Chris Cornell at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, 10/30/13

Categories: Last Night
CornellBhi.jpg
Photo By Kyle Matteson

Another Temple track followed, with Chris clearly in the zone at this point, as "All Night Thing" sounded resonant and divine in the intimate room. He then brought out opener Bhi Bhiman to sing with him as he kept the Temple vibes flowing, as the pair sang a duet on "Hunger Strike" that had the crowd singing right along. A request for Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" was satisfied exquisitely, before Cornell brought out his guitar tech to play with him on "Never Far Away." The main set then ended with a pair of Audioslave songs, "Doesn't Remind Me" and "Be Yourself," which both sounded wonderful when reduced to simple acoustic arrangements.

After a brief encore break, the standing ovation eventually coaxed Cornell back out for a few more songs. He started with a bleak new song called "Misery Chain," which was written for an album of songs inspired by the movie 12 Years a Slave, curated by John Legend. It was a rather melancholy way to start the encore, but things picked up with a rousing version of Soundgarden's "Zero Chance." Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" started a string of stellar covers which dominated the encore, including "Dear Prudence," with Cornell crafting some haunting effects to accompany his deft guitar work.

The stage was again darkened for a mercurial version of "Black Hole Sun," with Cornell's piercing vocals ringing out vibrantly throughout the room. After thanking the crowd affectionately, Cornell ended the night with a hopeful cover of John Lennon's "Imagine," which brought the lengthy show to a graceful finish, but not before Cornell could play DJ one last time. Chris dropped the needle on another vinyl record, which played him off stage to a well-earned standing ovation.

CornellBike.jpg
Photo By Kyle Matteson

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias:
I first saw Soundgarden live in 1992 (with Swervedriver and Monster Magnet!), and have been a massive fan of Cornell and the rest of the band ever since. Though there were moments -- specifically the John Varvatos ads and ill-fated collaboration with Timbaland -- that I doubted Chris just a bit.

The Crowd: Filled to the rafters with aging grunge fans out to get their drink on on a Wednesday night.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Redemption Song!" request from the guy seated right next to me, which Cornell actually played for him. His odd request for "Better Man"(?!) later in the night was wisely ignored, however.

Random Notebook Dump: Opener Bhi Bhiman put on an entertaining and engaging 35-minute set that showed off his clever lyrics ("What you talking about business trips for, you work at the mall") and dexterous guitar work. His stirring original numbers like "Eye on You," "Crime of Passion," and "Guttersnipe" certainly garnered him some new fans in the full-house, while his dynamic cover of Dire Straits' "Walk of Life" had us all whistling and singing right along with him.

Random Notebook Dump II: On a spartan stage filled with only guitars and a turntable, there was an ominous red bat-phone placed on a table near Chris, which he thankfully never had to use to call in reinforcements during the performance. But we were all left wondering exactly what the phone was there for.

Setlist:

Scar on the Sky

Two Drink Minimum

Silence the Voices

Dandelion

Getaway Car

Original Fire

Sunshower

Sweet Euphoria

Halfway There

Fell on Black Days

Seasons

The Day I Tried To Live

Like a Stone

When I'm Down

Can't Change Me

Wooden Jesus

Footsteps (Pearl Jam)

All Night Thing

Hunger Strike

Redemption Song (Bob Marley)

Never Far Away

Doesn't Remind Me

Be Yourself

--Encore--

Misery Chain

Zero Chance

Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)

Dear Prudence (The Beatles)

Black Hole Sun

Imagine (John Lennon)



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3 comments
CC07241964
CC07241964

Were you even at the same show I was at?  What an awful review of an amazing show.  In fact, amazing doesn't even begin to describe the night.  Calling his start "rocky" because the songs were "lesser known" and not off the album you listened to in high school is a pretty poor way to start your blog.  And as for the occasionally "obnoxious" fans?  Did you notice how during the performances when there would be a pause, that you could hear a pin drop?  The only hooting and hollering going on was between performances and stories.  And in fact, Chris Cornell asked the audience to SING OUT their requests, and I believe that he genuinely enjoyed hearing people make requests for those songs and the appreciative, rather than obnoxious behavior of the audience - why else would his encore consist of SIX songs?  The "troubling trend" of people yelling out and requesting songs allowed him to interact and engage the audience.  Something you definitely can't get at the Xcel Center with 20,000 other people.  Chris Cornell obviously appreciates his fans as much, if not more than they appreciate him.  That's why he chooses those intimate venues, to connect with us, which is not something you would expect from such a popular and extremely successful artist.  He "strayed from his set list" to play some requests from fans because he is a blessed, giving, and wonderful performer who cares for his fans - and puts on these shows for the people who truly appreciate his limitless talents.

Since you so desperately want to bash something, bash the venue.  St. Catherine's was clearly not prepared, which was made obvious when all alcohol was sold out before the opening act was even done.  

The show was beautiful and magical, and the quality of his voice is so raw and emotional, and I was very touched by the entire 2 1/2 hour performance, and completely captivated - as was everyone else around me.    

word1
word1

Chris said in previous solo shows that phone was his friend Jeff Buckley.  Buckley's mother gave it to chris after his death. 

eriktmpls
eriktmpls

@word1 Thanks for sharing that--such a cool story, I wish Chris would have shared that with us. I was lucky enough to see Jeff open up for Soundgarden and Neil Young once--it was magical. We lost him far too soon.

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