Soundgarden Revisit Rarities at Reunion Show

Two-hour Lollapalooza warm-up gig includes "Head Down," "4th of July"

August 6, 2010 1:07 PM ET

The Soundgarden fans who packed out the 1,400-capacity Vic Theatre in Chicago last night for the band's second reunion gig were not treated to the same, classic material-driven set the band performed in Seattle in April, but instead to a night leaning on latter-day tunes, big hits and a few surprises.

Frontman Chris Cornell, casually dressed in a T-shirt and cutoffs — and apparently attempting to regain some of his old onstage mojo by regrowing his hair — spent most of the night behind a guitar, only stepping out with a mic in hand for a few tunes, like "Outshined," with its heavy as hell steamroller riffs still thundering as mightily as ever. Guitarist Kim Thayil traded his skull cap for a fedora, and gave a master class on tasteful use of a wah-wah pedal on cuts like "Fell on Black Days," creating a swirling sense of claustrophobia and, ultimately, release.

Check out photos of Soungarden's Chicago show.

Late in the night, the crowd was treated to a rare full-band version of "Black Hole Sun," a track the band used to break out as a mid-set solo number for Cornell. The fan-pleasing didn't stop there, and the set skewed heavily towards the five-times platinum Superunknown, delivering not only the hits but deeper cuts like "Head Down," "Like Suicide," and "4th of July," a gut-churningly down-tuned dirge that was only ever performed a handful of times in the mid-Nineties.

Beyond the Upside: look back at a decade of Soundgarden photos.

Cornell began the night in slightly weaker voice, sounding a bit hoarse on a perfunctory and rushed version of "Spoonman" and forgetting a few of the lyrics of "Fell on Black Days," but he seemed to gain confidence and steam as the night went on, especially during ragers like "Face Pollution" and a powerful "Blow Up the Outside World," one of three songs performed from the band's 1996 swansong, Down on the Upside. Perhaps he was preserving his voice for the band's headlining set at Lollapalooza on Sunday, which was probably a good idea, as the gig lasted just a tick over two hours. The band first played Lolla in '92, and again in '96 just before their split. Their return to its stage in 2010 — and word of an unearthed track on best-of Telephantasm — is certainly promising news for fans.

See where Kim Thayil ranks on the Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Set List:
"Searching With My Good Eye Closed"
"Rusty Cage"
"Let Me Drown"
"Jesus Christ Pose"
"Fell on Black Days"
"Ugly Truth"
"Get on the Snake"
"Burden in My Hand"
"Pretty Noose"
"Head Down"
"Face Pollution"
"Black Hole Sun"
"Slaves & Bulldozers"
"4th of July"
"Blow Up the Outside World"
"Like Suicide"

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »