Soundgarden at 1STBANK Center, 5/28/13

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen
Soundgarden on stage at 1STBANK Center last night. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center

SOUNDGARDEN @ 1STBANK CENTER | 5/28/13
Five songs into its set last night at 1STBANK Center, with the stage bathed in emerald light and Chris Cornell appearing sans guitar for the first time in the set, Soundgarden performed "Outshined," one of its first radio hits. Cornell put his mic toward the crowd during the choruses, and the crowd vigorously carried the melody. At the end, Cornell complimented the crowd and flashed a knowing smile like he knew the show was off to a great start.

See also:
- Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center
- Soundgarden's Ben Shepherd recalls being with Nirvana when it played 23 Parish
- Review: Soundgarden at Red Rocks, 7/18/11

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center

Upon taking the stage -- Matt Cameron first, followed by Kim Thayil, Cornell and Ben Shepherd -- the band immediately went into a crunchy and raw version of "Spoonman," and from the very first notes, Cornell sounded inexplicably great, as he would throughout the set. He and the band performed the songs with a notable zest, as though they had discovered a newfound love for the material, not like they had played the tunes countless times.

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center.

The dark, striking, serpentine riff of "Gun" unexpectedly followed "Spoonman," and in the short break toward the end, Cornell said, "Fuck it up!" and everyone in the band came together and then slithered urgently off in the mix of disorienting sounds. Sure, this is a rock-and-roll band, but this song made it clear that these guys are no strangers to exploring the possibilities of sound within the context of the music they do.

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center

"By Crooked Steps," with its penetratingly observant lyrics and complex rhythmic structure that sounds almost like a pop song, was a strong reminder that the new Soundgarden songs are at least as good as the older ones. After "Rhinosaur," Cornell mentioned that the band's last show in Colorado, at Red Rocks, was a memorable one, and this one was, too.

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center.

After "Outshined," he talked about the altitude and how a lot of bands have oxygen containers near the stage. Soundgarden, he noted, accidentally got nitrous instead, and if the band fucked up, he said, it was because they were all high. If there were mistakes, the performance was strong enough that you didn't really notice or care.

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center

Getting to see "Loud Love" live as well as "Gun," two of the darkest songs the band has written, was like a gift. On its last trip to Denver, the band played "Ugly Truth," "Big Dumb Sex" and "Nothing to Say," so hearing some different older songs performed was a nice touch. "Burden In My Hand" may be the closest a group like Soundgarden has ever come to a pop ballad, but in Cornell's hands, it's anything but; his words never really lack for content or true poetic sensibility.

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center

"Blind Dogs" was another surprise entry in the set. The song appeared on the soundtrack of The Basketball Diaries, and Cornell namechecked the late, great, Jim Carroll in the obvious connection to the film for those familiar with Carroll's literary and musical work. The set ended with a beautifully gnarled take on "Rusty Cage" with Cornell lifting his guitar high in the air and lurching down along with the rest of the band to hit the first chord of that brutally syncopated ending.

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center

By that point, you really couldn't help but be impressed with everyone in the band, particularly Cameron's timekeeping, pulling the disparate, wild elements back together while doing backing vocals. Shepherd gave the songs a subtle but strong fluidity and grace while being incredibly animated and striking poses that embodied the mood of the songs in the moment.

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Eric Gruneisen. Slide show: Soundgarden and fans at the 1STBANK Center

Cornell, meanwhile, displayed good humor and undeniable passion for these songs which came through in the wildness of spirit in his vocals. Thayil sounded like he was playing at least two different guitar parts at once, and his playing took the sound of the band into uncharted and uncontrollable territory while giving the sound its incredible heaviness without crossing over into the cartoonish.

Location Info

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1STBANK Center

11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, CO

Category: Music

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10 comments
pow_freak
pow_freak

Have to agree it did take them a couple of songs to get rolling, but holy crap, when they did -- damned dudes!  They rocked pretty hard for a bunch of guys well into their 40s and early 50s ;-)  Goes to show the unique madness, insight and passion is very much alive and well!  The encore was simply unbelievable -- "noteworthy edge" puts it real mildly; only live could Soundgarden, still, sound that good!!


cassieri
cassieri

Great show, Chris sounded awesome as always, but I agree with el-daveablo's review; the band didn't connect with each other..very robotic and they didn't rev up the fans. Not much interaction. Awesome sound, love these guys anyway.

el-daveablo
el-daveablo

Loved the show, but I honestly thought they were sleepwalking through the set until Outshined. 

Jeremy Poley
Jeremy Poley

Incredible. One of the best ever. But yeah, a second encore with black hole sun would've put it over the top.

Melanie Horton
Melanie Horton

It was great! Ended too early though and I think most people were disappointed they didn't play Black Hole Sun.

millerjam1
millerjam1

The "local" beer was a freakin' budweiser!

Jake Miller
Jake Miller

Amazing, world class artists. Show was fantastic!

gilbeyj2000
gilbeyj2000

That "jeff" was jeff ament of pearl jam. Pretty rad, and definitely long time friends.

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