Soundgarden make triumphant return

A review of Soundgarden at the Comcast Center on July 10, 2011

, Managing Editor

You may have heard a story recently about Coheed & Cambria bassist Mike Todd holding up a Walgreens for Oxy Contin just hours before he was scheduled to play at the Comcast Center. However, the real story should have been that after a 14-year layoff, Seattle grunge icons Soundgarden finally returned to Massachusetts to rock the amphitheatre in Mansfield.

As if the 14-years off wasn’t enough of a hint, Soundgarden is a band that likes to take their time.  For instance, the band is reportedly working on new material, although no timetable has been set for a release. Or, how about the fact that it took them four years after Chris Cornell split with Audioslave to finally reunite? Well, the band certainly seemed conscious of the fact that their fans have been ever-so-patient with them judging from the setlist that played like a greatest hits compilation.

For a band who likes to take their time, Soundgarden wasted none of it Sunday night. From Chris Cornell’s solo shows one knows that the legendary singer can be quite talkative at times but he mostly kept his dialogue to a quick “Thank You!” between songs and let the music do the talking. Although, he did make mention of the fact that “Big Dumb Sex” was a song that “was intended to be stupid” but some people just didn’t get it, alluding to their days of trouble with the censors in the 90s.

With a backdrop of their 1991 album cover Badmotorfinger, the band quietly walked on stage and opened the show with “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” and quickly followed with fan favorite “Spoonman”. The two-hour set comprised all five of their albums, as well as “Hunting Down” off their 1987 Screaming Life EP. Vocally Cornell was at the top of his game while sharing guitar duties with Kim Thayil. Who knows how much Thayil was playing Soundgarden songs over the lengthy break, but his riffing seemed so effortless it was like he had been gearing up for this reunion all along. Meanwhile, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepard teamed up to produce a booming rhythm section, with Cameron likely relishing the fact that he got to lay into his skins a bit more than he’s used to with Pearl Jam.

The show was highlighted by two great strings of hits, with one coming at the start before another closed out the main set. “Blow Up the Outside World” and “The Day I Tried to Live” had fans trying their best to sing-along early on, although it’s rather difficult to keep up with Cornell’s powerful vocals. Later, Soundgarden hit the crowd with the powerful sequence of “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Burden in My Hand”. They continued with “Black Hole Sun”, which unsurprisingly spawned a sing-along as well but actually played out a little underwhelming compared to their other performances. The radio hit was trumped by fellow Superunknown tracks “4th of July” and the title track as they closed out the main set.

With so many hits already appearing during the main set, the 5-song encore was less memorable. Although the combination of “Like Suicide” and “Slaves & Bulldozers” to close out the show built up enough excitement to keep fans hanging on hoping for another encore. Instead, it turned out that Soundgarden fans would have to wait once again. Thankfully, next time it shouldn’t take 14 years.

Setlist:
Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Spoonman
Room a Thousand Years Wide
Let Me Drown
Jesus Christ Pose
Blow Up The Outside World
The Day I Tried To Live
My Wave
Fell On Black Days
Ugly Truth
Hunted Down
Outshined
Rusty Cage
Burden in My Hand
Black Hole Sun
Superunknown
4th of July
   Encore
Beyond the Wheel
Big Dumb Sex
Face Pollution
Like Suicide
Slaves & Bulldozers

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Soundgarden make triumphant return | Christopher O'Hare | I Hate Me Too

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