Watch Temple of the Dog Play 'Say Hello 2 Heaven' in 1990 - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Temple of the Dog Play ‘Say Hello 2 Heaven’ in 1990

Days after wrapping up work on their lone LP, Temple of the Dog made a surprise appearance at an early Pearl Jam concert

Pearl Jam were still billing themselves as Mookie Blaylock when they played their third ever concert at Seattle’s Moore Theater on December 22nd, 1990. The completely unknown band – featuring recent San Diego transplant Eddie Vedder on lead vocals – opened up for Alice in Chains and didn’t make a strong impression on the local press.”[They played] bad Seventies country rock,” wrote a critic from the Seattle Times that just witnessed the band play “Alive,” “Why Go,” “Even Flow” and “Porch” in a tiny club. “Not even a cameo appearance by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron made Blaylock interesting.”

He’s referring to the surprise Temple of the Dog set that came at the end of the set. The world wouldn’t get to hear their lone album for another four months, but they finished recording earlier that month and had even played a full set at the Off Ramp Cafe (home of the first Pearl Jam show) nine days earlier. That one was captured on a shaky color camcorder in the audience, but the Moore Theater show was shot by multiple professional cameras. This ferocious performance of “Say Hello 2 Heaven” from that night finally surfaced on the super deluxe edition of Temple of the Dog last year. Pearl Jam’s set from that night hasn’t come out, but at the very least this lone song suggests maybe it was a little better than bad Seventies country rock.

There wouldn’t be a lot of opportunities for Temple of the Dog to play anything but a quick “Hunger Strike” with Chris Cornell after this evening. Mookie Blayblock changed their name to Pearl Jam a few months later and Soundgarden’s next album would be Badmotorfinger. They got really busy. Thankfully, just six months before Cornell’s tragic death Temple of the Dog finally went on a proper tour to honor their 25th anniversary. He wrote “Say Hello 2 Heaven” for his close friend Andy Wood, but from now it’ll certainly double as a tribute to his own incredible spirit. 


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