What can be said about Soundgarden, one of the pioneers of grunge and hard rock, returning to the stage with new material for the first time this century? Supporting their new record King Animal, the legendary Seattle quartet played the Fonda Theatre last night as part of a five-night run of intimate club gigs before embarking on a full blown tour next year. Tickets were not easy to come by, as many fans (myself included) pre-ordered the new album in order to get a presale password for the show. After braving Hollywood traffic and imbibing two strong beers at the Blue Palms next door, this blogger was ready to be blown away.
And boy, was I ever. The 2.5 hour set was unsurprisingly heavy on new material, with the lead single “Been Away Too Long” sounding as tight and powerful as anything they played. The requisite “Spoonman”, “Fell on Black Days” (videos below), and “Blow up the Outside World” were all there. Personal standout “Rusty Cage” even incited a circle pit, or at least as close to one as can be expected from gray haired forty-somethings on a Tuesday night in Hollywood. Chris Cornell, looking
as Christlike as ever, consistently nailed song after song, leaving little doubt that he can still perform with the best of them. While keeping the banter to a minimum, he did inform us that he has learned to read audience members’ lips, mostly to help him when he forgets the lyrics.
There were a few slip ups, with “Black Hole Sun” in particular sounding a bit off. You could tell, especially on some of the newer tracks, that the guys were still working through the kinks to get ready for a big 2013. At the end of the day, though, who really cares? Soundgarden is back, and to those in attendance last night, nothing else mattered.
SETLIST: Soundgarden @ Fonda Theatre, Hollywood, CA || Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Jesus Christ Pose, Flower, Outshined, Spoonman, Attrition, Gun, By Crooked Steps, Taree, Non-State Actor, Get on the Snake, Blow Up the Outside World, Eyelid’s Mouth, Ugly Truth, Fell On Black Days, Been Away Too Long, Worse Dreams, My Wave, Burden in My Hand, A Thousand Days Before, Rusty Cage, Bones of Birds, Rowing
Encore: Incessant Mace, Black Hole Sun, Slaves & Bulldozers