Chris Cornell’s solo show at Benaroya Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 30, had the audience on its feet nearly the whole night.
Chris Cornell was about two-thirds of the way into his Benaroya Hall concert Tuesday (Sept. 30) before he acknowledged the hall.
“This room,” he said, “is hard to beat anywhere that I’ve ever been in the world.”
Cornell’s nearly three-hour set offered a wealth of riches for local fans. He pointed out his Soundgarden bandmates in the crowd, brought his daughter onstage and also brought out Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready for two songs.
The crowd appeared to love every moment. Cornell was greeted with a standing ovation at the start, but by the end of the night the audience just stayed standing.
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Cornell played acoustic guitar and went mostly solo, though a cellist added a nice touch to two Soundgarden hits, “Fell on Black Days” and “Black Hole Sun.” Those were nice, but “Call Me a Dog,” from the tribute album to singer Andy Wood (of Seattle band Mother Love Bone), featured the evening’s most moving singing. Wood, who died in 1990, was Cornell’s roommate.
The set list was heavy with hits by Soundgarden and the supergroup, Audioslave, but there were also some covers, including a lively take on Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” and a beautiful “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin.
It wasn’t a perfect night. Cornell has rewritten Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” adding lyrics to make the chorus say “changin’ back.”
“It needed to be updated a bit,” Cornell explained.
The new lyrics diminished Dylan’s snarl. A take of Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away” in the encore was better.
Cornell regained his step with Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage,” this time slyly joking that he was doing a “Johnny Cash song.” He sang it as Cash did, and it was lovely.
Cornell’s voice was spot-on all night, including his take on “Ave Maria,” and he used the room well. He sang into a mic on a harmonica brace so he could roam the stage.
He also talked about what it was like to grow up in Seattle and to see concerts as a kid.
“Seattle was a tough crowd,” he said. “We didn’t lay down easily.”
On Tuesday at Benaroya, that was not the case. The crowd gave ovation after ovation. They knew a great show when they were witnessing one.