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SOUNDGARDEN at the Phoenix, Friday, November 16h. Rating: NNNN
The burning question when any legendary band reforms: should they have even bothered? According to a thousand-plus roaring, head banging, and in more than one case, fainting fans at the Phoenix last night, the answer is an unequivocal yes.
Chris Cornell's piercing wail, coupled with lead guitarist Kim Thayil's impressive licks, set the stage for a relentless rock attack that did not let up. Cornell's oft-touted vocal range was put to the test on classic cuts like My Wave and Rusty Cage. He passed with flying colours. Does this mean we can finally (maybe) forgive him for that Timbaland produced monstrosity of an album?
The energy peaked for the final leg of the show when Cornell, announcing that "now it's time for the fun part", launched into Blow Up The Outside World. The crowd sing-a-long almost drowned out the band.
The chemistry between Cornell and Thayil, who've had their fair share of well-publicized problems in the past, was nice to see. Although their smiles seemed a little feigned as they stood strumming side-by-side.
Speaking with a few particularly nostalgic fans on my way out there was an undeniable feeling that we were all privy to something truly special. One thing is clear, Soundgarden are back and ready to reclaim their status as alt-rock royalty.