Night two of Soundgarden’s two night stand in Chicago was exactly what I thought it would be, amazing. I really wanted to catch both nights knowing that the sets would be different. Unfortunately I only got to see night two, but believe me I am not complaining because it was way worth it. These guys still put so much power and ferocity behind their live shows. They haven’t missed a step at all since reforming in 2010.
Soundgarden held no punches by slamming out three classics right from the start of the show. They opened with “Searching with my Good Eye Closed,” which they also opened with back in 2010 at Lollapalooza. It is such a great slow grinding song that always serves its purpose as a show opener. They followed that with two big hits. The big surprise was “Spoonman” as the second song in the set. Usually that song pops up in their encore but hearing it early on was even more of a treat. At this point I thought they would delve into some of their new material but no they threw “Jesus Christ Pose” at us. Cornell’s screams were right on target and the band seemed so locked in and tight.
After those three they finally gave us a taste of their new album, King Animal. The first from this album was “By Crooked Steps,” their newest single that also has a great new video directed by the one and only Dave Grohl. They played a good amount of songs from their new album. They also went back and gave us some good treats from their early material off of Louder Than Love. Of course the popular songs from Super Unknown and Down on the Upside were scattered throughout their set.
It was so refreshing to see a band come back many years later after not being together and just plain and simple, kick ass. Their new album sounds like it could have been released in the nineties. They didn’t try to change much, they just do what they do best and that’s deliver some bad ass bluesy rock. After an awesome twenty one song set the band left the stage but the crowd wasn’t ready to go home and we knew the band wasn’t either.
They came back for a four song encore that blew the roof off of the Riviera. The venue erupted when they went into “Rusty Cage,” but it was the next song that was a nice surprise. “Slaves and Bulldozers” off of my favorite album, Badmotorfinger came roaring out of the speakers. With its slow crunch it builds and builds and just punches you in the face. Towards the end of the song the band built up a wall of feedback and one by one they started to leave the stage. It was a little weird because I thought they would let the feedback go for a while and have guitarist, Kim Thayil start a riff to another song. That was not the case because eventually Thayil left the stage too and let the feedback keep ringing till the house lights went on.
Other than the ending I was in grunge heaven. They sounded so good and fresh and I would go see them again in a heartbeat. The only thing I was disappointed about was that two of my favorite songs, “My Wave” and “Fourth of July” weren’t played. Of course I found out they did both of those the night before, but I have nothing to be down about because they made up for it by kicking our ass from beginning to end. If you have the chance to catch Soundgarden on this tour, by all means do yourself a big favor and do it.
Reviewed by Todd Anthony on 1/30/13