Temple of the Dog – the grunge supergroup featuring Soundgarden and Pearl Jam members – reunited Friday night at Philadelphia’s Tower Theater for the first gig of their 25th anniversary tour and their first official concert together.
The set list for the group – which had previously only staged one-off reunions during Pearl Jam concerts – revolved around tracks from Temple of the Dog’s lone self-titled 1991 LP, as well as surprise covers of acts like Led Zeppelin (“Achilles’ Last Stand”), Black Sabbath (“War Pigs”), David Bowie (“Quicksand”) and more.
Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron and Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard, Mike McCready and Jeff Ament formed Temple of the Dog as a tribute to late Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, who died of an overdose in 1990; Cornell was Wood’s onetime roommate, and Ament and Gossard were Mother Love Bone members prior to Pearl Jam.
Throughout the concert, Temple of the Dog also performed Mother Love Bone tracks, and Cornell spoke about that band’s legacy as well as Temple of the Dog’s brief stint together.
“When the album Temple of the Dog came out, it was about a little more than a year before it started getting a lot of airplay,” Cornell told the crowd, adding that MTV initially ignored their “Hunger Strike” video. “But then a band called Pearl Jam and a band called Soundgarden started getting a lot of fucking airplay.”
Cornell then shared an anecdote about an MTV intern who happened to realize that Temple of the Dog featured Pearl Jam and Soundgarden members and recommended that the channel add “Hunger Strike” to their rotation.
“They started playing the video and then a lot of people heard the album, which was good,” Cornell said. “It was good for us and it was good for Andrew [Wood] because I felt it got his story out there and people could seek out his music.”
(Temple of the Dog performed “Hunger Strike” without guest vocalist Eddie Vedder, who might have been celebrating the Cubs’ World Series win at the parade in Chicago Friday.)
Also during Temple of the Dogs’ reunion show, the band covered tracks by the Cure, Syd Barrett, Harry Nilsson and Free and delivered a rendition of Cornell’s Singles soundtrack solo cut “Seasons.”
Temple of the Dog’s brief reunion trek continues Saturday night with a second show in Philadelphia.
“Achilles’ Last Stand”
“All Night Thing”