And finally, last Friday night I was able to pay my respects to one of my favorite all time bands, Soundgarden. I would have preferred seeing them at a proper venue, but I had to move my ass to Sonisphere in Getafe. Thanks to Orange Goblin, good ol’ pals from my London years, I got a freebie for me and Kiko for Friday, thus I can’t complain by all means.
It’s hard to admit the experience, although worth living, it wasn’t magical. Such great expectations didn’t allow me to consider a possible letdown. Guess this can happen when you idolize a band half your life, and once again, my theory or, better said, dislike, towards band reunions, has been reminded and confirmed.
As the saying goes, third time’s lucky, it took me almost 20 years to see Soundgarden.
First attempt was when they were opening for Guns n’ Roses together with Faith No More. The show was cancelled due to aluminosis affecting the stadium structure. Sorry I can’t find any translation, basically the inner structure, the basis was literally disintegrating, due to bad quality of concrete.
Second trial was in 1996. Soundgarden and Corrosion of Conformity supporting Metallica. Dani, my boyfriend Joe and I, were in the middle of the bus ride to Donosti, North Spain, in an organized expedition. We liked Metallica, but weren’t huge fans, the target was Soundgarden. Having some beers on the coach, chatting with other people, all of a sudden awful news is revealed: it’s a pity Soundgarden have been cancelled and aren’t playing tonight.
WTF??? Our faces were twisted in shock and despair. We hadn’t heard of it before. What would we do? I had the quick though of asking the driver to stop the bus and try to make it home myself, but we were in the middle of nowhere, and hitchhiking wasn’t an option. Thus there we were, sad and frustrated, at least we enjoyed the great performance of COC in first rows, close to the stage, but with Metallica I did realize they are not my cup of tea. Of course I like some of their hits, but no, I’m not into them. I got bored after 40 minutes and got pissed drinking liters of kalimotxo.
I had been listening to Soundgarden intensely for the past weeks, not only their masterpiece Badmotorfinger but also focusing on Down on the Upside and Louder than Love. Yeah, I’ve been nervous and excited for at least two weeks.
I hate macro festivals, for many reasons: poor organization, hordes of people, watered down beer, and disgusting toilets, and what is worse, huge distance from the stages to first rows, now extended due to these VIP black circles, and frequent sound issues. At Sonisphere a new inconvenience was added: problems with 3G and mobile signal, well, communications almost down to none. Ridiculous!
It was past midnight when the general buzz turned silent with the intro of Searching with my Good Eye Closed. I reckon sound was awful, but I was delighted such an atmospheric and trippin’ song was the starter, followed by Spoonman and the powerful Jesus Christ Pose.
However, in my humble opinion, adding Gun was a mistake, because it changed the rhythm radically ending with the initial euphoria abruptly. Not an appropriate song for a fest. It’s like I got a bit unfocused. Fortunately it was fixed with Blow Up the Upside World and amazing Fell on Black Days. Yep, at this point I dropped a couple of tears.
I don’t think the set list was so bad, however the order of songs wasn’t chosen very wisely. Ups and downs, 3 top hits as Outshined, Rusty Cage and Black Hole Sun, one after another, instead of approaching the possibility of better combinations, the horrible new single, Live to Rise, which wasn’t necessary, almost at the end of the show, and Slaves & Bulldozers, a personal favorite, for closing the set.
I’m taking a deep breath to talk about my feelings right now, because they are messed up.
Yeah! I can tick my personal musical To-Do List and now I can say I saw Soundgarden. I’m also aware of the passing of time, and I already knew I wasn’t to enjoy one of their early 90’s shows in Settle either. I love most of the songs they played, but something didn’t work as I expected, and it wasn’t a blast.
Fuck my life! It wasn’t a blast, and it took me one day to evaluate the show, gather my memories bathed in beer, recover the set list, which you can listen here, and analyze why the fuck this is not going to be included in my top 5 2012 live shows.
Cameron was a machine, Cornell’s voice was much more than decent, and in general everything was fine, but no, everything was too cold for me, too distant, and when this happens I’m unable to dive and integrate in the show itself.
I’ve had this sweet and sour feeling twice already this year, first time with Manic Street Preachers, and now with Soundgarden. Now my belly is having bumps, afraid this happens with The Afghan Whigs on Thursday. I could not endure another disappointment at the same level. Dulli and company, you’re my only hope!
The night I tried to quiver, I ended up frustrated. What a shame!