0 Shares 1444 Views

To fans, Cornel was as a co-conspirator, collaborator, friend

May 18, 2017
0 1445

By Alistair Clout

Updated May 18, 2017 23:40:32

It was the beginning of 1994 and a somewhat unholy constellation of the world’s best musical talent had descended upon the Gold Coast parklands.

Around 9:00pm, in the heat of a seemingly endless summer, a lone figure sat solemnly atop a toilet block toward the rear of the main stage and waited.

“Get down, NOW!” began the incessant refrain from a lone security guard below, amidst the din of a 6,0000-strong sea of expectation.

If the figure heard the call at all, he took no notice and when the lights dramatically dropped, a deafening roar began and the silhouette slowly arose.

As the members of Soundgarden assembled on stage, a single, piercing plug-in crack echoed across the field and the shadowy figure out front, leaned into the microphone, hard.

“Thank you for being here — we’re gonna play some new songs tonight. Hope you don’t mind … much.”

Brazen, I thought.

A spiralling Gibson SG lead guitar began the proceedings, followed by thunderous percussion and the first song slithered its way into existence:

If this isn’t what you seeeee/

It doesn’t make you blind/

Yea, if this doesn’t make you feeeeeel/

It doesn’t mean you’ve diiiiied…/

Alive in the Superunknown/

First it steals your mind/ then it steals your souuuuuuuuuul

This was the plaintiff wail of lead singer/guitarist Chris Cornell and the preacher had spoken.

READ ALSO:   NRL live: Manly and Canberra do battle

The rooftop silhouette became a serpent, bopping, gyrating and writhing to the beat. He suddenly represented us all.

The sound level emanating from the stage was almost mortifying. Tinnitus was sent, express. To this day, I’ve never heard anything as crushing.

You simply could not hear the person screaming next to you, turning an endless sea of faces into a weird exasperation of seemingly silent mime-like ecstasy.

Three songs in and deafening got even louder.

With the arrival of Spoonman, the Big Day out turned into the sound of a Nuremberg night. Except no-one was supposed to know the songs.

The new record, Superunknown, was still over a month away and yet we were being … carried.

This was not a rock ‘n’ roll show anymore — it was a cultural exorcism, with lyrics filling our mouths before anyone had the time to even think.

READ ALSO:   NT croc industry valued at over $100m, four times previous estimates

I thought about the image of that lone silhouette when I heard the news that Cornell died at the unfathomably young age of 52.

Plenty will be written about the band, their legacy, media-imposed emblems as they were of Generation X, in the coming days and so I will dispense with all of that business here.

As part of the same generation and with these words, I’m simply hoping to remember the man as more spiritual brother than musician, for I’m certain it’s the way many will feel simply because Cornell felt like family, above all else.

This was intimacy delivered as grandiose statement and it perpetually pinched a raw nerve.

The six studio records Soundgarden made over the course of a quarter century together are more living monument to a collective feeling we all share than anything else, as is much of his solo work and many collaborations.

For above all, this was the very best kind of soundtrack, music that tapped into a certain kind of collective cultural malaise and repeatedly transcended it.

This was the personal made universal.

READ ALSO:   George Christensen crosses floor on penalty rates bill

The best bands often have the most distinctive, emotive vocalists and in this, Cornell was par excellence.

His tone was deep, rich, full of soul and when he sang, it reached to the far corners, forging the head and the heart together and carrying you out of the humdrum of existence into the realm of the entirely spiritual.

In essence, you believed him and you felt as co-conspirator, collaborator. Friend.

Clearly, tonight we lose another brother far too young.

Thoughts obviously go to his family and friends in this bleakest, most inexplicable of moments and so the many hours of majestic music remain, as testament to a unique talent and an inspiration.

For it is all that we are left with and it is what ultimately carries us all.

Alive in the Superunknown.

Amen, brother.

Topics: arts-and-entertainment, music, death, united-states

First posted May 18, 2017 23:38:27

You may be interested

Party hotspot Malia bans 10,000 boozy Brits after blaming them for destroying island’s reputation
UK Stories
0 shares1 views

Party hotspot Malia bans 10,000 boozy Brits after blaming them for destroying island’s reputation

Webby - Jul 28, 2017

The party town of Malia has turned away an estimated 10,000 boozy Brits in a desperate bid to crack down on rowdy stag…

Russia orders US to send home hundreds of diplomats from Moscow in retaliation over sanctions
UK Stories
0 shares1 views

Russia orders US to send home hundreds of diplomats from Moscow in retaliation over sanctions

Webby - Jul 28, 2017

Russia has ordered the US to send home hundreds of diplomatic staff from Moscow, in retaliation over sanctions.The US Senate yesterday voted by…

Expert uses vibrator in ‘slow, steady circles’ to arouse turtle for important scientific research
UK Stories
0 shares1 views

Expert uses vibrator in ‘slow, steady circles’ to arouse turtle for important scientific research

Webby - Jul 28, 2017

Trying to determine the sex of a turtle isn't as easy as you might imagine . Some species, such as painted turtles or…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Most from this category