Soundslave

{mosimage}With no
break Chris Cornell left Audioslave and resumed his solo career with a new
album (Carry On), a hit (You Know My Name, from the Bond movie) and a new tour. Last
week, Cornell and his band stopped in Helsinki and offered a two-hour career-spanning
show at two thirds full ice hockey arena.
 


I
was
curious to see what kind of crowd a 43-year old Chris Cornell could draw to his
show when the nineties and his Soundgarden days are long gone. So I arrived
early and hang around the venue. There were, of course, a few Soundgarden t-shirts,
and some more of Audioslave ones too, but mostly it looked like a adult and
laid back crowd. Many of them looked like a grown up version of the cast of Singles.

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Cornell
delivered a solid set of hits spanning his whole career that almost equally
included Soundgarden and Audioslave songs and equally divided seemed the
audience. Half of the crowd reacted to the Soundgarden songs and the other half
to Audioslave and Cornell’s solo songs. The concert started with Let Me Drown,
the opening song of the multi-selling Superunknown (1994). It followed with
another Soundgarden song Outshined and then Audioslave’s Show Me How To Live.
It was a strong start that made clear that there would not be much room for the
pop mood of many songs from Carry On.

But of
course, songs from the new album were played and so You Know My Name, which was
(unfortunately) one of the most acclaimed songs of the night. It is embarrassing
that a Bond song causes a better audience response than Rusty Cage, which was
out of place in the set list between two new songs.

The first
electric part of the concert ended with one of the best Cornell’s compositions:
Say Hello 2 Heaven from the masterpiece recorded in 1990 by Temple of the Dog,
that band that reunited Cornell with Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard, Jeff
Ament
and Mike McCready and Soundgarden’s drummer Matt Cameron.

The acoustic
part of the song was fun with Cornell playing solo with his guitar. He teased
playing You Know My Name again and he played his particular version of Michael
Jackson
’s Billie Jean. It’s really interesting the transformation of this song.
It sounds like a mournful ballad written by a lonely outlaw singer rather than
a song by the King of Pop.

After
another Temple of the Dog song (All Night Thing), the band joined Cornell during
Doesn’t Remind Me Half. The band started jamming and they all seemed to have fun
throwing guitar picks to each other. Before the classic Black Hole Sun, Cornell
made everybody in the seating section stand. He should have done much earlier
because the audience suddenly seemed to be much into the show. Before the
encore break, another classic: Spoonman, which this time had a drum solo.

The concert
ended with a heavy note: Slaves And Bulldozers, one of the heaviest Soundgarden
songs. It had another drum solo and some improvisation that led into Led
Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love which was a nice surprise and the cherry on top for
a good show.

The band
was ok and Chris Cornell’s voice is fine, although it’s not the wild and
powerful voice that it used to be many years ago. In any case, it sounded
clear. It helped reviving an outstanding part of the legacy of the 1990s, exciting
decade of music when the Black Hole Sun video seemed to be on MTV every half an
hour.

Front page photo by Efthimia Panagiotopoulou