Date / Venue: Thursday November 26th, 2015 - ASB Theatre, Auckland
Chris Cornell's last Acoustic tour ‘Songbook' to date remains one of my favourite live solo performances ever; so I was very keen to spend ‘An evening with Chris Cornell' and re-live that magic again... even if only for two hours.
Outside; the crowd of all ages were abuzz but happy to remain milling about taking their time to wander inside the auditorium causing a small delay with Chris taking the stage, but were sped up when a crew member came onstage and played a couple of records indicating the show was imminent.
Personally I love the sound quality and the intimate feeling at the ASB Theatre; you can always see the artist & soft lighting drizzled the stage with a lovely dimmed warm light setting the toneperfectly for this show.
Chris walked on stage to a huge applause, waving his arms high in the air he makes a point of scanning his eyes over every one he asks "How you doing...?" A man who we'd hear from again a few times through the night yells out that he "loves you Chris!" and was rewarded with an "I love you too" right back....
With little fuss Chris picks up his guitar, the lights dim further & the familiar sound of Chris Cornell's guitar ring out while the audience settles and are captured and remain captured by him immediately. We are treated to a couple of Chris's relatively new songs, and a rendition of Bob Dylan's Times they are a changing arranged quite differently but it sounds wonderful, he made it his own getting up and personal with the crowd sitting on the edge of the stage with a harmonica and guitar seemly getting lost his own thoughts at times.
For the first time in Auckland live we hear 'Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart' and after pauses to tell a little story about moments of clarity in life, where you feel you are travelling on what you thought was your chosen trajectory and suddenly for no reason you "realise you're really Fucken unhappy... for no reason, no one died it just hits you..." and led into a beautiful rendition of Soundgarden's 'Fell On Black Days'.
Chris paused again & told a story of a man, so talented and huge influence on him and in rock history I waited expectantly for him to play Led Zeppelin's Thank-You....and he did & it was glorious.
Up next we hear Audioslave's song Little Dandelion, with his powerful versatile voice still able to effortless hit the highs notes the lady next to me leaned in amd commented "His voice is like what I believe a male angel sounds like"....I agreed.
With a dedication we hear Temple Of The Dog, and a couple of songs later he notes to the crowd he thinks he's broken his guitar... but promptly rips into Blow Up The Outside World... a little bit into the song it actually starts to sound like the guitar is going to blow. Chris tries to play through it gives up, guitar tech runs on stage replaces the guitar and & without further ado starts again to much applause.
Many times throughout the set, which covered songs from over his own songwriting career, Chris is joined onstage by Brian Gibson, who plays the mandolin and cello with phenomenal skill, which is mesmerising. Brian leaves & comes back on stage at intervals with the crowd calling out for the return of Brian, which Chris takes good naturedly and returns the banter. Brian's skill and the placement & arrangements deserve huge recognition and coupled with Chris, a few guitar & vocal loops the sound that is produced over the night is majestic.
We are treated to a few Soundgarden classics and covers & the banter continues for in excess of two hours that flew by and I was sad the beautiful evening was over.
Would I go back again tonight? Damn straight; should you get yourself a long to see the remaining two shows if you haven't got tickets yet? Damn straight! This is a must see show.
Chris Cornell live is often coined one of the visionaries, forefathers of a genre, and one of the greatest voices in rock history... an understatement when you have had the pleasure of watching this man perform live.
If this review is my chance to thank Chris for the many concerts & songs I have loved for over 20 years then I will use it... Chris thank you!
1. Before We Disappear 2. Can't Change Me 3. As Hope & Promise Fade 4. The Times They Are A-Changin' (Back) 5. Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart 6. Fell On Black Days 7. Thank You 8. Dandelion 9. Call Me A Dog 10. Doesn't Remind Me 11. Blow Up The Outside World 12. Let Your Eyes Wander 13. Nothing Compares 2 U 14. Rusty Cage 15. You Know My Name 16. Seasons 17. When I'm Down 18. I Am The Highway 19. Worried Moon 20. Sunshower 21. Black Hole Sun 22. Hunger Strike 23. Wooden Jesus 24. A Day In The Life 25. I Threw It All Away 26. Like A Stone 27. Higher Truth
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