Having seen Mr Cornell at the Symphony Hall over 2 years ago, even I wasn’t prepared for the performance he gave! Walking on stage in the traditional grunge-styled flannel shirt and worn jeans quoting “I’m lucky they let me in a f**king place like this”, after questioning whether he had played the hall before, was the most perfect way to welcome his audience. The ‘You Know My Name’ singer performed songs from his large back catalogue, including a Soundgarden request of ‘Outshined’ from an audience member, ‘Blow Up The Outside World’ and the legendary ‘Black Hole Sun’, alongside Audioslave’s ‘I Am The Highway ‘and ‘Doesn’t Remind Me’. Cornell’s vocal range didn’t shine through just in his own lyrics, but also during his beautiful cover of ‘Nothing Compares To You’ where the stage turned to purple for the ultimate tribute to the late pop singer Prince. His tremendous vocals gave justice to his cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ and The Beatles ‘A Day In The Life’. Cornell stunned the audience when he combined Metallica’s song ‘One’ with U2’s song ‘One’ to create the most unique and surreal performance of the evening; after explaining the story behind each song he too expressed how odd the mix was but how well they entwined to complement one another.
Credit must be given to support duo Fantastic Negrito who’s thirty-minute set explored TV show ‘Hand of God’ theme song; ‘An Honest Man ‘, and a very unique interpretation of Lead belly’s ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’; they changed the words in order to reflect the amount of “sh*t” going on in USA to highlight modern politics. These covers were performed after expressing “I’m terrible at covers, probably the worst!”. Not only did they connect with the audience through stories like “…one time I was in a coma for three weeks. I woke up and realised, life had a lot of bullsh*t, and I thought, I’m gona take that bad shi*t and turn it into good sh*t!” but he also met fans at the merch stand after. Like Cornell, Prince was a mutual love for both artists after Fantastic Negrito expressed how the late pop singer taught them to take chances and out of respect, they dedicated their song ‘Rant Rushmore’ to the ‘Kiss’ singer. After this incredible opening to the night, I can confidently say you must keep your ears open for whatever else they have to offer in future projects, they truly are an impressive and real world duo.
After a two and a half hour set fans were still going crazy for more, eventually cheering Cornell back onstage to perform Temple of The Dog classic ‘Call Me A Dog’ and the title track from his touring album ‘Higher Truth’. The warm and humble atmosphere spread across the entire hall with Cornell leaving fans speechless after such a full-filled performance. With treats including his own interpretation of Bob Dylan’s ‘Times They Are A-Changin’’ which he altered the lyrics to in order to adapt the song to modern politics, which he also performed with the mouth harmonica he stole from none other than grunge godfather Neil Young; to playing a backing track on vinyl to which he sang a beautiful version ’12 Years A Slave’ song of ‘Misery Chain’.
All I can say is if you’re after an evening of tremendous musical talent, a rollercoaster of lyrical content and emotion as well as covers like you’ve never heard before, Chris Cornell should definitely be in your top three people to see live! He certainly can’t be changed….