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CHRIS CORNELL

 

ACOUSTIC SONGBOOK TOUR

 

PERTH CONCERT HALL


10th OCTOBER 2011 

 

 

 

SETLIST

Sad Sad City
Be Yourself
Can’t Change me
Ground Zero
Wide awake
Hunger strike
Sunshower
Thank You
Like a Stone
Fell on Black Days
Burden in my Hand
Dandelion
Call me a Dog
When I’m Down
State Trooper
Doesn’t Remind me
Black Hole Sun
Outshined
I am the Highway
A Day in the Life

-Encore-

Scream
Billie Jean
Seasons
Sweet Euphoria
Imagine

 

 

It’s been a long time since I last saw Chris Cornell, but seems even longer:  back in 2007 in the UK I managed to catch an electric show from the ‘Carry On’ Tour with a band that then consisted of a number of seasoned musicians including the guitarist Yogi, who used to play with Buckcherry. It was a great night in a very different setting but one thing remains constant- no matter when you see Mr. Cornell, no matter what format, you are in for a great night.

 

Starting off with a song by the rather obscure (at least to us) Ghostland Observatory ‘Sad Sad City’ is an interesting choice especially when Chris own Songbook is overflowing; but it’s a nice song to set the tone for what is to be an intimate night in front of a sold out Perth Concert Hall, a room that always has a wonderful warm, rich sound.

 

The stage at the Concert Hall seems big tonight, and Chris is ensconced on his stool between a number of acoustics and one sole electric guitar, he’s casually dressed in combat boots, some comfortable grey jeans and a t-shirt. He seems relaxed from the off tonight and his interaction with the audience and the stories he layers around the songs makes you feel immediately at home. His hair is a little longer than last time and people comment that he either looks like Eddie Vedder or Jesus, or both! Thankfully it is Mr. Cornell after all.  

 

 

Sometimes an acoustic set works to a point but can grate a little after a while, so seeing how he pulls off an hour an a half alone on stage in front of a thousand seated and eager fans will be interesting.

 

It’s quite quickly clear though, that Cornell is one of those rare musicians who can pull it off and do it well, and in truth a large part of that is the song selection and especially the choices of songs he hasn’t written.

 

The stripped back versions of his own solo songs seem to be the most organic and just by listening to them tonight, I would assume that was where a lot of the solo material had its genesis: on one of the guitars that flank him on the stage.

 

 

Tonight it’s the mix or old and new, covers and originals that wins the night not the fact that he didn’t play this or did play that, it’s all in the balance. I personally would have loved to hear some more Soundgarden, and in particular something early, but that’s nit-picking.

 

I can imagine a lot of performers not being able to pull off a night like this, naked on the stage except for a guitar and the voice is one of those ultimate challenges that some performers wouldn’t even consider. I’ve always loved Cornell’s voice even when he was screaming back in the early Soundgarden days, behind all that power there was always that sense of beauty, like a new-age Paul Rodgers, he had the power and the character. Tonight that voice is both a shield and a weapon, understated one moment and full of power and fury the next. There are certain songs too that just fit so well: Springsteen’s ‘State Trooper’ could have been made for him for example: and he does real justice to Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ which always has been a truly beautiful song.

 

 

Highlights for me tonight include ‘Fell on Black Days’; and the Audioslave pairing of ‘I am the Highway’ (a song that seemed so out of place on that first album) and ‘Like a Stone’. I think though, just like last time I saw him that it’s ‘Hunger Strike’ that is a real peak.

 

Tonight of course we just get just a hint of his catalogue, and the fact that he seems to be mixing it up nicely this tour shows its depth. I found myself looking at a few recent setlists hoping that we would get certain songs rather than others and whilst I didn’t exactly get my wish list, what we all got was a great night’s entertainment.  Now let’s just hope he makes his way back soon and maybe even with Soundgarden in tow?

 

 

By Mark Diggins