Event Review: Chris Cornell Performs At The Nissan Live!
Fox Studios - Century City, April 4, 2007
I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing a rare Chris Cornell performance at the Nissan Live! sets series for the Yahoo Music Channel (www.NissanLiveSets.com).
This performance aired April 15th according to show producer Neil Weiss.
Producer Weiss and crew did a stellar job of setting the right atmosphere, visually, with a dinosaur skeleton stage, just the right amount of smoke to accent the array of lights - snowflakes - plus an assortment of videos and splashes of colors on the walls with a few eclectic oriental lamps hanging in the corner.
The enthusiastic crowd was treated to a state-of-the-art sound system which was put to full test by Chris Cornell and his band mates. Cornell possesses one of the strongest male voices in rock and roll. He has more than proved that fronting for bands like Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog and as a solo artist.
However, Cornell who's wife challenged him to sing a cover of MIchael Jackson's “Billie Jean” (which he turned into a powerful, slow blues number that made the song come to life in a way that you will have to see or hear to believe), says that as a child he was most influenced by the songwriting talents of four young lads from Liverpool.
Said Cornell, "While the other kids were out playing sports, I was inside listening to the Beatles. Music was my activity."
Several of the new songs I heard had very melodic episodes reminiscent of that olde English style. Interestingly enough, when I was in Liverpool in '96 for my cousin Naomi's wedding, I remember walking down Penny Lane, expecting to hear Beatles music blaring only to discover Seattle band Soundgarden's monster hit "Black Hole Sun" blasting down the alley instead. Hearing Cornell say that brought the experience full circle for me as he ended the show with a nostalgic version of that tune.
Wearing a black tee shirt, blue jeans and his trademark goatee, Cornell came out and blasted a hard rocking version of “Outshined,” which proved to me that he was also serious about keeping his hard rock edge. Cornell is a true pro who knows how to control his voice like a fine instrument, turning it up when needed or letting it flow inconspicuously along with the song, allowing for breathing room for the other musicians to express themselves. It is a true creative process for Chris Cornell onstage.
I checked Cornell's My Space page,(www.myspace.com/ChrisCornell, and between his page and his Audioslave page, he had over 15,000 listens in just one day. There you can hear some of his new material off of his new album, Carry On, or visit www.ChrisCornell.com
Besides “Outshined,” “Black Hole Sun” and “Billie Jean,” Cornell also revisited one of my favorite tunes of his, "Can't Change Me," off of his first solo album sans Soundgarden. Cornell has a hot young band backing him up and his live performance is not to be missed. As far as I am concerned, he is setting the standard for quality and professionalism in performance.
The newer songs, “Poison Eye,” “Arms Around Your Love” and “No Such Thing,” all possess the songwriting qualities you expect from Cornell. Said Cornell, "I like to take a whimsical approach to songwriting. I don't try to write in any one genre, only what sounds good to me at the time. I feel I have more freedom to write and make the musical decisions as a solo artist."
Catch the performance on Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo Music! You won't be disappointed. I also recommend picking up a copy of his new CD, Carry On, and catching his band live. And if you are ever in Paris, be sure to stop by his restaurant in the city of lights, if you can get a table, that is.
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