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People told me later that he might have been aiming for me." Vedder read about the incident, which reminded him of a similar accident that had affected him.
In 2000, during a Pearl Jam performance at the Roskilde music festival near Copenhagen in Denmark, eight fans were crushed to death in the crowd (a ninth died later in hospital).
"You'd imagine I'd have been full of light after winning," he says, "but in fact I went quite dark, drinking far too much.
I didn't know why." It was Bruce Springsteen, sitting up with him one night drinking whiskey, who explained things to him.
That was his job, he said: to help me make a living." At 20, he landed his first record deal and, shortly after, was cast in the film adaptation of Roddy Doyle's The Commitments.
"He told me to go and busk; he guaranteed me that, while I might not become a rock star, if I stuck at it, I'd likely make a living from it.
He said I should learn to embrace it, enjoy it." But he didn't, not quite.
Like The Commitments before it, Once went on to have a second life as a wildly successful stage musical, with productions all over the world.
Surveying the oil and grime that sits beneath his fingernails, Glen Hansard beams with an almost paternal pride as he tells me he has spent the past few days at home in Kildare, tinkering with his car.
"It's an old Land Rover Defender, and I'm restoring it," he says, blue eyes blazing.
"Not interested in all that," he scoffs, "and I'm not on the social media." Though he did make the gossip pages recently, photographed mid-singsong in a Dublin pub with the American comedian du jour Amy Schumer. "I didn't even know who she was." When you listen to the rough-hewn beauty of Didn't He Ramble, it becomes clear why Bob Dylan invited him on tour, and why his band, The Frames (currently on hiatus), have found success the world over since forming in 1990. "Early on, we worked out it would take us 60 years of touring here before we filled a room, at which point we just thought f**k having to beg this place for acceptance. "I'd started getting into trouble - drinking, glue, the usual stuff. They were young - they had me when they were 19 - and still figuring things out.