Tonight was a nostalgic rewind to the 90s when alternative music was at its peak and very much separate from the generic pop/rock songs dominating commercial radio. Having since dissolved into the mainstream, it’s refreshing to see someone like Soundgarden can come close to filling up the Entertainment Centre, when it was expected they would play the Hordern where the big alternative acts always played many years ago.
Soundgarden gave us a varied setlist of singles and fan favourites – drawing heavily from their biggest albums Badmotorfinger and Down On The Upside. Despite being marred by a muddy sound-mix early in the set (who knows how to mix a grunge show these days?), after a few songs Soundgarden came good with a thunderous double of Let Me Drown and a jaw-dropping Blow Up The Outside World. Chris Cornell’s brilliant voice is not quite the awesome instrument it once was, but still packs an impressive wallop – and Matt Cameron is still one of the tightest drummers on the planet. As expected, axeman extraordinaire Kim Thayil still drips cool with his ultra laidback guitar work; it just seems to flow so effortlessly for him – and Ben Shepherd’s berserker stage presence was entertaining as ever. That guy’s going to break something one day.
The biggest cheers and sing-alongs of the night were for the tripleshot anthems of Outshined, Rusty Cage, and Black Hole Sun. Following those up with a powerful performance of Burden In My Hand, Soundgarden did nothing but provide further evidence they are sorely missed from the current musical landscape – who can argue with My Wave, The Day I Tried to Live, and Superunknown? It was all so rock n’ roll, all so god damn impressive.
The obligatory encore gave us Room A Thousand Years Wide, I Awake, and the suitably epic metal blast of Slaves & Bulldozers – topping it all off with a heavy dose of feedback to close the show. With a new album and tour due later this year, things are looking up for Soundgarden fans old and new after what has been a stellar tour and outstanding return to form.
Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Jesus Christ Pose
Let Me Drown
Blow Up the Outside World
Fell on Black Days
Black Hole Sun
Burden in My Hand
The Day I Tried to Live
4th of July
Room a Thousand Years Wide
Slaves & Bulldozers