Soundgarden and Pearl Jam both played at this autumn’s 28th annual Bridge School benefit concert (keeping Matt Cameron fully occupied)*, and the opportunity for a Temple of the Dog reunion was too good to miss.
Although lacking the startling range it possessed in his youth, Cornell’s voice has matured elegantly; after a silk-smooth and charmingly lugubrious start he doesn’t quite reach his original (staggeringly) high notes at the end (this isn’t a song for a fainthearted singer!). Vedder’s vocal performance is the more diligent (and he has the easier lines).
Alongside a rather dapper white panama hat, on the first night Ed is also sporting a Nudedragons t-shirt. The writing looks very familiar…**
This was Soundgarden’s first appearance at a Bridge School concert.*** They aren’t a band you naturally associate with acoustic sets, but they chose their songs carefully, including a rare outing for ‘Zero Chance’.
Amid some more expected choices, Pearl Jam threw some interesting covers into their two sets, including a rare outing for ‘The Kids Are Alright’ from Vedder’s beloved The Who.****
Uncle Neil joined Pearl Jam for ‘Throw Your Hatred Down’ from his 1995 Mirrorball album, which the band (sans Vedder) recorded and toured with him.
On the first night, Vedder supplied backing vocals for Uncle Neil’s ‘Who’s Gonna Stand Up’.
And Young in turn performed his old classic ‘Down by the River’ with a honey-voiced Norah Jones.
Thanks to the magic of Youtube (especially the fab mfc172, whoever he or she may be), I’ve added hyperlinks below to nearly every song from all four sets.
Soundgarden (25 Oct): Fell on Black Days, Blow Up the Outside World, Black Hole Sun, Burden in My Hand, Dusty
Pearl Jam (25 Oct): Small Town, Rain, Sleeping By Myself, Daughter, Given to Fly, Last Kiss, Fuckin’ Up, Hungerstrike
Soundgarden (26 Oct): Fell on Black Days, Blow Up the Outside World, Black Hole Sun, Zero Chance, Dusty
Pearl Jam (26 Oct): Better Man, Small Town, The Kids Are Alright, Sirens, Black, Just Breathe, Hungerstrike, Throw Your Hatred Down
* The first evening of the concert was also both Matt and April Cameron’s wedding anniversary and their son’s 16th birthday. If he forgot either, which I very much doubt, he can blame it on being preoccupied with all the intricate time changes on ‘Zero Chance’.
** Clue: Nudedragons is an anagram…
*** A full list of artists at previous concerts can be found here.
**** Vedder is almost exactly the same age as the band: both turned 50 this year.