Chris Cornell – October 19 2011 at the Palais.
As Kokomo awaits the announcement of Soundgarden sideshows, suburban burnouts from across the suburbs congregated outside The Palais, sucking back a last Longbeach before they could finally get close to their grunge superhero. To rapturous applause and high fives from the front row, Cornell began the show with a Nick Lowe cover of (What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace Love & Understanding?, with just an acoustic guitar and that voice.
On record, Kokomo knows he’s a powerful singer. But in person, the power of the big man’s pipes staggers. The elegant and considered acoustics of the Palais itself (and a touch of reverb) can take some of the credit. Regardless, Chris’ raging howl, immaculate control in hitting the notes; and then really hooooolding the fuckers, immediately blew the stagnant THC juice off the brains of almost 3,000 people.
All of which just happened to be over the age of 30. It’s like the noughties never happened, and Kokomo was transported back to the good old days of the MTV 90’s Unplugged series. The time when you’re not a respectful audience unless you woo and bray like Al Bundy just put on wrap-around sunnies and picked up a copy of Big Uns. It needn’t be after anything fancy happening onstage either. A move of 3 frets up the neck of the guitar would elicit a ‘yeeeah!’ from some dude up the back. In fact, the only marked silence of the night happened when he introduced a song from his latest album Scream.
Despite playing for almost two and a half hours, he held the audience’s attention with anecdotes, a good natured demeanor in the face of some bogan baiting, and songs from across his entire career. Material from Audioslave, solo stuff, Temple of the Dog and several covers all got an airing, including songs from Jeff Buckley, Creedence, Led Zeppelin and Michael Jackson, but the highlight was obviously seven delicious songs from Soundgarden. He even dared to play Outshined, as Australian audiences make him feel safe.
When he’s back in January, Kokomo hopes this safeness translates to a show somewhere where they’re not supporting Kanye.
XoXo – Kokomo