After a cancelled show in 2012, Soundgarden finally made it to Luxembourg last night for a gnarly gig. A gnarly gig as far as Soundgarden themselves are concerned, the crowd and venue leave things to be desired.
Lost in Pain opened the night, and they played for about 30 minutes, most of which I missed out, but the last track they played sounded as if the music could be good, if supported by a clear and clean sound unlike what the Rockhal offers in its “box” configuration.
So the event took place in the main hall, which was divided by large curtains, so there was a shitload of echo that the Soundgarden sound-tech countered with volume, so the show was pretty loud.
We were back in the room for about 10 minutes when they took the stage around 9:15 pm. The venue was far from packed and even the smaller “box” configuration was not sold out. So I wonder why not change to their smaller room, have a packed room, with a somewhat better sound, and possibly an atmosphere enticing more people to dance. Anyhow when they took the stage a noisy intro led right into “Searching with my good eye closed”, which is quite a gnarly opener! They followed up with a powerful rendition of “Spoonman” but without the spoon solo was replaced by some fine guitar noise. The next track came from Ultramega ok, which Cornell dated to 1987 with a somewhat grinning comment that some people in the crowd had not yet been born. I guess they are getting older as well, but there is still an influx of new fans, to keep them going, and they bloody enjoy it. Overall Cornell really tried to animate the crowd, trying to get them to sing the chorus of “Outshined” which also led to a mildly changed version of the track, as the crowd sucked pretty much at singing the chorus, it was doubled up, and Cornell made the second time around sound as it’s supposed to be. Following this changed version, Chris said that they like to change stuff while on stage, which I personally applauded and applaud a lot! At least they don’t get boring! Up next was “Black hole sun” which was probably the only track that the entire crowd knew, so that was heavily applauded, but was certainly not the highlight of the show. “jesus christ pose” really blew my mind, as they performed it even more powerfully than the album version. By the time they played “been away too long”, finally a small moshpit formed to the left of the stage, this gave me a bit of hope that the crowd could still go wild, but it did not really happen. Unfortunately due to a knee injury I couldn’t jump in, but I had a hard time restraining myself, and ended up dancing more than my knee would have liked, but after all it’s a rock show, so a little pain can’t ruin the fun.
Granted the sound was far from ideal at the beginning but improved throughout the show, so by the end of it, it actually sounded quite alright even though not stellar, overall the concert was very satisfying to me. My highlights were “outshined” “jesus christ pose” “blood on the valley floor” “superunknown” “fell on black days” “rusty cage” (where most people failed to actually break their cage and dance a bit) and a very heavy and doomy “4th of july”, which ended the regular show in a soundcloud of feedbacks and guitar sounds. A few minutes later they came back out for 2 encore songs, which made the show clock in around 2 hours. Finally a decent length rock show again!! Kudos to Soundgarden for not falling victim to the trend of 70 – 90 minute sets.
Overall there was very little interaction with the crowd, understandably, since the 4 guys on stage played out their souls, and the crowd gave them nothing in return but applause. I don’t think I will ever be able to understand how people can stand still for 2 hours at a rock show. I mean if you purely want to see the band, why not pick up a dvd, or log on to YouTube in the comfort of your home. If you pay 50 € to go see a band, why not really enjoy yourself? Why not let go of your stuck up mentality for even 5 minutes and just go wild? I tried but I just can’t understand it. Being at this show with an injured knee I could not go completely wild, but even though I was in pain, I could not manage to stand still even for a minute. The music was/is just too good not to enjoy it with every fiber in your body. So I look forward to seeing them again hopefully next time around in full health to be able to give back as much energy through dancing and partying as the artists themselves give out to the crowd with their music and performance!
For a full setlist, visit: setlist.fm