplaced flannel shirt, and a nighttime bike ride around an ancient city is probably one of the most romantic—and most completely ‘90s—stories ever.

The woman Vedder was looking for was Veselka Custers, and the two met backstage after a Pearl Jam show in Utrecht in March 1992. "He was extremely shy," Custers told Het Parool of Vedder, "but I really felt a connection with him."

They talked at a cafe until three in the morning before Custers gave Vedder a ride to his hotel on the back of her bike. During the ride he carried her backpack, which contained one of her brothers flannel shirts. They parted outside his hotel "I still remember thinking: I’m not going to give myself to him," Custers said. "He’ll be somewhere else tomorrow and I’ll be one of the thousands of girls." She forgot to take back her bag.

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In the years since, Custers tried to reconnect with Vedder when Pearl Jam returned to the Netherlands. She bumped into guitarist Stone Gossard later in 1992, and though he said he'd let her backstage at an upcoming show, the concert was cancelled. Decades later, she tried to leave a message for Vedder at a local venue he was scheduled to play. But they didn’t meet again for 27 years—until last week.

A cellist currently touring with Vedder learned of the interview with Custers after it was published last Tuesday, and he sent an English translation of the article to the Pearl Jam frontman. Vedder invited Custers and her husband to his next concert, in Brussels, and this time Het Parool tagged along.

After the show the couple went backstage, where Vedder and Custers finally reunited. They talked about their families, and Custers let Vedder know he can keep her brother’s shirt. And just as he said he would, Vedder recognized her face. “You still have the same smile,” he told her. 

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Gabrielle Bruney
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