I spent a small fortune on some good tickets to the Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails concert at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre. And those pricey tickets were worth every penny! If only to hear Nine Inch Nails fans reach nirvana when Trent Reznor took the stage for a closing set before the house lights were even turned down.
But, before all of that, it was a trip to grunge heaven with Soundgarden. I had received an email from Ticketmaster informing me that the former Seattle hard-rock outfit was playing first (they trade off set schedules with Nine Inch Nails), so I made sure to get to the concert on time for their set.
Soundgarden stormed the stage with an exciting light and video show, but it was their heavy grunge-rock power that captivated the crowd. "Searching With My Good Eye Closed" started the show, and then "Spoonman," with the thudding percussion sounding and feeling so good booming through the amphitheater. "Jesus Christ Pose" morphed into a dirge-like rendering of "Black Hole Sun," which was performed much slower than the radio version. Atomic, black-lit explosions played on the screen during the song, sending a real-world chill through the crowd.
Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has one of the best screams in rock ’n’ roll, and his vocal power and prowess was unfailing throughout the show. Another highlight was the distorted guitar on "My Wave," featuring the electric intricacy of Kim Thayil's nimble, high-voltage fingers.
A new song, "A Thousand Days Before," from the band's latest album, King Animal, set up the last blast from the past, "Rusty Cage," and the crowd went into a frenzy under the blanket of sludge-y sound and dueling guitar work. At that moment I closed my eyes, left all my struggles behind, and was transported by the music.
- Concert: Soundgarden/Nine Inch Nails
- Date: August 21, 2014
- Venue: Sleep Train Amphitheatre
- Seats: section 202, row M, seat 26