I don’t know why Eddie Vedder gets all the attention and critical acclaim while when I tell people I am going to see Chris Cornell, they say, “Who?!” Everyone knows Eddie Vedder’s name and that he is the lead singer of Pearl Jam, but no one seems to know Chris Cornell’s name and that he is the lead singer of Soundgarden. This makes no sense to me because Chris Cornell’s voice is far superior to Eddie Vedder’s (let the Pearl Jam fans start blasting me now)
Saturday night at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC, Chris Cornell played a marathon solo acoustic show for over two and a half hours (2 hours and 40 minutes to be exact). He only took a break for two minutes before the encore. It was amazing, and his voice is better than ever! Cornell played everything I wanted to hear including Fell on Black Days, Hunger Strike, Black Hole Sun, Say Hello 2 Heaven and Call Me a Dog. He also performed covers of Billie Jean, Hotel California and Imagine.
I met my friend Michelle at the Greenbelt metro station at 6:00, and we made our way into DC. The U Street metro station is literally right across the street from the lovely Lincoln Theater. We grabbed a bite next door at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC landmark since 1958. I highly recommend the half smoke with chili and cheese, but not the lemonade.
After making us wait outside in the cold past 7:00, even though our tickets said ‘doors at 7:00’, we were finally let into the Lincoln Theater around 7:15. (And fifteen minutes seems like an hour when it is 30 degrees and windy and you’re wearing sandals.) The Lincoln Theater is a beautiful old theater from the 1920s. Opening act Bhi Bhiman took the stage promptly at 8:00 and played for 40 minutes. Chris Cornell did not start until 9:10. Had we known this, we could have arrived around 8:00 or 8:30, not at 6:30 like we did. But the tickets and the website and the facebook event page all said 7:00. They didn’t say doors at 7:00 and show at 8:00 – just 7:00, or doors at 7:00 so we didn’t want to miss anything.
Anyway, it was a fantastic show. I am actually glad I saw the opener Bhi Bhiman. He was really great, a beautiful voice. Chris brought him back out on stage to sing a couple of songs with him, including Hunger Strike. This was probably the most excited I was all night! Eddie who? But I was a bit disappointed with Chris Cornell’s version of One. Only because when he was introducing it, he said it was sort of a ‘mashup’ of U2’s One and Metallica’s One using lyrics from both songs. But that is not what he did. He sang the lyrics from Metallica’s One to the melody of U2’s One.
It was a very intimate setting Saturday night at the historic Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC. Chris Cornell talking with the audience (actually responding to them), telling stories about each song and playing for over two and a half hours – all for $45. What a deal! I have seen Soundgarden three times (1994, 2010, 2011) and Chris Cornell solo once (2007), but this was by far the best show!