Soundgarden's 1990 Bumbershoot set was one of the festival's most memorable. We want to know which Bumbershoot shows left an impression with you.
Soundgarden’s performance at Bumbershoot 26 years ago was one of the best shows the festival has seen. The furious guitar work of Kim Thayil, the otherworldly screaming of Chris Cornell and the driving rhythm from Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd forever changed how I viewed live shows. For 17-year-old me it became the baseline, an unfair marker, by which all shows are measured.
I knew we were in for a good show. I’d seen Soundgarden a handful of times before their 1990 Bumbershoot performance at the Coliseum (KeyArena as newcomers know it). The band was still a year away from their mainstream breakthrough, Badmotorfinger. Cornell, Thayil, Shepherd and Cameron so thoroughly owned the stage you would have believed they had been playing arenas for years. There were no theatrics, no flames. Just blistering rock from beginning to end.
The show kicked off with Thayil’s droning guitar on “Beyond The Wheel.” My friends and I were speechless when Cornell came out shirtless, wearing cutoff jeans and black boots, hair flying, as the song kicked into high gear. His screams hit unthinkable heights while band chugged away through an amazing setlist, whipping the crowd into a massive mosh pit — likely Bumbershoot’s biggest knot of sweaty humans.
It was a show not forgotten, unlike so many others. A show worth bragging about have seen, almost three decades later.
Bumbershoot kicks off Friday. That leaves four days to reminisce and/or debate the festival’s best, most memorable performances. Email mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 206-464-2210 and tell me about your favorite performance, and I’ll share it with readers later this week. For those who missed Soundgarden in 1990 here is a video of the show. Enjoy.