So, I’m a lucky dude. My girlfriend listened to me griping about not getting tickets to see Soundgarden. These gripes came about around the end of October last year. She listened and she came through, and for Christmas, she gave me tickets to go see Soundgarden.
The plan was for her and I, as well as her sister and her sister’s boyfriend to go to the concert. But her sister was going to be out of town, so the plan changed, and the four tickets ended up being for me and my three closest friends. While I would have had a ball with Julia, I had a different kind of fun with my buddies, the guys I’ve known for a very long time (one of them going on almost 30 years now).
So the four of us made the trip to downtown Toronto to the Sound Academy to see Soundgarden. I’ve mentioned my love of Soundgarden in the past on this blog. They were THE band for me during the 90s, when almost all of my musical tastes were formed. I love everything about Soundgarden, especially drummer Matt Cameron’s insane skills.
So anyway, we made a quick pit stop at the Beer Academy (no relation), had a few beers, sat around and shot the shit (the four of us haven’t been out together as just the four of us in quite a while), and learned that one of my buddies’ wives is pregnant again. More toasting, more drinking, some great conversation. By the time we left, I was already feeling no pain.
We cabbed it over to the Sound Academy, got inside, and commenced purchasing numerous $8 beers…but they did the trick. The place was pretty packed with Soundgarden fans. We waited an hour, hour and a half for the band to come out.
Now, while we’d been drinking at the Beer Academy, we were discussing songs we did and did not want to hear. None of us were really interested in hearing too much from the new album. I’ve been waiting all my life to see Soundgarden, I want to hear the old shit, you know? The stuff I grew up with.
The first three songs they played were on our “did not want to hear” list. But after that…they kicked things into high gear. They played my favorites, “Rusty Cage”, “Hands All Over”, “Room A Thousand Years Wide”. They played some of the even lesser known stuff, like “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”, and even played “Ugly Truth” from Louder Than Love. I was in heaven. My throat was raw from my drunken sing-yelling.
I heard almost every song I could have possibly wanted to hear, with the notable exceptions of “Burden in my Hand” and “Big Dumb Sex” (which I knew there was NO chance they would play.)
Seven or eight tall cans later (I’m not a very big drinker, so I was DONE after that much), the show ended…then the band came back out and hammered us with “Outshined”, which really should have been the end of the show, but they then meandered around some Pink Floyd-esque jam…thing…which, in my mind, was the only weak point of the whole show. I was concerned that Chris Cornell might not be able to hit all those super high notes, but not once did he disappoint. The whole band was right on, as tight as ever.
My buddy Brandon, ever the brilliant and hilarious individual, had brought a small flashlight with him, and as the show ended and the thousand or so people started to flood towards the doors, Brandon flicked on the flashlight, and led us through the crowd yelling “security, security, out of the way”. People immediately moved to the side, letting the four of us sneak right through the crowd and to the outside. It was a genius maneuver.
The rest of the night is pretty foggy. We stopped and had more drinks at a bar somewhere, then made our way home via train and bus. It was cold, that’s all I remember.
But man…I got to see Soundgarden. You know? I’ve loved that band ever since I heard the first call-and-response guitar part at the beginning of Rusty Cage when I was thirteen years old.
So basically, this post is to say thank you to Julia for letting me fulfill one of my life’s dreams. I love you for that and for everything else you do for me.
Do yourself a favor and listen to any Soundgarden album.