The Wiltern, July 11
Chris Cornell brought it. He brought Soundgarden. We love that. He brought Temple of the Dog. We love that too. He brought Audioslave. We even like a lot of that. He also brought his new solo material. The Wiltern bar staff must have appreciated that however, as each new song drove hoards of people seeking a buzz. The entire night seemed to be one long reminder of what a tremendous singer and songwriter Cornell is, while at the same time how genius each and every one of his former bands were to bring the music together with his lyrics in such unique ways that don’t sound like run of the mill rock music.
It might be something with the translation from the album to live performances, but the songs from his new album Carry On just did not work. And it wasn’t just me. I tried hard to embrace the new stuff. Everyone else tried less, and in the end the only excitement during new material was the guy in front of me chatting about how stiff his drink was. I would have rather watched the oddball opener, Juliette Lewis’ and the Licks, perform Chris’s new material than have him do it himself. That didn’t happen and the night was not lost, as Chris and band mates took it retro and brought a large helping of Soundgarden straight to our domes. His voice was astounding. Somehow in good shape this late into the tour (and his career), still able to hit those opera-like screams that fit in so well with ambiance at the Wiltern. Art Deco and Chris Cornell screams. Thank you.
Busting out Soundgarden songs not in regular concert rotation, Cornell did everything he could to make this a special night, including The Day I Tried to Live, which he announced from stage he hadn’t performed in ten years. Kicking off his set was “Let Me Drown” which was a nice start to the night, “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage”, “Burden in My Hand”, and an acoustic version of “Fell on Black Days”. It was quite the plethora of moldy oldies, but that’s what everyone was there for. “Jesus Christ Pose” sent us all off the deep end one final time, and left us with an appetite for something carnal. Something greasy. A short jaunt outside would cure any hunger pain I had.
Can I get a “Jesus Christ Pose” with a side of bacon dog?
Yes. Yes you can. And at that very moment the world stopped. What were the proper condiments for a bacon dog? I had been versed in proper hot dog dressing, but never anything about his evil twin. I then decided that was far too much thinking for midnight with a bacon dog in front of my grill, so I scarfed it down in two bites, problem solved.