Since the release of King Animal last November, Soundgarden has been touring in support of the record, selling out venues large and small. Sunday night the band found itself in Dallas at the intimate Palladium Ballroom, plowing through two hours of material pulling from every record the band has ever released.
The band kicked off with no opening act, hitting the stage a bit later than anticipated shortly before 9. Searching with My Good Eye Closed opened up the show, the first of six Badmotorfinger tracks the band would play during the evening. The band was in fine form, well rehearsed from touring for the last few years. Unlike many of their contemporaries still touring, however, the band continues to change their setlist night after night, mixing things up instead of relying on the hits every show.
Not to say the show was devoid of hits – no, Jesus Christ Pose found Cornell striking the aforementioned pose much to the delight of the crowd, and Outshined got the entire audience pumping their bro-fists in the air. There was no Black Hole Sun but there was a slightly sped-up version of Fell on Black Days.
The band pulled out material from every era of their existence, reaching back to their first single — 1987’s Hunted Down — all the way to last year’s King Animal. The band played a handful of tracks from the new LP, including the bombastic Been Away Too Long and Eyelid’s Mouth, which found the band welcoming Matt Cameron’s son Ray out on stage to play rhythm guitar.
Cornell’s voice is the stuff of legends and he still has what it takes to deliver live. The crazy part of watching him perform is the fact that he makes it look effortless – there is no strain on his part to reach into either his high or low registers and he does it with more control than most vocalists could ever hope.
Kim Thayil played the entire show towards the back of his side of the stage, rarely stepping into the spotlight while delivering album-perfect takes on the band’s iconic riff work. Ben Shepherd held down the fort on the other side of the stage, pummeling the crowd with intensity while grinning from ear to ear. Matt Cameron rounded things out on the drum riser, sounding absolutely primal behind his kit.
Combined together, the band just killed it. The set mixed in just enough “hit” material to keep the casual fans tuned in, while the deeper cuts helped remind fans why they loved the band in the first place. For a band that finds strength in the album format, selecting tracks for inclusion in a show setlist must be tough – but Soundgarden has perfected the science.
Searching with My Good Eye Closed, Let Me Drown, Jesus Christ Pose, Attrition, Kickstand, Outshined, Beyond the Wheel, My Wave, Been Away Too Long, Tighter & Tighter, Ugly Truth, Ty Cobb, Drawing Flies, Superunknown, Fresh Tendrils, A Thousand Days Before, Blood on the Valley Floor, Hunted Down, Eyelid’s Mouth, Fell on Black Days, Blow Up the Outside World, Flower, Rusty Cage, Slaves & Bulldozers
Check out a few more selected shots followed by our full gallery below: