SEATTLE — On Friday night, 13 years after last taking the stage together, the members of grunge-era band
The surprise performance comes just four months after singer Chris Cornell proclaimed that Soundgarden would return to action. Since that January announcement, the band's inclusion in August's Lollapalooza festival in Chicago had been made public, but no additional concert dates had been set.
On Thursday afternoon, Seattle radio station 107.7 "The End" began tweeting about the possibility of a "secret" show, and news soon spread that fans on the band's e-mail list would receive information on when and where it would take place. When word got out that a band going by the name "Nudedragons" (an anagram of Soundgarden) would be playing on Friday night, fans began stalking Twitter and Ticketmaster, awaiting the moment that tickets would go on sale. According to local news reports in Seattle, the available tickets sold out in less than 15 minutes.
"That's Kim. That's Ben. That's Matt.," Cornell informed fans, pointing to his stagemates, halfway through the band's almost two-hour set, which included a run of more than an hour of nonstop rock before a short break. "And that's Chris," responded drummer Matt Cameron, bringing a cheer from the hometown crowd, who appreciated the introductions, though they were hardly needed.
"It's a rehearsal, so if we f--- something up, we're probably going to go through it again," explained Cornell, just before tearing into "Outshined," off 1991's Badmotorfinger. From the fans' perspective, however, the show appeared to be a rehearsal in name only, with the crowd holding tight to every note, drumbeat and guitar riff sent their way.
If the throwing of a guitar symbolizes all things rock and roll, then clearly bassist Ben Shepherd is ready to make a go of it. After tossing his bass in what many hard-core fans recognize as the "end" of the band back in February 1997, it probably won't go unnoticed that Shepherd did the same thing to close Friday night's show, in what could be seen as an effort to go back to the way things were — with Soundgarden as the heavy, loud powerhouse that exemplified the early-to-mid '90s.
Friday night's set list:
"Searching With My Good Eye Closed"
"Beyond the Wheel"
"Fell on Black Days"
"Nothing to Say"
"Blow Up the Outside World"
"Slaves and Bulldozers"
"Get on the Snake"
"Big Dumb Sex"
"Waiting for the Sun"