Support: Paul Freeman
While back touring with the mighty Soundgarden, lead singer Chris Cornell also finds time to tour in support of his own mellow SongBook live album. Tonight he played tracks from every stage of his career...
Things to note about Mr Cornell:
- The Voice. I have said this about Eddie Vedder but the same very much applies to Chris Cornell. He could sing the shopping list and it would sound good.
- Cool. The guy is cool. I have a man crush. Messers Vedder and Cornell are the two men that I would think about turning gay for (actually Springsteen as well but that’s just getting ridiculous…I mean he’s far too old).Things to note about the Olympia Theatre:
- Venue. The best venue in Dublin. It’s a cracking theatre. Old fashioned but stylish, it oozes character and is a joy to visit.
- Staff. Some of the best staff around including helpful stewards, door men and very nice bar staff not forgetting the one and only Maureen Grantwho should be an Irish icon if she isn’t already (63 years working at the Theatre).
Things to note about the Gig:
- Seating. I have sat many a time in the Circle and the death defying Upper Circle (trust me if you are scared of heights then avoid that area) but only once have I sat in the Stalls. Normally it is all standing but for a solo acoustic performance it made sense to plonk the seats in. If I remember correctly the previous time I sat down in that area we were on the front row and had lots of leg room. Tonight we were seven rows back and I realised that the seats were as comfortable as Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen at a reunion dinner. Indeed at 6 foot 2” and 14 and a half stone I was squashed in like Vince Neil in a pair of speedos and neither Sammy nor Eddie would like to see that.
- Camera Nazis. “Absolutely no pictures not even on your mobile” we were told as we walked in. Ok I understand not wanting flash photography but no pictures at all? Has Chris turned all Axl Rose on us? I realise for an intimate acoustic gig you really don’t want flashes going off every few minutes, I completely agree with that sentiment, but tonight it went too far…
One of the guys from security jumped around during the whole two hour show telling anyone who dared lift a camera to stop or they would be thrown out. Indeed he even took one guy outside only for them both to return 5 minutes later. Maybe he gave him a stern telling off, I’m not sure, but while he was out I managed to get a couple of great shots…
Again I understand the reasons why they had the no camera rule but the problem was that the security guys were more distracting than if people had actually been taking lots of photos…having said that, they were great entertainment.
So where usually the venue is comfortable and the staff are helpful tonight neither was that great but even then the gig was a joy to see.
Chris was in fine form tonight, his voice is exceptional and at 47 years old that is no mean feat. Let’s face it he is as cool today as he always was, whether it is singing Spoonman with Soundgarden, Hunger Strike with Temple Of The Dog or Like A Stone with Audioslave he can play the part to perfection. Those latter two songs were two of the many highlights tonight. Maybe it’s a little obvious of me to pick those but I have been waiting for years to hear Hunger Strike live and sure enough the goosebumps did appear. Similarly Like A Stone was outstanding. They say the true test of a song is to strip it back to just an acoustic guitar and see if it still stands up, well it did, and then some.
Alone on stage except for the dozen or so guitars that surrounded him, Chris sat and played to the faithful. His voice was outstanding (did I mention that already?!), his trademark I guess, but his guitar playing really impressed tonight as well. A talented guy, we all knew that, but at all times he had the crowd in awe of him and when he sang the rather wonderful Zeppllin classic Thank You I realised what a great singer he is.
Other highlights for me where As Hope And Promises Fade, Wooden Jesus and Seasons not forgetting Chris’s brief ‘song’, made up on the spot, in response to a shout from the audience about the ticket prices…I didn’t hear what was said clearly, but you get the chance to say something to your hero and you complain. Dick. Still the Ticket Prices song was great.
Finishing off with I Am The Highway, Black Hole Sun, Day In The Life and Imagine was a great way to end the evening and the venue rose in appreciation of a true talent. Playing the main stage with Soundgarden at the Download Festival may be a little different to playing solo with just a guitar in the Olympia, but tonight Cornell shows that he excels at both. He has a presence and a stature in the rock world that has to be admired and a voice to die for. I look forward to seeing him in his other guises in the future.
Ticket: June 13th 2012
Ticket Price: €49.65