Fell On Black Days : concert review turned eulogy for Chris Cornell



I got up feeling so down
I got off being sold out

I've kept the movie rolling
But the story's getting old now, oh yeah
I just looked in the mirror
And things aren't looking so good
I'm looking California and feeling Minnesota, oh yeah

So now you know, who gets mystified
So now you know, who gets mystified

Show me the power child
I'd like to say
That I'm down on my knees today
Yeah, it gives me butterflies, gives me away
Till I'm up on my feet again
Yeah I'm feeling
Oh, I'm feeling outshined, outshined, outshined, outshined

Oh yeah
Someone let the dogs out
They'll show where the truth is
The grass is always greener
Where the dogs are shitting, oh yeah
I'm feeling that I'm sober
Even though I'm drinking 
I can't get any lower
Still I feel I'm sinking

So now you know, who gets mystified
So now you know, who gets mystified

Show me the power child
I'd like to say
That I'm down on my knees today
Yeah, it gives me butterflies gives me away
Till I'm up on my feet again
Oh I'm feeling 
Oh, I'm feeling outshined, outshined, outshined, outshined

Oh yeah, hmm

Outshined, oh oh 

Oh, so now you know, who gets mystified
Show me the power child
I'd like to say
That I'm down on my knees today
Yeah, it gives me butterflies gives me away
Till I'm up on my feet again
Oh I'm feeling 
Oh, I'm feeling 

Show me the power child
I'd like to say
That I'm down on my knees today
Yeah, it gives me butterflies gives me away
Till I'm up on my feet again
Oh, I'm feeling
Oh, I'm feeling
Outshined, outshined, outshined, outshined

The opening band was so hideously loud and distorted that I entered into self-doubt. Did I still possess the wherewithal to endure a concert of this magnitude?

Dillinger Escape Plan. Their set had just begun as we entered the outdoor venue; Starlight it's called. Hid out behind the brick bathrooms, many with us back there, pained faces on most. It was absolutely torturous. 

One guy said "that's probably big on the left coast, but Kansas City was NOT ready for THAT" after IT finally ended. Were we too old to attend a rock concert? Maybe Surely not! I pondered the ticket price, grabbed eleven dollar margaritas for me and my Asia, and descended to our real seats which turned out to be better than I remembered, but far too close to endure another auditory onslaught like Dillinger. Just left of center and five rows back of the platinum section .. I'd bought these at the box office the day they went on sale a couple months ago. No time to turn back now.  

After forty minutes of welcome ear recovery, Soundgarden finally emerged into the Starlight twilight, took their positions and without a single word, or bow, or pretense of any sort, rocked three songs back to back, none that I recognized, but ALL that grabbed me. We were on our feet like everyone. The sound was perfectly loud yet crisp, electric guitar distortion and tone to my exact tastes, discordant arrangements with time signatures I remain unsure of, anything but simple. Four guys, only three with instruments .. bass, guitar, drums, plus Cornell's huge voice. I'd always been astounded by his vocal range but wondered how much of it was studio doctored on the recordings. The answer, none. He barely needed a microphone. 

Chris Cornell said then, fit looking in thrift store chic, shoulder length wavy hair and grunge beard, already sweated through, "those were very old arrangements." He grabbed a guitar for the first time, a Les Paul looking rig, and right back to the business at hand ... the music, and these guys were true journeymen. 

It was sounding great, the crowd animated, Kim Thayil like an electric guitar Jesus, stocking capped with grey hair ponytail far down his back, hook nosed but nice stance, playing an assortment of Guild electrics modeled after the Gibson SG. Thayil is the only rocker I know of that plays electric Guilds, and when I say play, just believe me when I say this guy is a master ... my newest guitar hero. Only in live performance can one know and appreciate what a musician is really made of. Shepherd on bass, Cameron on drums ... equally badass, and now Chris Cornell playing in drop D tuning, thickening the texture that much more while belting out vocals that were absolutely astounding. This band is TIGHT I thought, a truly well oiled and well seasoned rock machine!  

There were no "acoustic sets." There were no acoustic instruments on that stage. There were no piano, no recorded looping, no contrivances whatsoever. Cornell spoke to the audience only once more that night, and then only briefly. Said his uncle used to build Rolls Royce engines here and that he often visited as a child ...

The Day I Tried To Live, Black Hole Sun, Spoonman, Outshined, Rusty Cage, Fell On Black Days, Jesus Christ Pose, Blow Up The Outside World .. all those hits from back when our children were infants were played, me and Asia standing and swaying, holding hands and bumping, varied pungent strains of marijuana smoke wafting (though we chickened out and didn't take any of our own). It was simply fabulous.

Asia as we were exiting the show


The KC concert was last Sunday night.

I began writing this amateur review Wednesday evening. 

Sometime later that night, or Thursday morning I suppose, in a luxury Detroit hotel room after the concert there, Chris Cornell hung himself.

Asia woke me up with the news, and I cried. Chris Cornell, 52 years on this earth, is departed.

I am now watching the Detroit show from Wednesday evening, BAV below, uselessly pondering the whys.

Soundgarden was formed in 1984 by Cornell (drums and vocals), Yamamoto (bass), and Thayil (guitar). The band named themselves after a wind-channeling pipe sculpture titled A Sound Garden, located on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration property at 7600 Sand Point Way, next to Magnuson Park in Seattle.

Views: 157

Comment by tr ig on May 19, 2017 at 10:53am

Rusty cage .. broken, I guess. Good bye Cornell

Comment by JMac1949 Today on May 19, 2017 at 11:25am

Read but not so much liked... who knows why?  Great loss for music... ran across this cover:

Comment by Birdinhand on May 19, 2017 at 12:46pm

With the exception of Nirvana on occasion, I just couldn't grok the grunge scene.

Nonetheless, suicide is tragic, especially for the survivors.

I've seen the speculation that it was one of those Michael Hutchence scenes. I sure don't know what drives gazillionaires mad.

Comment by tr ig on May 20, 2017 at 7:29am

Grunge* is music too. Soundgarden consists of highly skilled musicians, though now one is dead. What's not to get?

Comment by Birdinhand on May 20, 2017 at 8:31am

I didn't say or mean that I didn't get it. What I meant was I didn't like it.

Too loud, discordant etc.   ....just like you mentioned.

Some liked it some didn't.

Comment by Anna Herrington on May 20, 2017 at 9:04am

Excellent re-telling of a great night out for you, it seems - what a shock it must have been to get this news!! I hear his girlfriend is questioning the suicide, or was....

Wouldn't recognize the music if I heard it, but that's true about a lot of music made post-1970s....

and apparently Prince William's a Soundgarden fan - knew you'd care about that  : )

We *almost* went to a Dead show, which turned out to be Jerry's last, he was dead a week later. Still feel mixed about it, all these years later.

Glad you guys went.

Comment by tr ig on May 20, 2017 at 9:52am

Oh Bird. I took didn't grok for didn't get I guess. As to grunge* I always thought that was a reference to what some musicians wore at a certain time, possibly in purposeful contrast to hair band fashion of the eighties, which I hated (although I could give a fuck less what musicians wear. You can't hear what they wear. I hated hair band "music" and couldn't have been happier than when it died). I should note I suppose that none of Soundgarden's personnel wore lumberjack shirts, although Cornell was dressed simply, focus being on the music, not the fashion. 

Anna, Asia thought she didn't know the music either but she did as it turned out. Much of this stuff was radio hit material and whether remembered or not, we all heard it at work or otherwise in the background of our lives. Thanks. Muah. 

Comment by tr ig on May 20, 2017 at 11:30am

I think the 'nucks from the great white north were responsible for the flannel shirt thing eh. Indirectly or directly. The Band, great players, dressed like fresh hell for example. Great Canadian Neil Young has been called the Grandpa of Grunge, I know that, but unclear to me is whether grunge refers to smelly flannel shirts and undergarments, or the extra dirty distortion often coming out of Grandpa Neil's amp stacks when he's on one of those Ragged Glory rips. 


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