Hard Rock Calling: Soundgarden, Iggy and Rain…

"Hard Rock Calling" 2012 "Hyde Park" London

Soundgarden – live at Hyde Park’s Hard Rock Calling Festival

Without a doubt, the best thing to have come out of the dreadful weather that the UK has nearly drowned in during this ridiculous excuse for a summer (or as it will become known, the Great Hosepipe Ban of 2012) is the cancellation of Wednesday’s Hit Factory gig in Hyde Park. Although Nathan from Brother Beyond appears inconsolable at the thought of his career being stalled once more, I have been turning cartwheels of joy at the thought that an accident of weather may have prevented the UK’s airwaves being clogged up with a Stock Aitken and Waterman revival. To my mind, it’s the finest act of divine intervention since someone mentioned they had run out of wine at a wedding and J.C. popped up to keep the party going…

 Hard Rock Calling 2012 Hyde Park London

Even better, they cancelled it so the ground would be pleasant for Soundgarden fans to stroll across on Friday. Wouldn’t have wanted to trip over a Lycra headband or a discarded, muddy shoulder pad. Or the 12″ mix of Especially For You. Very thoughtful of the organisers, that. According to reports in London’s Evening Standard, the Hyde Park organisers dumped eight thousand cubic metres of wood chippings on the park to prevent it turning into a big muddy puddle. (If you need mulch for your garden, bring a wheelbarrow and speak nicely to a security guard…). It worked, by the way…

Hard Rock Calling 2012 Hyde Park London

Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

So it was that I found myself outside Hyde Park on Friday buying a ticket outside the gate for the bargain price of £15 from a chap with a spare. Result.

I’ll talk about the wonderful Iggy and The Stooges (and Cold Chisel) in separate posts. For the vast majority of fans last night 2012 has been the first opportunity to see Soundgarden for fifteen years since the band split up in 1997. I went with a friend who had travelled from the Middle East just to be there last night, so it is clear Soundgarden is a band that means a lot to many people. They didn’t let anyone down.

Hard Rock Calling 2012 Hyde Park London

Chris Cornell in the Hyde Park rain…

Pulling out classics from Louder Than Love as well as crowd pleaser Black Hole Sun and (for me the highlight) a great version of Superunknown, the band played with smiles on their faces all night. About an hour in, frontman Chris Cornell told the crowd “that was the warm up: now let’s start playing. We’re going to play for three hours tonight” (they played for two). The crowd just lapped it up.

Hard Rock Calling 2012 Hyde Park London

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden at Hard Rock Calling last night

Cornell is every inch the rock star. Good looking, great voice and a decent support for lead guitarist Kim Thayil who cuts an imposing presence onstage, whilst slightly resembling comedian Bill Bailey in a beanie hat. Together with bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron they produce a winning brand of trippy Sabbath riffs.

"Hard Rock Calling" 2012 "Hyde Park" London

Inevitably it rained pretty hard throughout the set, but I’m not sure many in the 50,000 crowd noticed.  Soundgarden are back. There’s a new album promised later in the year. At a time when Black Sabbath are doing more squabbling than recording, that’s no bad thing…

"Hard Rock Calling" 2012 "Hyde Park" London

Record #69: Soundgarden – Superunknown



Categories: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Live Reviews

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. Nice job! I love Soundgarden especially the first album.Of all the Grunge bands Soundgarden and AIC were my favorites.

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  2. My cousin worked a quick tour in Europe with them a month or so ago. Something like 14 shows in 17 days (or some ridiculous schedule like that). They are pretty great.

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  3. I’m guessing we will see something from you but…how do you pull the plug on McCartney & The Boss…???? Thats sounds bizarre were you at that show?

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    • Born to over-run? Given that I saw Bruce a couple of weeks ago, I chose to spend time with the family and didn’t go. Had I known McCartney would be there….(?!) My friend went, and he said it was right at the death – another couple of minutes and it would have been over anyway. Organisers say that they have to block the surrounding roads, including Park Lane, which is a major route in and out of London, so there isn’t much leeway. I wouldn’t have liked to be the guy that pulled the plug on Bruce and Sir Paul however! This is Rock n Roll! What can you say… It was almost as bad as the time that Queensryche were prevented from playing an encore of The Needle Lies at their show at the Town and Country Club on their Operation Mindcrime tour…. Almost.

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