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Concert Reviews:
Chris Cornell Rocks The Fillmore With Voice, Songs
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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DETROIT -- There were two stars at Chris Cornell's concert Sunday night (July 22nd) at the Fillmore Detroit.

One was the former Soundgarden and Audioslave singer's voice, an instrument that's one of the most formidable in rock, smoothly swooping from sinister murmurs to banshee screes in the same measure and elevating his current group the same way it did his previous associations.

The other star was the repertoire. Unlike other singers who have left high-profile bands and denied their past, Cornell embraced his on Sunday with a two-hour, 20-minute survey of his career that only included three songs from his self-titled second solo album that came out in June. And the crowd of about 2,000 loved him for it, singing along to any number of songs they haven't heard for years.

Cornell and company -- who were filming the show for undisclosed purposes -- kicked off the night with a pair of vintage Soundgarden favorites, "Let Me Drown" and "Outshined," before touching on Audioslave with "Show Me How to Live" and then dipping into "Chris Cornell" with "No Such Thing" and "You Know My Name," the latter of which was also the theme song for the latest James Bond film, "Casino Royale."

Just how deep Cornell intended to dig was made clear when he pulled out "Say Hello 2 Heaven," one of a pair of songs he played from Temple of the Dog, a one-off 1990 tribute project to the late Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood on which Cornell joined that group's members as well as then-unknown Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. That the Fillmore sang along to that as easily as they did the rest of the repertoire indicated just how much of a footprint the ad hoc group made in the grunge-loving early '90s.

The rest of the night was dedicated to hot performances of Cornell's past, drawing "Rusty Cage," "Spoonman," "Jesus Christ Pose," "My Wave," "Slaves and Bulldozers" and "Black Hole Sun" from the Soundgarden catalog and "Cochise," "Doesn't Remind Me," "Be Yourself" and "Out of Exile" from Audioslave's canon. A five-song solo acoustic set included Soundgarden's "Fell on Black Days," Temple of the Dog's "All Night Thing" and the languid cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" from the "Chris Cornell" album -- with the crowd inserting Jackson's trademark "whee-hoos" -- and Cornell tapped further into his soundtrack resume for "Seasons" from "Singles" and the trippy "Sunshower" from "Great Expectations."

Cornell has made a somewhat bold move in going it alone; were Audioslave still together, the Fillmore would have most certainly been filled. But even as he sets out on a new solo road, Cornell is smartly acknowledging -- and celebrating -- the music that gives him the credibility to do that.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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