Chris Cornell Songbook Series…Solo Acoustic Live at the Troubadour…Friday, January 29, 2010
My dear friend Kari buzzed me recently…”Whatcha doin’ Friday night?” “The night’s all yours darlin’ what are we doing?” I answered. “Chris Cornell at the Troubadour!” “Uh, yeah…count me in…” Good call on my part because this apparently was a show that very few tickets were available for as they purportedly primarily went to scalpers, Ticketmaster and record label peeps, and likely friends of Cornell himself. In fact, we ended up sitting in the VIP section next to his photographer … I’m sure to the chagrin of the patrons who spent $200 to $600 on their tickets.
I’ve seen Chris Cornell a myriad of times solo and with Audioslave. (I still regret not driving 4 hours from the Keys to Fort Lauderdale circa 1994 to scalp tickets to Soundgarden…but, at least there’ll be a reunion). But, I had no idea what I was in for this evening. Chris came out onto the small Troubadour stage and sat on a stool…no kit, no Marshall stacks, no backup musicians…just Chris on a stool. Situated next to him on another stool was an old retro red rotary telephone. He was excited to tell the story of how he had it bluetooth equipped so his fans could call into the set and make requests. He was unhappy to report that it did not work. So it remained seated there…merely as a prop.
He picked up an acoustic guitar to squeals of delight and proceeded to play Nick Lowe’s “(What’s so Funny ’bout) Peace Love & Understanding” (most popularly covered by Elvis Costello), followed by Scream’s secret track “Two Drink Minimum” (recently renamed “As Hope and Promise Fade”). He then seemingly abandoned his setlist and asked the audience what they wanted to hear. He played a plethora of material, but none necessarily at the bequest of audience members, and a few with piano accompaniment including:
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
All Night Thing (Temple of the Dog)
Like a Stone (Audioslave)
Don’t Let it Bring You Down (Neil Young)
Seasons – My favorite CC Song ever (I screamed – Kari laughed at me)
When I’m Down (CC Solo – Euphoria Morning)
Sunshower (CC Solo – Great Expectations Soundtrack)
Finally Forever (CC Solo – Carry On)
And then just when it seemingly wasn’t awesome enough, he covered Led Zep’s “Thank You”, told a tale about his good friend Rory and sang “I Promise it’s Not Goodbye” and finished the night with the Beatles “A Day in the Life”, John Lennon’s “Imagine”, and ended with an eclectic and electric “Ticket to Ride” complete with loop pedals.
He was breathtaking, his voice unwavering, his vocal stylings unparalleled. He was loud love! He told stories about the songs, he joked with the audience, he threw out excuses (“I can’t play that one, I can only play it on one guitar and I left that guitar at home”)…it felt personal, intimate even. There was no encore, oddly, and though slightly stunned, I doubt anybody felt they were denied. Cornell had left us with our jaws to the floor as it was…amongst a cloud of lingering reverb.
(Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Charlize Theron, guitarist Slash and flippin’ Nile Rodgers also turned out for Cornell’s solo acoustic set.)