Well I may never get a chance to see Soundgarden, but this sure as hell is a start! What goes on in those heads of yours people? Well whatever it is put it on pause because tonight 43rd edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series takes us to Town Hall in the heart of NYC (West 43rd off Broadway) to witness a night of the ‘Acoustic Songbook Tour’ that Chris Cornell is currently on. There was a show here at this same venue last night too, we got lucky that this 2nd show got added because tickets sold out quickly.. I checked today on Stub Hub to see how much tickets were going for and the lowest cost I saw was like 180 bucks or something like that- my tickets were 35 plus the 9 dollars in fees. I got the balcony seats figuring Pam and I wouldn’t need to be headbanging in the pit for a show like this- plus there’s no way this place is bigger than Radio City Music Hall- so we should expect better pics( and hopefully video) from tonights proceedings as we did when we were #Winning on Sunday night.. I caught the 4:50 train to the ferry and the night officially got underway..
Got to Town Hall about 7pm, this massive brick building. Am I coming to vote for something, Town Hall? But actually when you walk in the place is pretty elegant- velvet ropes and all that stuff. Old style 1940’s movie theater seating..
I met up with Pam and headed inside just in time to catch the last two songs of William Elliot Whitmore (whoever that is) was the opener on as we walked in….he got through by 8:30… Walked by all those signs in the hallways that said “no video/audio recording”, device stuffed in my pocket behind an issue of the Village Voice and we were set-no pat downs or body scans.
Before Cornell came on Event staffers rolled in literally blowing whistles grabbing all our attention to shout out the following instructions: “NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!!! NO AUDIO OR VIDEO RECORDING AND THAT INCLUDES YOUR CELL PHONE! YOU WILL BE EJECTED IF YOU ARE CAUGHT DOING SO!”
Okay then, if we’re gonna be such Nazis about it I’ll hold off on the video-just don’t anally rape me like the tone of your voice suggests your going to do. I screamed out “Then how’d I see all that video of last nights show on YouTube?!” to no response.
So about 9:15 our man of the night Chris Cornell hits the stage as the place goes wild. The stage is set up with six guitars lined against an amp- four of them acoustic and two electric. Electric guitars? Acoustic songbook? Turns out they were just a decorative element to the stage setting.
From his first greetings to the crowd you could hear how awesome the sound is gonna be in this place. He asks if anyone was here from last night, then says he’s gonna change things up a little bit tonight. Not sure if that’s good or bad right now-because the set list I saw from last nights show was pretty epic. .. first song he jumps into is “Dark Globe ”, covering the late great Syd Barrett-the sound in this venue is something to be mentioned again, the strums of the acoustic felt like I was on stage with the guy-now my friends we’ve got ourselves a ballgame! Before playing a song called “Ground Zero” he mentions how it’s about Hurricane Katrina, anyone else find that sort of odd?. But what I love about a show like this is the little stories that get told inbetween songs, like the origins of the song and such. For example before he jumped into “I Promise It’s Not Goodbye” he explained how he has a fan who used to write him letters and emails and stuff and he had a daughter with brain cancer. He says “One day he sent me a poem written from the perspective of his daughter-probably wanted notes on it or something but I read it and had to put music to it right away” then went on to play the song. Little knowledge nuggets you pick up at shows, gotta love it. So the building is kinda quiet (or quieter than most crowds I’ve been in) listening to Chris speak and sing his songs… Well, most of us were quiet. A row in front of me, two seats to the right there was this cool chick who we were chatting with before the show started and she warned us that the song request she’d be screaming out all night is “Jesus Christ Pose”.. Now just imagine an intimate quiet setting, everyone relaxing and then at every opportunity you hear a loud blistering fan scream “JESUS CHRIST POSE!!”. I mean it was hilarious-this is a section I can roll with… I bet there were a minority of people in the building who found that annoying, but I actually thought it was quite humorous.. Rather that then “Freebird” right? I thought so.
So this show is chugging along, I’m loving being in a seat for all this-the whole atmosphere makes me feel like an adult seeing a play on Broadway-the only difference being that this DOESN’T suck. A song I could get on board with, “Can’t Change Me” was followed by “You Know My Name”. Awesome already as we now begin to dig into the Audioslave catalog with “Wide Awake”. There were a lot of songs tonight I couldn’t name off the top of my head-so I worked with the “write down lyrics and google it later” motto. Didn’t really need it for “Call Me A Dog” though, that one sort of spelled itself out. And being a ‘Temple of the Dog’ song made it all make sense. I got myself lost in “Sunshower” while I was live tweeting pics and little comments all night long, but then my attention was grabbed by the sounds of that familiar riff and a roar from the crowd, as our first ‘Soundgarden’ of the night “Fell on Black Day” fell upon us. It’s weird because I want to be screaming singing along to it but it’s only Chris and his guitar up there so there’s not a lot of “noise” too drown me out you know. I’d be heard, and if I was someone who had singing talents I wouldn’t be here writing about it if you catch my drift. And are you freakin’ kidding me we’re jumping into “Blow Up The Outside World” next?! Little back to back ‘Soundgarden’ action-I can dig it. Chris you had me at hello!
Back to the ‘Audioslave’ with “I am the Highway” before he puts his guitar down and turns to a phonograph set up to his right. He says “I’m going to perform this as it was meant to be done” as he pulls out the vinyl and starts to play the track which is the piano part to “When I’m Down” while not playing guitar to anything to it.. pretty cool.. I start to smell pot and see a dubey being passed along the row in front of me.. I mean, if you take flash photography we’ll kill you but do all the drugs you want I guess. The only crime there was me not getting in on that as . “Sweet Euphoria” and “Heaven’s Dead” followed. Damn, I wish every night was like this-good music plus being comfortable make the night life as a “rock journalist” a lot less taxing. Back into Temple of the Dog mode with “Say Hello to Heaven” (one of Pam’s highlights of the evening) followed by “Seasons”… Then, I didn’t realize we we’re into the Led Zeppelin cover of “Thank You” until a few lines in..
Then, and you got me on this one, he plays “Sad Sad City” by a band called ‘Ghostland Observatory’.. he explains something to the effect of: “I wanted to translate this song from the electric stuff they use to guitar”. After that, he says “Okay everyone now lets stretch a little bit-stand up”.. so like half the place stands, I guess that wasn’t good enough as he jokingly says “okay now I’m telling you to stand up-everybody stretch it out”.. so we did-everyone in the building on their feet as we ran through two more from the Audioslave songbook- “Be Yourself” and “Doesn’t Remind Me” before he said thank you and went off at about 10:50….People are screaming “One more song!” chants.. people who’ve been to as many shows as I have-you know there’s an encore coming. And if there isn’t one you’d know before they turned the lights on. You get a feel for the shows after a while.
So of course, back out comes Mr. Cornell for a few more songs. All of a sudden the girl in the row in front of me like jumps out of her seat almost into the ceiling with exuberance as Cornell starts the riff for “Jesus Christ Pose”-but then stops abruptly while saying something that I couldn’t hear over the screaming crowd. That was some effed up shit for that chick screaming out “Jesus Christ Pose” all night(which people seated downstairs said they heard loud and clear all night) to be teased like that. Maybe he did it just to mess with her-wouldn’t that be cruel and awesome at the same time? Interesting moment to say the least before we broke into “Black Hole Sun”-started thinking of the memorable music video. Then the token Beatles cover “A Day in the Life” followed by some solo Lennon action with “Imagine” before playing another ‘Audioslave’-“Like a Stone”… While listening to it in its raw acoustic form, I turned to Pam and said “You know I really love this song” and she agreed as we got back to listening to it being the final song of the evening, with Cornell getting a stand ovation and heading off at about 11:15PM..
Incredible evening all around. I mean, besides the show being unique and highly entertaining-the commute(via Public Transportation) to this venue from my house is about as easy as it gets for me AND the rain tapered off and I didn’t feel a drop. Smooth as the red velvet seats at Town Hall, a place I will hopefully be visiting again.
Well, that’s it for me as it’s reaching 5AM and I’m due for a nap before work at 12.. Thanks you all for participating if you made it this far down, and I leave you with tonight’s set list in more readable form below, plus a reminder that I’ll meet all of you back here on Tuesday the 19th as we’ll head out to Terminal 5 to see PJ Harvey! Thanks again people- LATE!
-Dark Globe(Syd Barrett)
-I promise it’s not goodbye
-Can’t change me
-You know my name
-Wide Awake (Audioslave)
-Call me a dog (Temple of the Dog)
-Fell on black days (Soundgarden)
-Blow up the Outside World (Soundgarden)
-I am the Highway (Audioslave)
-When I’m Down (sings along to phonograph)
-Say Hello to Heaven (Temple of the Dog)
-Thank You (Led Zeppelin)
– Sad Sad City (Ghostland Observatory)
::At this point we were instructed to stand and stretch
-Doesn’t Remind Me (Audioslave)
-Black Hole Sun(Soundgarden)
-A Day in the Life (Beatles)
-Imagine (John Lennon)
-Like a Stone (Audioslave)