Late last year, Soundgarden released a three-disc rarities collection called Echo of Miles that mixed together unreleased tracks and demos with compilation contributions like the pummeling “Birth Ritual,” which the Seattle band recorded for the grunge-era romantic comedy Singles. Perhaps inspired by that trip down memory lane, Chris Cornell and company dusted off “Birth Ritual” live onstage for the first time since 1992 at the band’s Soundwave Festival gig in Adelaide, Australia Saturday night (via Stereogum).
Thankfully, the resurrection of “Birth Ritual” wasn’t a one-off event, as the band busted out the Singles cut again the following night in Melbourne. While the performance lacks the tenacity and soaring Cornell high notes on the chorus of the Singles incarnation – the singer’s vocals are significantly more restrained on this live rendition – it’s still great to see the grunge giants reexamine their catalog and dig out a track fans have been clamoring to hear for over two decades.
The Singles soundtrack, which also featured then-unreleased songs by Pearl Jam, Mudhoney and Smashing Pumpkins, was later selected as one of Rolling Stone‘s Greatest Soundtracks of All Time. Chris Cornell’s other Singles contribution – in addition to his cameo when Matt Dillon’s sound system breaks Bridget Fonda’s car windows – was an acoustic cut called “Seasons,” but unlike “Birth Ritual,” the frontman hasn’t been shy about performing that song live. According to Setlist.fm, Cornell has played “Seasons” at over 160 of his solo gigs.
It’s been a nostalgic few months for Cornell, as the frontman reunited with Temple of the Dog and filled the role of Layne Staley at a recent Mad Season tribute concert in Seattle. Soundgarden have also been making plans for the future as guitarist Kim Thayil told the Sydney Morning Herald that they hope to follow-up 2012’s King Animal with a new album in 2016, even though “no studio has been chosen and no songs are written yet.”