Chris Cornell w/ Special Guest Hemming – October 19th 2015
Beacon Theater – New York City
Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks
A question often floated in my direction is “Well you go to a lot of concerts, what’s the best show you’ve ever been to?” For a while now I’ve been saying the same thing: Chris Cornell Solo Acoustic Songbook tour that I saw at Town Hall a few years back. There, I saw one man with a guitar put on the best show I’ve seen in my short life. It was 1,500 people basically holding their breathe for two hours hanging on every lyric, every chord, every note . It was magic. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that when another show with Chris Cornell doing the solo acoustic thing was announced I would find myself in the building, but the bigger question was: Can you top the un-top-able?
Hemming opened the night and treated us to a handful of sweet sultry tunes that would make Ryan Adams wanna cover her entire record. No seriously, he probably will. Then Spin Magazine will hype it up for six weeks before panning it. It’s their style. Anyway about Hemming’s style, well, let’s say she had the whole building feeling feelings before her set was over and I for one was glad I showed up early enough to catch it. She’s from Philly, has a sweet sense of self and some bad ass tunes to go along with it. And Girls + Guitars = Happy Face Emoji. Can’t find a link to where you can buy Hemming’s record, but like her on Facebook here and stay posted. Highly recommended
Just a tad after 9 the man of Higher Truth, Chris Cornell hit the stage to a resounding ovation. Some folks here from last night, others like myself lucky enough that a second New York City gig was added to help combat a chilly Monday evening in October. Chris, excited as ever, said that he was gonna mix things up tonight for the peeps who are hitting both shows. First song of the night was Misery Chain as the backing music played as he sang, not reaching for the guitar just yet. Before We Disappear was up next and the Higher Truth track was resonating much more with me while sitting in the Beacon Theater than listening to the song at my house. Can’t Change Me (from 1999’s Euphoria Morning) was another strong effort before Cleaning my Gun, which Cornell claims to have written for Johnny Cash but “Johnny never got around to it.” Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart was another instant classic from Higher Truth.
See, last time I had the opportunity to see this tour they were using audio from the live shows to record an album. That lead to security being extra tight with the photo and video policy. This tour comes on the heels of the Higher Truth release. So tonight, in the balcony I’m 3 rows from the last one and there’s not a event staffer for miles. Safe to say I hit record on some of my favorites.
Like Fell On Black Days for instance, which was the first huge hit of the night. Besides the people continuously making the entire row get up so they can continue getting drunk, it was nothing short of incredible.
Chris Cornell’s daughter joined her father on stage to do a version of Redemption Song.
The definition of heart warming-or as the kids might say “Totes Adorbs”-moment right there. Chris wondered aloud afterward about how he was going to top it. Say Hello to Heaven was a good start to topping that.
River of Deceit finished topping that. Mad Season!!!!
Our first taste of Audioslave music came with Doesn’t Remind me. Back to 99 with Sweet Euphoria before the place exploded for Blow Up The Outside World. The Beacon Theater has got to have some of the greatest sound I’ve experienced. Chris Cornell’s voice reached every corner, every crevice of this joint. Sounded like I was first row. What a fantastic place to catch a concert. At the same time, we’ve got probably the greatest voice of the last 20 years out here proving why he is that (again) here at the majestic Beacon Theater It was like I was watching a perfect game being pitched. I didn’t want to jinx it by asking the question to myself: “Is he doing this again?!?”
One came next. Not Metallica’s One and not U2’s One, but actually a hybrid of the two. It’s a rendition he’s been playing since the songbook tour and its extremely cool.
Then we harked back to the wild time known as the 90s and the Singles soundtrack for a glorious Seasons, which was followed by a haunting The Day I Tried to Live.
Rusty Cage followed. My second aborted video due to concert goers just never ever having enough alcohol. Fans tonight in the balcony were disappointing. A lot of whom didn’t arrive til after Hemming (although event info listed an 8PM show time and also noted “please be early”) often shuffled around causing entire rows to have to stand to let them out. Felt like me and a handful of folks in the row behind me were locked in and other folks well, other folks were just not.
Like A Stone Chris dedicated to his mother in law who he says was in attendance this evening. Hunger Strike right around the corner and a the Beatles A Day In The Life closed out our pre-encore Cornell precedings.
There was a dude on cello kicking ass on a lot of songs tonight.
Earlier in the evening, before one song was played Chris mentioned a fan that had been screaming “Like Suicide” all night last night and he promised to play it if he didn’t hear that same guy screaming it all night.
Well, specifically for that guy we got ourselves a Like Suicide tonight. The title track from the new record, Higher Truth was the show closer. 11:29 lights on.
100 concerts attended. Damn that’s a lot for a guy who doesn’t have six dollars in his bank account.