Ave Maria, did I really hear Chris Cornell sing that? Well, we were treated to that and then some. Cornell walked out on stage wearing a long sleeve shirt, jeans and black boots at Massey Hall. It was reminiscent of a basement party we may have gone to with 2700 of our closest friends watching our best buddy perform. On stage was 7 acoustic guitars, an amp, a couple of stools, a microphone and nothing more, and nothing else was needed. Behind him was a mural featuring an anatomically correct heart which was illuminated under certain lights.
Chris started the show with “Before We Disappear”. The crowd was mesmerized from the first note. I did expect the crowd to be a bit more rowdy seeing that it is the lead singer of Sound Garden we were watching. They did shout out and scream, but no one rushed the stage, which is what I expected to see. They were all somewhat hypnotized just taking in every note that came out of Chris’s mouth. In between each song, there was more than one fan that screamed out song titles in hopes that Chris would hear them and entertain their requests. I am pretty sure Chris heard all their cries for songs. At one point underneath all the hair that covered Chris’s face, I looked very closely and I am pretty sure I saw a smirk come across his face at some of these requests.
Chris seemed to be having a great night at Massey Hall. More than once he smiled and told short personal stories. He even said about coming to Toronto thinking in the back of his head “I don’t want to let them down….” I can guarantee he didn’t let anyone down. Chris played quite a few covers including Bob Dylan and even a Sinead O’Conner song “Nothing Compare To You”. I know I was quite excited to hear him do stripped down versions of Sound Garden and Audioslave songs which had to be my favourite point of the night. “Fell On Black Days” and “Rusty Cage” were just two of the many songs he performed. The one the crowd wanted to hear the most was “Black Hole Sun” and they showed their appreciation with the crazy screams and cheers. Honestly that was probably my favourite song of the night, being accompanied by Bryan Gibson on a cello which made the song even more memorable. He poked a bit of fun at Bryan saying “You can trade your soul to be a bad ass cellist, actually you just have to work your ass off….” right after they finished Black Hole Sun. One overly enthusiastic fan at that point decided it was a good time to try to snag a picture, he walked down the middle isle and tried to take a picture standing fairly close to the stage and security approached him very quickly to escort him back to his seat. Chris said from the stage, “It’s ok, he can take a picture”.
Chris is on a tour promoting his new solo album “Higher Truth” which came out in September. And with his remarkable voice which filled Massey Hall, I can safely say no one left disappointed last night. I was fortunate enough to be able to see Sound Garden this past summer and now seeing Chris Cornell on his own, I would go and see him again as soon as I can in either capacity.
Once again thanks to the crew, because without them there is no show.