Sunday, March 3, 2013
Ripple Field Report - Soundgarden 2/16/13 at the Wiltern
“Phenomenal”, concluded one of thousands who were exalted enough to enjoy the triumphant return of the once and hopefully future kings of grunge/alternative metal/hard rock/Seattle swagger or whatever else sort of label you want to try to hurl at Soundgarden and see if it sticks. Truer word…
Highlights included Cornell embracing drummer Matt Cameron’s son Ray after he joined the band for the guitar licks on the weighty new track “Eyelid’s Mouth”; the delightful new single “By Crooked Steps”, careening back and forth among time signatures; opening encore “Searching with my Good Eye Closed”; and most particularly closing song “Rowing”, the stellar final track from King Animal which just might be the band’s most shining moment ever, sounding like a long lost remnant of the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack. Underscored by a rock-solid Cameron shuffle and inspired virtuoso lead bass lines from Ben Shepherd, it drips spirituality as it builds slowly to a cathartic climax, Cornell intoning such understated pearls as “Living is cheating if you’re not pulling oars “.
If one had to quarrel with any aspect of the evening it might be that other than consummate frontman Cornell’s frequent banter with the audience, the other three came off as just a bit standoffish and aloof, most particularly guitar god Kim Thayil, who seemed positively stoic and wooden as he churned out virtuoso riff after riff. Maybe, if we’re lucky, it’s because he was deep in thought formulating new compositions to feature in a most-welcome future project to quench the thirst of this band’s most loyal legions of followers.
See official set list below