Sunday, October 30, 2005


It's been a hell of a month for concerts.

When I got my tickets for Cream, Ticketmaster automatically sent me an upsell email. These things are usually easy to ignore. But this one had Audioslave. The same week. At Madison Square Garden. And I couldn't think of any reason not to go.

I tried to like Rage Against the Machine throughout the nineties and just couldn't do it. The band was always fantastic but that white boy rap grates on me something awful. Soundgarden I liked a lot more, especially Chris Cornell's voice, but the noisy sloppy guitars got old real fast. Audioslave is the best of both worlds creating a band that I liked a lot when their first album was releasedand loved tremendously with the second. I also got real obsessed with Tom Morello's sound in a hurry. Let's put it this way; I now own a Digitech Whammy pedal.

We already had a busy day so we got to MSG late and missed Jared Leto's band 30 Seconds to Mars. Can't say it bothered me. Seether took the stage next. I had only heard one song from them before and thought it sounded very Nirvana. They were blisteringly loud, super heavy and I liked every song.

Audioslave took the stage with an announcement from Tom Morello's mom. They launched into a 2 hour set that was pitch perfect. Chris Cornell impressed me even more as a singer, hitting all the notes I assumed took a day in the studio. Tom Morello mystified me again. It's not the effects he uses (and there aren't as many as you'd think) it's the way he APPROACHES the guitar. Like the Edge, he's wired so differently from all the Jimmy Page clones that it's like listening to a different instrument. I've been playing nearly twenty years and there were solos where I literally did not know what he was doing. The rhythm section was thunderous and precise at the same time. Unbelieveable.

Half of the fun was watching this amalgamation of two bands attack their old songs. They did 'Bulls on Parade' as an instrumental but Chris was game for rapping 'Killing in the Name', 'Sleep Now in the Fire' and 'Testify'. Hearing a great singer on these songs was a revelation. And I doubt Soundgarden could have played 'Spoonman' as well as Audioslave tackled it last night.

The set felt a little short but the encore made up for it. Chris Cornell came out with an acoustic and did a few songs solo including a sing along 'Black Hole Sun'. the band joined him again for the end, an explosive 'Cochise'.

I was stunned by the way they worked the crowd. They picked us up from the first song and kept the energy up the entire night. None of them held back. It was a real change from Cream four nights before where, as great as they were, they stayed back on the stage and offered little interaction with the crowd. This band was with us the entire time, connecting with the crowd almost as well as U2 does. The crowd was completely there with them. Guys I didn't know were high fiving me and strange girls were dancing with me (by the way there's an ethics question; how far do you take dancing with a stranger when your wife is next to you? I decided making out would be too far).

At the end of the show, Renee and I stopped by Chris Diclerico's famous Halloween party but by then I was so spent I did little more than hellos and goodbyes to friends.

This is it for concerts for a while. I got real lucky this year. So lucky all my friends hate me. U2. Paul McCartney. Cream. And now Audioslave. I'm taking a break to look for a reason to hate them.


The Wife said...

Stage girls......the wife is always watching......

The show rocked! Dare I say, it really had balls! I did not know what to expect, but was impressed that the crowd was mixed and not just a bunch of oily teenaged, angry boys lookin for a good mosh-pit. MSG rocked, we rocked, and the stage girls were moved by the moment.....good thing you were too moved by the stage girls. ;)

derek said...

You were at Chris's?! Did I see you? Did I say Hi. I think I'm still drunk.

Dave said...

You should be writing these for Rolling Stone or somebody. This is great stuff.

Dave said...

These jokers are playing the prestigious Portland Civic Center tonight!!!!