Say Hello 2 Heaven

I’ve had another hectic weekend. The focal point was the Super Cities WALK for MS, which I was helping run in Napanee. But it also included a stopover in Kingston for dinner with Adam and Kevin at the brand-new Keg downtown. And last night, I finally saw Chris Cornell in concert. The show was frigging titanic, even though it had to be cut short to accommodate…Club 102 (gotta love commercial radio!). So that sucked, and it made the encore feel abrupt. But check out this setlist:

Set:

  • Spoonman
  • The Original Fire
  • No Such Thing*
  • Say Hello 2 Heaven (which Cornell hadn’t performed live in fifteen years…that’s like Lollapalooza ’92!)
  • Fell on Black Days
  • Like a Stone
  • Outshined
  • Seasons
  • All Night Thing (solo)
  • Redemption Song [Bob Marley] (solo)
  • Can’t Change Me (solo to start, full band to finish)
  • Doesn’t Remind Me
  • Arms Around Your Love*
  • What You Are
  • Rusty Cage

Encore:

  • Black Hole Sun
  • Billie Jean [Michael Jackson]

(No, that last one isn’t a joke.)

(*–New songs. The first, which is also Cornell’s new single, is a powerhouse.)

It was, of course, surreal hearing some of those songs live–particularly “Black Hole Sun”, which was the anthem of my Grade 8 year. But the Badmotorfinger songs were the unmitigated highlights, with the breakdown at the end of “Rusty Cage” (which Cornell absolutely nailing the “raining icepicks on your steel shore” part) spurring a seething circle pit right in front of us. As for Cornell’s voice…I mean, I’m speechless. I’d been hearing rumours that his voice was starting to wane, but that is unequivocally not true; if anything, it sounds even better live. I wish we’d gotten a few, less obvious Soundgarden songs (the entire Down on the Upside album was conspicuous by its absence), and I wish the ending were stronger (like I said it was abrupt, and the “Billie Jean” cover was too indulgent for my liking). But I’ve got a feeling it won’t take me twenty-six years to see Chris Cornell again; with luck, any subsequent shows will remedy those few shortcomings.

Two other notes:

  1. When we arrived at the Phoenix, I almost ran right into Chris Cornell while I was doing up my shoelace. Predictably, I said nothing.
  2. Sirius keeps on giving. I had to listen to (gasp!) commercial radio on Friday, and by the end I was practically begging for satellite radio to come rescue me. Last night, on my way back to Napanee, I heard (in order) “Circle of Cysquatch” by Mastodon, “Holy Mountain” by System of a Down and the Tool cover of “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin. Far be it from me to use Stuff and Nonsense for marketing purposes…but seriously, if you love music, you need Sirius.

The WALK, meanwhile, was an astounding success, and we pulled in over $5-million today. Not just in Napanee, obviously, but all across Ontario; our goal is $15-million nation-wide in 2007, and with your help we’ll reach it.

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2 thoughts on “Say Hello 2 Heaven

  1. I saw Cornell on Muchmoremusic for their “Live” thing on friday, and his voice was so gone. I’m glad I didn’t shell out the cash for the show @ the phoenix… and that post audioslave stuff is pretty sad.

  2. His voice is *not* so gone. TV skews people’s voices; I’ve never heard a singer sound good on TV, so I wouldn’t imagine Cornell is an exception. At the Phoenix it sounded incredible. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it never did; it actually got better as the show went on.As for the post-Audioslave stuff…well, bearing in mind the Audioslave stuff was sad too (I think the band wrote two songs I like), I don’t think it’s *that* bad. “No Such Thing” is great; he only played one other new song, and it sounded alright to me. The problem with Cornell is that he’s peaked as an artist. You really can’t top the Badmotorfinger/Superunknown/Down on the Upside triumvirate. Plus, as much as he was trying to persuade us that his new band was really good, they’re nowhere near the same league as Thayil, Shepherd and Cameron. Which is why I’m glad they didn’t play “Jesus Christ Pose”: I don’t want to hear anybody other than Matt Cameron playing that song. It was weird enough hearing the new drummer (Jason Sutton?) try and replicate “Spoonman”.

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