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SOUNDGARDEN Live In Dublin, Ireland

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 @ 6:19 PM

August 16, 2013

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Review by Justin Ryan

On Monday night, 16th August, 2013, SOUNDGARDEN played their first show in Dublin since 23rd August, 1995. The venue this time was the 02 Arena (formerly named The Point), located a mile from Dublin city centre. Any concerns regarding the drawing power of a band who hadn't appeared live here in eighteen years quickly evaporated on arrival at the venue. An hour before the venue doors' opening time of 6:30 pm, there were several thousand fans queuing, in the cold, outside the arena. Assessing the ages of those waiting patiently, it appeared that large numbers of SOUNDGARDEN's original fan base (many wearing Superunknown tour t-shirts) had turned up, along with quite a sizable number of fans who would've been young kids when the seminal Superunknown was released in 1994. Speaking to some of the long term fans before the show, the common question was, could tonight's show possibly match the memorable show delivered at the RDS Simmonscourt in August 1995?

At 8:40 pm, the band appeared onto the stage. The ground floor standing section was full, as was the lower balcony seated section. Nine thousand people paying 60 euro (about $80) per head gave a deafening welcome to a band who's reunion tour Billy Corgan recently described as, "one more round at the till". Whether SOUNDGARDEN need the money or not, the welcome received from the crowd was fit for returning heroes and wasn't lost on Chris Cornell. His response to this welcome was, "Dublin, thank you so much. It's so great to be back here. We love it here. In fact, we're thinking of moving here! The idea is to play this venue every Saturday night, until such time as we hear people in Dublin saying, 'SOUNDGARDEN are on again this weekend? Fuck it, we've seen them!'." This witty opener would surely have brought a smile even to the aforementioned Corgan's face.

The early part of the concert had a very stripped down, raw feel to it. Three of the first four opening tunes were, "Incessant Mace", "Hunted Down" and "Flower" (which Cornell introdued as a song that the band hadn't played in years). Played on an overall dark stage with minimal lighting and no visible backdrop, this setting was presumably a deliberate nod from the band to their early club days. This early work was then followed by a half a dozen songs picked from both Badmotorfinger and Superunknown. The lighting was turned up somewhat, so the players on stage became more visible. This was complimented by the classic Badmotorfinger logo being projected onto the now visible stage backdrop. A number of video screens were also utilized to play a mix of footage associated with the vibes of the albums Badmotorfinger and Superunknown.

An interesting background to the song "My Wave" was given by Cornell. He informed the audience that he had deliberately isolated himself to a remote location near the coast, at one point during the Superunknown recording sessions to write album lyrics. Having almost completed this process and being stoked with the results, he decided to reconnect with the outside world by turning back on the television. The news bulletin he tuned into was just announcing that the U.S was about to invade Iraq in pursuit of Saddam Hussein. He said that this news brought him back down to earth with a bang and that the song "My Wave" was written about this experience.

The run of songs from Badmotorfinger and Superunknown was interjected by another Louder Than Love number, "Ugly Truth". This was followed by the impressive "Non State Actor" from the their overall impressive latest studio album King Animal. An album that may change Billy Corgan's opinion if he were to bother to take a listen to it, could in no way be described as either a cash in or lazy. It contains thirteen new songs, seven of which do justice to the band's back catalogue. "Non State Actor", "By Crooked Steps", "Thousand Days Before", "Bones of Birds" and "Attrition" are all good, solid numbers. The two hugely impressive songs on the album are "Blood On The Valley Floor" and "Taree". Mysteriously, both of these songs were left off the Dublin setlist.

Five of the last six songs played on the night were again culled from Badmotorfinger and Superunknown. "Given the time of the year we're going into, I suppose this one's fitting", quipped Cornell before "Fell On Black Days". The title song from Superunknown was delivered with a knock out punch and exemplified the band's tightness as a unit. The immensely heavy "Beyond The Wheel" concluded the three song encore at 10:45 pm, just over two hours from start to finish.

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