As long as I can remember, I have felt a mysterious, intense presence when I'd hear his voice. And after spending an entire evening with him, I have to say my instincts were right. What you see is what you get with Chris Cornell.
How refreshing. I couldn't help but marvel at him with one guitar (well 8 total, depending upon the song), a set that looks like the den of his house and a cello player, Bryan Gibson, whom he met at a genealogy lab after the two strangers both decided not to pursue finding the lineage of their ancestors.Chris effortlessly played songs deep from his past ("Rusty Cage" which he pulled off but it was a tough sell, I was missing the band, "Fell on Black Days", "Blow Up the Outside World", "Black Hole Sun") and it was like a light turning on to just how significant Chris is to the world of rock music. Gliding through covers of songs from artist friends who have large meaning in his life; Bob Dylan's "The Times They are a Changin", Mad Season's "River of Deceit" - hair-raisingly good - and Zeppelin's "Thank You". But possibly the show stopper was his Temple of the Dog songs "Wooden Jesus", "Call me a Dog" and he got a most special crowd reaction to "Hunger Strike", I almost didn't miss the other lead singer on that tune, almost.
His new material was rather mesmerizing even for those unfamiliar with Higher Truth, his new album which will most predictably be a Grammy nominated one come December. "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart" was sung with such passion, and "Josephine" is my new favorite song.
His incredible guitar work, the pureness of hearing his powerful lyrics, the passion oozing from his pores through all 24 songs he played and his iconic vocal abilities, made this one of the most special acoustic shows I've ever been a part of.
And here I am almost 24 hours later, still feel the rumblings of his rich voice hanging in the air. What kind of artist can leave that kind of impression on you, I ask? Chris Cornell. So thank you Chris for your 30 years of poignant music, lyrics and that voice. Seriously, that voice.