April 3, 2011
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Tim Taylor
Photos by Terry Walsh
After listening to Chris Cornell play loud, and mostly heavy, music for more than twenty years, I knew it would be interesting to hear his songs stripped down and performed as new acoustic arrangements. In order for this show to be great, he would have to take a bunch of songs we all know and love, and play them in their purest form, showing all of the raw intensity and emotion he put into them when he wrote them. From beginning to end, he did exactly that, taking us on a journey through his entire career.
For the most part, this was a show for the diehard fans. He sprinkled in a few hits, but playing deeper cuts from Soundgarden such as "Mind Riot" and "Like Suicide", lesser known Audioslave songs like "Getaway Car" and "Wide Awake", and the obscure Temple Of The Dog classic "Call Me A Dog" really made this a special night for Cornell's most faithful followers. He took a magically tender approach to the beautiful "Sunshower" from 1998's Great Expectations soundtrack, and moved his audience with a powerful version of "I Am The Highway" from the debut Audioslave album.
The most unique moment of the evening came during a performance of "When I'm Down" from 1999's Euphoria Morning. Cornell put down his guitar and powered out the vocals while the bluesy piano music from the original track was playing on a turntable next to him. It was truly an amazing transformation from the Chris Cornell I had seen in the past. Every song displayed a deeper, vulnerable side of him, and the stories he told helped us feel closer to his music. To make things even more interesting, he mixed in covers like John Lennon's "Imagine", Mother Love Bone's "Man Of Golden Words", and Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" to round out a near perfect setlist.
This tour is a well-deserved gift to Cornell's fans who have stuck with him through all the different musical experiments and endeavors he's been part of for the last twenty years. Now that Soundgarden is back together, he may never have the opportunity to play intimate shows like these again. I'm glad I was there to see it. It was definitely one I'll never forget.