JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

November 1, 2015
Majestic Theater
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Brian Ullrich
Photos by Brian Ullrich

Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell Serves Up A Fist Full Frills

Chris Cornell visited Dallas on November 1, 2015 on his Acoustic Higher Truth tour. Cornell took the stage promptly at 7:50 PM at the beautiful and historic Majestic Theater, dressed like he was ready for a straight-up rock show, rather than the acoustic renderings of his rather extensive catalog for the next 2 and a half hours.

The stage conveyed the feel of intimacy that is the room at The Majestic, looking more like the well-equipped man-cave of a guitar aficionado rather than the back-line of one rock's most prolific frontmen. A carpet, a few amplifiers, and simple lighting all gave way to the line of guitars that stood behind him like an acoustic forest; soldiers of sound at the ready.

Cornell started the show with "As Hope and Promise Fade" from 2011's Songbook, and followBob Dylan's "The Times They Are 'A'Changin' (Back)," complete with harmonic a 'la Neil Young. Soundgarden's "Fell on Black Days" was his first foray into his rock catalog and brought wild cheers from the capacity crowd.

Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" was well-received and gave way to Audioslave's "Dandelion" and "Doesn't Remind Me," trailed by the first Temple of the Dog selection of the evening "Call Me a Dog," a fan favorite. "Blow Up the Outside World" was sonically genius as he self-sampled his own guitar and rhythms, drawing the song out and blending it into "Let Your Eyes Wander" from his latest record, "Higher Truth."

Accompanied at times by a mandolin, and more often a cello, Cornell's set was peppered by covers of artists one does not normally associate with him; Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" was greeted warmly, and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was repeatedly asked for until he finally relented much to the delight of the crowd. John Lennon's "Imagine" during the four-song encore was a perfect complement to his prepared set's finale, "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles complete with rising and crashing crescendos courtesy of Bryan Gibson's accompaniment on said cello.

While Cornell played the usual suspects from his various back catalogs ("Rusty Cage," Black Hole Sun," "I Am The Highway" to name a few), the show had the feel of a great artist playing to a small crowd in an intimate venue, something the Majestic excels in. Cornell engaged surprising well with the crowd, making good-natured jokes as the crowd called out for the inevitable "Freebird" and "Sweet Home Alabama," cracking off "Next time I'll make a joke about how I don't know it, then just fucking destroy it." Several times during the show he received standing ovations, and the show simply highlighted his tremendous vocal power and range, to say nothing of his showmanship.

Tonight Chris Cornell put on a clinic; a musical clinic that truly showcased his diversity and musical range, that despite being known as one of rock's premiere frontmen with a penchant for the darker side, he is indeed a musician with the ability to electrify a room…acoustically. And that was something to see.