Colston Hall a Garden of Sound with Chris Cornell
Tonight no camera so could concentrate on the music from the first to the last so one advantage of no photography permission for the show.
The hall was packed, the audience excitable and I wondered how many would try and take mobile phone shots despite being informed on entry NO Photography. Yes, people still did leaving the stewards the impossible task of identifying and re-informing people and this was a distraction from the music I certainly did not want. The staff handled the situation so well, but they should not have had to do this we were told – respect the artist wishes and just sit back and enjoy the show of magical Cornell sound. Then there was the getting up and down… gripes over and on with the glory that was Colston Hall a Garden of Sound with Chris Cornell. With no opening act due to circumstances beyond control, it was straight to the main act we all wanted to hear. Opening with Before We Disappear, from Higher Truth, with Bryan Gibson on keys,the lights illuminated the backdrop and red heart, script and diagrams the show was underway.
The songs flowed and the set list was extensive – twenty-three numbers plus three additional in the encore. The set was interspersed with tracks from his latest album including Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart and Worried Moon, and the Sound Garden tracks Black Hole Sun and Blow Up The Outside World. The re-writing/updating of the Dylan classic re-titled Times Are Changing Back was a highlight showing that this was a set-list that entertained with sighs, laughs and tears.
For over two and half hours Chris Cornell entertained with a smile, witty stories and interaction with a packed house and his music spanning the Sound Garden years and his solo career joined on stage for some of the tracks by multi-instrumentalist Bryan Gibson with cello and keys. His tribute to Prince was raw and stripped back so the intensity of every word was savoured and then spread out across the auditorium, yes Prince Nothing Compares to You and a purple stage reflecting back the emotions still tender to touch for so many music fans. In the mix tonight was Josephine, for his wife. The stage had an extra member tonight, mandolin player James from Nottingham who Chris had first met at the Manchester gig who joined Chris on Fell On Black Days after displaying a request placard. Impressed invited back for a repeat performance tonight in Bristol. This is what makes live music so special, always expect the unexpected. Fans shouted out requests that will have been a muffled noise by the time they hit the stage, Chris felt he had caught the words Drunk In the Forest a song title that should have been written, So we had a new experimental ditty from him including the importance of having crumbs (which he did not) in your pocket before wandering and getting lost in a forest! Quick wits and fun exuding from the stage tonight. It was truly A Day In The Life of a musician and a great rendition of this Beatles number from Sgt. Peper’s album, and then closing the set with the words of John Lennon’s Imagine, if only we all could all live as one in harmony.
The music was spellbinding a walk through the music of Chris with Bond, James Bond the theme to Casino Royale You Know My Name and it was received with delight by the audience spellbound by musical narrative unfolding on stage. People were on the edges of their seats as their own special Cornell song was delivered to a Colston Hall that wanted to hear more from the singer of songs on stage tonight.
Ghosts swirled, ebbed and flowed of music past, lovers lost and found and musicians who have passed. The web flowed through Sound Garden and Chris Cornell’s material Dylan to Prince, Michael Jackson to Led Zepplin, Beatles and Metallica and U2 joined together in a Cornell Mash-up we were united as One applauding the power of music, the emotional feast of lyrics. Thank you, Chris Cornell we stood and appreciated as the fading notes of the title song of his current album Higher Truth faded away. The passion of live music lived on long after the lights of Colston Hall were switched off tonight!