Sunday, August 15, 2010
[rollingstone.com] There were no special effects during Soundgarden's performance on the last night of Lollapalooza — no lasers, no costume changes, no props or hydraulics. Even the video screens switched over to black and white. But the band didn't need any added visuals: Soundgarden delivered an explosive set of classic '90s songs in front of their biggest audience since their breakup 13 years ago. Chris Cornell underplayed the band's return, suggesting their decade-plus break was more like a few years. "It's good to be back!" said Cornell, who's grown his hair back out to its late-'80s length. "We just took a little break, but now we're back."
Opening with a slow, churning "Searching With My Good Eye Closed," Soundgarden's set started off big and the band's set tempered late-period hits like "Blow Up the Outside World" with ample offerings from their early years. Over and over during their set, Kim Thayil proved he's one of rock's greatest guitarists, taking traditional hard rock riffing to its extreme on songs like the grim, tarry "Gun." That song gained a kind of panicked momentum until it finally exploded in its final moments. "Let Me Drown" was equally epic, as Thayil turned out a series of apocalyptic progressions over Matt Cameron's thundering percussion.
With his high, pained voice, Cornell often felt like the counterbalance to Thayil's sub-sonic playing. He's the consummate rock frontman and his leonine wail is the perfect vehicle for the songs' tortured pathos. In the volcanic "Rusty Cage," he seethed, "You wired me awake, and hit me with a hand of broken nails." He abandoned the stage entirely during "Outshined," wandering out deep into the crowd as the band thrashed and kicked behind him.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 1:21 AM