Chris Cornell's only performance in Hawaii was in 1997, with Soundgarden. It was the final stop on a tour during their commercial peak. The band filled up Blaisdell Arena with their usual sonic wizardry and the multitude of local fans ate it up, but the show was fraught with technical issues. Chris Cornell ended up closing the show with solo renditions of Soundgarden hits including "Fell On Black Days," showcasing his incredible talent and foreshadowing his legendary solo career to come. A few days later, it was announced that Soundgarden had broken up backstage at that show. Chris went on to front Audioslave, release a prolific amount of solo work, and, thankfully, bring it back home with Soundgarden's reunion in 2010.
I was at that show in '97, a massive fan of Soundgarden since 1989 reveling in seeing one of my all-time favorite bands live. Fast forward to today... Chris Cornell, a Lion of modern music, is gone. As so many around the world feel the huge loss of Chris, I wanted to share what a massive influence he has been on my life, and a primary inspiration for the music I've played and pursued for over 2 decades. I own almost all of the music Chris and Soundgarden released, and I've enjoyed performing his songs so many times with my band-mates. I was completely shocked by his passing on Thursday, and I'm still in disbelief at how it happened.
As I've listened to Chris Cornell's music non-stop for the past few days, I cherish the memory of seeing him live at least once, and I feel the "Euphoria Mourning" (as he titled his first solo album) in his lyrics and melodies that have meant so much to me over the years -- a sense of soulful elation combined with deep sadness. Listen to any of his beautiful songs now, and you'll hear his desperate passion intertwined with now-tragic depression. In retrospect, maybe he was telling us all along that he would end this way... it's hard to make sense of, and it will continue to be.
Local Music Master Mike Love was also at Soundgarden's Honolulu show in 1997. Check out Mike's touching tribute to his musical hero Chris Cornell, including an excellent version of "Seasons":
Local Duo Sweet Corn & Peanut arranged this unique version of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" in honor of Chris Cornell:
And I've always loved singing "Like A Stone" with Derek Ho on guitar in our various bands, including The Desert Sea:
Say Hello To Heaven, Chris. We Miss You.