At Rams Head, No Rust On Chris Cornell's Pipes
Thursday, April 26, 2007; C02
At the start of Chris Cornell's Rams Head Live show Tuesday, the singer with the renowned rock-god voice sounded, as a certain "American Idol" judge would put it, "a bit shouty." Considering he's spent 20 years belting out hard-edged tunes as a frontman for Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, some wear on the pipes would be understandable. Was this tour, which is promoting Cornell's second solo album, "Carry On," too much for the vocalist to handle?
It didn't take long to find out. Cornell warmed up in a flash, treating the sold-out audience to rich, jaw-on-the-floor performances of hits and deep cuts from throughout his career. Having split from his most recent group, Audioslave, because of "personality conflicts," Cornell looked comfortable with his tight backing band, to whom he frequently deferred applause after ace renditions of favorites such as "Like a Stone" and "Black Hole Sun," tracks from his new release (out May 1), and rarities such as "Sunshower," from the 1998 soundtrack for "Great Expectations." A cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was perhaps the one off note of the night, with the melody melding beautifully with Cornell's voice but the slowed tempo not translating as well.
The two-hour show closed with a double encore that ended with an electrifying extended version of Soundgarden's "Jesus Christ Pose."
Technically complex with a metal sound, the song crescendoed with Cornell's gorgeous wails -- and this time the shouting was just right.
-- Tricia Olszewski