Chris Cornell - Salford Lowry

Chris Cornell has built a solid reputation as the powerhouse lead singer of grunge-metal masters Soundgarden and much of his credibility is based on his impressive vocal range, which spans at least four octaves. With the added might of his bandmates' musical muscle, the result is a bone-crushing, glorious cacophony of sound. Yet can music like this, made to be played loud and fast, still hold the same power stripped bear of all its armour? Well, just ask the lucky folks who witnessed Cornell's intimate performance at the Salford Lowry. The answer would be a resounding Yes.

Having seen Soundgarden back in the day I can attest to the fact that not only has Cornell not aged (perhaps there is a horribly disfigured painting of him in some mouldering old manor house) but his voice is still as magnificent as ever. Starting off with the excellent 'You Know My Name', one of the best Bond numbers in a long while, Cornell delighted the crowd with a large selection (27 to be exact) of tunes encompassing his entire career - as well as a few choice covers, like the heart-stopping rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' and the ambitious undertaking of Beatles classic 'A Day In The Life'.

In between numbers Cornell regaled the crowd with stories, jokes and anecdotes that often had us in stitches. He was charm personified, chatting easily and comfortable with the audience as if we were all good friends invited around his for drinks.

But the voice, that voice. Cornell is a masterful performer who knows how to use his instrument to best effect, whether it is soft and sweet while singing the beautiful 'The Keeper' or letting it rip, going from rumbling growl to full throttle velocity in Temple of the Dog classic 'All Night Thing' or the stunning 'Can't Change Me' from his first solo album Euphoria Morning. His voice is exquisite; his deep baritone climbing up effortlessly to pluck those falsetto notes out of the sky as in Audioslve's 'I Am The Highway.'

One of the highlights of the evening was when Cornell invited a member of the audience, James from the group Blind Thieves to accompany him on Audioslave's 'Doesn't Remind Me ' and Soundgarden's 'Fell On Black Days'. Occasionally, Cornell would stop playing to give James the spotlight, and pretty impressive it was too, receiving one of the biggest cheers of the evening. Legend in name and legend in deed, a magical night for everyone.

Set list:
You Know My Name
House Where Nobody Lives
(Tom Waits cover)
Scar on the Sky
(Audioslave song)
Be Yourself
(Audioslave song)
Can't Change Me
Wooden Jesus
(Temple of the Dog song)
All Night Thing
(Temple of the Dog song)
Hunger Strike
(Temple of the Dog song)
Doesn't Remind Me
(Audioslave song)
Fell on Black Days
(Soundgarden song)
Burden in My Hand
(Soundgarden song)
When I'm Down
I Am the Highway
(Audioslave song)
Billie Jean
(Michael Jackson cover)
Thank You
(Led Zeppelin cover)
Wide Awake
(Audioslave song)
Like a Stone
(Audioslave song)
Blow Up the Outside World
(Soundgarden song)

Mind Riot
(Soundgarden song)
The Keeper
Black Hole Sun
(Soundgarden song)
A Day in the Life
(The Beatles cover)
(John Lennon cover)

Photo courtesy of Mike Gray - no reprinting without permission

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