SOUNDGARDEN
MISCELLANY

THE SHOWBOX GIG: REVIEWS

The following are some reviews that come from posts to the Soundgarden mailing list as well as some other websites... Got a review of your own? Send it to me.


From Caryn Rose:

Down on the (Very) Upside
Soundgarden at the Showbox
6/20/96

It all seems like a dream now. I stood on the fire escape at the office this morning, coffee in hand, looking at the direction of the Showbox. A little more than 12 hours ago I was inside, front and center, pressed against the crash barrier and hanging on for dear life, sweat running down my entire body and singing along at the top of my lungs. Soundgarden stood less than 6 feet away. I'll never see them that close again.

3pm, 6/20 : I log off my computer, transfer the essentials to my pockets, and leave the office. The Showbox is about 3 blocks away. Surprisingly, I got a lot of work done. ;-) I'm anxious, I don't know what the line will be already, and I'm consoling myself that there can't be more than 20 people there already and that still means a good spot for me. Wrong. There was NO ONE there, some stray alterna-youth wandering by, but no line. I politely ask the security guards where I should sit/stand if I wished to get on line and he pointed me to a spot in front of the doors and to the side. I sit down and wait, feeling like a total idiot. I'm sure those guys thought I was just pitiful, which irks me slightly, but I don't care. I consider going back to the office for an hour or so, but it's not like I'd accomplish anything, and if a line materialized in my absence I'd kick myself forever. So I sit, and wait.

A vaguely familiar figure dashes across First Avenue and runs into the venue. Could it be? Nah. Too short, I think, but I'm still kicking myself for not paying close enough attention. In the meantime, two guys have arrived in front of the Showbox with cardboard signs reading, "DROVE FROM PHOENIX, WILL DO ANYTHING FOR SOUNDGARDEN TICKETS". They aren't have a lot of luck, and of course the security/venue staff/band crew are mostly laughing sarcastically at them. Don't they get it?! If it wasn't for us, they would all be out of a job. I chat with them briefly and tell th em I overhead the crew saying that soundcheck would be at 7pm and that the back entrance to the Showbox is in the alley behind the building, if they wanted to try to catch the band going in.

Two woo girls* show up and start trying to chat up security by telling them they're from Minneapolis. "Really? You drove out here just for the show?" "Well, no, we were here on vacation." They are really stupid, to the point that when the aforementioned CC lookalike walks out to grab a smoke, one of them walks right up to him and goes, "Can I shake your hand?" He shakes her hand. I'm not close enough to catch the whole conversation, but a few seconds later he takes off his sunglasses and says, "No, he's much taller." *snort* just from the cheekbones alone I knew it wasn't Chris.

I amuse myself by watching the unbelievably inept crew try to set up barricades. It's really not that difficult, guys! It's 4pm already, and *still* no line. Kinda incredible, if you ask me. I munch on my Power Bar and wait for Chris to arrive. Around 4:30, Toni shows up and we chat. In the meantime, someone on a killer touring bike pulls up in front of the Showbox and since we're talking I don't get a close enough look, but I could have *sworn* it was Matt. Not like I would have bothered him anyway, but I wish I'd paid closer attention.

A few minutes later the security gives me the lame excuse that I'm blocking traffic to the clothes store next door. Well, where can I wait? He shrugs and points over to the side, so we move to where the line has been for every other show I've been to at the Showbox. This would later prove to be a mistake. Chris showed up around 5, and a few minutes later Toni went to get on the will-call line. Andrea and Bonnie showed up at the exact same time. I go run over to Pike Place Market to hit the bathroom and grab some reading material..

A little after 6, Mr. Security Guard comes over to our line and goes, "Everyone over here is will call, right?" Um, no, idiot, you told us to go over here. There's already a healthy line of ticketholders on the other side, and there is NO WAY in HELL I am getting at the end of it. I argue with the guys watching that line & they shrug. I go up to Mr. Inept Security Guard and go, you know I've been here since 3pm, you told us to go over here, this is NOT fair. By some miracle he tells the other guards to let us in the front. The people on the line grumble, and this is hardly gathering us good will, but I do NOT care. Lots of people milling about looking for tickets, lots of scalpers too. The line begins to wrap around the block. Someone walks by with two dogs on a leash and none of us paid attention until they walked back out & Bonnie leans over and pets the dogs. We're whispering amongst ourselves as to whether or not they're Chris' when the owner walks by - none other than Ms. Susan Silver. Looking much thinner than she did in "Hype!". Dogs were cute.

Finally, finally, around 8pm they let us in. First, ID check. Then, metal detector. I've got the camera shoved down my jeans and I'm praying it doesn't set off the metal detector. Home free! Then, a body search. She looks at my biker wallet and says, "No chains". Fine, I say, ripping everything out of it and throwing it aside. She goes, you won't get this back. I'm like, um, do I have any other choice in the matter? Like I'm going to go to the car and get on the end of the line??! We're still the first ones in and I walk straight up the stairs, glance at the tshirts, and open the doors to the showroom. If they aren't ready for us, they'll tell us to leave. I walk straight for the front and the center. Andrea and Toni go for chairs, Bonnie decides to join us down front after some deliberation. I make a quick run to the bathroom and then to buy shirts Toni offers to hold them for us through the show.

Okay, enough preface. Chris and Bonnie and I are right in front, slightly off to Ben's side. By the end of the show we were RIGHT in front of Chris. The stage is ready, someone comes on to announce them, the lights go off and I swear my heart just stopped. Beautiful blue light, Chris with his hair standing on end, Kim, Matt hiding behidn the drums, Ben right in front. We could partially see the set list before the show started but couldn't see what they were going to start with, and I hoped it wouldn't be something really raucous just to keep the crowd mellow for a bit. So they start, some lovely cymbal work by Matt, but I don't recognize the song! Or I do - because I'm singing it - wait! It's the Doors! Ohmigod, "Waiting For The Sun" - what a PERFECT song for them to do! A beautiful showcase for Chris' voice - I knew his voice had to be in shape or he would never have attempted this! Ben was right at the front of the stage, his eyes slowing moving along everyone down front, checking out the crowd. I'm checking Chris out for Shroom - black engineer boots, black jeans, black buttondown shortsleeve shirt, much like on snl, no belt, thin hoops in both ears. My god that man is gorgeous. (Sorry.)

Next was "Searching With My Good Eye Closed" and I am just SOOOOOOO psyched , I *adore* Chris' voice in this song, I love this song, I am just in heaven. The guys have loosened up, Ben is really, really in a good mood - I remember thinking about recent list discussion where people have thought he was thinking about leaving the band - I don't think so. He was making faces, spinning around, having a GREAT time. I couldn't wait for the end of the song to hear Chris scream and did he scream! Total ecstasy! I just can't describe what that moment felt like. Next song was "Let Me Drown" - just hearing that guitar-bass-drum grinding in the intro - it was like a long lost friend. Oh this is great. I'm even thinking I'm going to be able to remember the set list - the chorus was one huge singalong.

"Pretty Noose" was wonderful and I had no doubts that Chris could hit those notes to night and he did. It and "Never The Machine" were kind of a blur - until they went into "Ty Cobb". I think Chris took his guitar off for that one - or maybe for "NTMF" - not sure. But he REALLY got into it, out on the edge of the stage, giving us all the finger, trying to get us to sing the chorus along with him. Serious audience eye contact - I know I caught his eye twice, don't expect me to tell you WHEN it was! (I know Ben saw me once or twice too) "Fell On Black Days" was next and Chris was really into this one, closing his eyes and squeezing the words out. They fucked up towards the end and Chris cracked up, smirking at Kim. It was the best moment so far - I didn't recognize the next song at all, I mean, a total blank, it sounded familiar and I saw later it was a last-minute handwritten addition to the setlist. I was kinda grateful for a slow and unknown one right about now so I could reposition myself and catch my breath. The crowd was okay, except for ONE guy who thought he owned the entire place and even made some comment to me later about not deserving to be down front if I didn't smile. Excuse me, asshole, I WAS smiling, if you took your elbow out of my ear I'd smile more, maybe.

"4th of July" seemed to lose pace a little, but they picked it back up with "Spoonman". Lots of smiles from Ben, the occasional interchange between Chris and Kim. I'm trying to watch Matt play but it's hard, it's really hard, I have to remind myself. "Black Hole Sun" was next, just Chris on guitar - Matt broke one of his snares and he collapses on the floor behind the kit while his roadie (who is the CC lookalike from earlier today) replaces it. Chris is clearly bored, it's not working, he doesn't like doing it, it's my least favorite song too, and as soon as he got to the end and saw that Matt was back in action he just tore of the guitar and they careened into "Outshined", Chris slamming the mic stand to the floor and stamping his feet, probably the most intense moment of the evening and my personal favorite. Huge singalong time in the crowd too.

I loved "Rhinosaur" live, same with "Never Named", aw, hell, what am I saying, I loved all the new stuff live and would have KILLED to hear more! "Blow Up The Outside World" was great too. Who am I kidding??? They ran off stage but we knew they'd be back because we saw it on the set list earlier - with "Boot Camp"!!! which started with this long extended wicked-sounding jam session, I would KILL for a copy of this version, then they slid into the song and if you love this song, you are in for a TREAT live, I just wish I could have concentrated more and not been worried about fighting assholes off from every direction. And finally, "No Attention", I pull the camera out and start snapping away. I figured security would ignore me by now and they did! More screams, more Ben antics, Matt - damn that man is GOOD! Argh!! I could go a whole show just watching him! Song ends, they wave goodbye, very heartfelt, and they're off.

There was some between songs patter, I have no idea when and where it occurred, he mumbled something about his brother being there and also something about the last time they played Seattle, at Memorial Stadium, and how it made him feel like he was at a high school football game - Maybe someone like Toni or Andrea who were further back can fill that stuff out.

The third-best moment in the evening occurred as they were striking the equipment - I catch the drum roadie's eye and ask for a setlist. He shakes his head. Damn, I think. Chris' guitar roadie comes out and gives a set list to someone else, and throws a pick out into the crowd - then a free-for-all ensues and I figure I'm not gonna get a damn thing and I'm tired of fighting already. All of a sudden, the drum roadie leaps off the drum riser with a stick in hand, across the stage, down into the security pit and hands it *straight* to me!!!! All I can think is that he remembered me from earlier that day, and I was the only girl down front fighting for something. Oh man. I think I thanked him but certainly not enough, I was more worried about getting out of the mob with the stick intact. I walked away with Bonnie - Chris was still at the barrier fighting for a setlist. and through sheer willpower and the ability to outwait anyone, got one. (Good thing too, because I never would have remembered all the songs in order - of course 5 minutes later I go to Toni and Andrea, "Hey, did either of you get the setlist?" Doh!)

Went outside, smoked a cigarette, took a group SOMMS picture (sorry we missed you, Todd!) and basked in the total high we were all in. Chris and I decided to try to wait to see if the band would walk out - Matt's bike was still parked out back =96 but it didn't take long for me to get very cold (since I was totally drenched) and it was much later than we thought anyway. Besides, I think everything that happened was quite enough already, thank you - though I was joking with Chris that I'd go up to Matt and say, 'Hey, Shroom says hi!" (Actually, I would have told him the list says hi, but never mind.) Chris came up with his own hilarious idea for a list shirt, but I'll let him post about that later.

Oh, a woo girl, for those of you who don't know, are those stupid bimbos in bikini tops who get on top of their boyfriend's shoulders at concerts and yell "Woo!".


From Bonnie Cochran:

What an incredibly awesome night! I'll never be able to fully describe how cool it was.

I met Caryn, her boyfriend Chris and Andrea on line at 5:30. Andrea and I showed up the same time as I was telling Caryn, "It's me, Bonnie." Too cool. Of course, Caryn was first in line to hold our places. The security guys running the shit out outside did not have it together. We were waiting in one line, for ticket holders, and the other was supposed to be for will call. Well, it ended up half and half so they switched lines, but at least they did let us take our rightful places in front.

One highlight is Susan squished past us in line with the two Pomeranians (I fucking forgot their names too!). She does not look like any pictures I have seen of her, so at first wasn't really sure who she was. I definitely knew the dogs though. She was inside for a while and when she came out, they let the dogs pee on the building and I kneeled down and petted one dog. She was talking to someone and when they excused themselves to come back through I bent down and petted the other one. Caryn's Chris said, "That is Susan." I TOUCHED THE DOGS THAT CHRIS TOUCHES ALL THE TIME, AND PROBABLY SLEEPS WITH THEM! I was doing if for Shroom and then I realized that it was my hand and got all excited!! Whew!!

Okay, so then they let us in about 8:00 p.m. and I am trying to decide: stand right up front and possibly die, or sit in a chair at a safe distance. I rushed to the bathroom and then tell Andrea I'm gonna go for the front for as long as I can. There's no way in hell I was gonna pass up that chance to be that close and possibly make it the whole show, no fucking way!!! So Chris, Caryn and I make our united front right there man! Oh yeah, Toni (tonerkins) was there. TOO cool! We hugged and were just hyped. I was shaking because I was really there, inside waiting for them to come on and looking at the mic stand and realizing I would be watching Chris sing so close, and the rest of the guys. Adrenaline! Toni opted for a table, but ended up being on the edge of the stairs that led to the table area. Just couldn't help herself!

The first band came on at 9:00 or so, Devilhead. Not too impressive, but I would really have hated to be that band. Opening for Soundgarden in the Showbox. First show in Seattle for almost two years. 800 people capacity. Oh well, I was polite and I actually thought a couple songs were okay, maybe better if the lead singer didn't look like he had an attitude, "Fuck it, they don't give a shit anyway, so why should we try that hard." They did have another guy come on and sing and I thought he was pretty good and that jazzed up their enthusiasm some. I'd like to find out who he was.

They set up for SG. Then off go the lights and the guy comes out and says something like, "Playing tonight in Seattle for the first time since August 1994, Soundgarden!" ( i was at that last show too) Massive surging.

They were so good. We were just what, 10 feet away? I'm *real* bad with distance, so I don't really know, but it was SOO close, which I hadn't done at a SG concert before. I held my own at that barricade through their entire show and encore. Caryn went off on some guy trying to weasel in around me and then he was hanging over my head and using it as a rest. I punched his arm up in the air and the bouncer told him to quit it. Caryn is so cool, she just got down on him!

The songs, the sound, the singing. Everything about last night was just incredible. I tried to remember what they played. You may have already gotten a post from Caryn on it. Because, after the show was over we were still right up there and Caryn and Chris were trying to get set lists and whatever they could. Caryn was asking one guy (looks like CC) for the list or whatever, while he's messing with Matt's drums, he picks up a drumstick and comes all the way over and hands it *specifically* to Caryn. That was awesome. It's got the SG name on it and is beat to shit.

Oh yeah, and while they're playing, one guy who shoved his way in next to me is asking Ben if he can have a drink of his water. So Ben picks it up and walks to edge of stage and hands it to him!! So, of course, I gotta get me some just so I can say, "I drank out of Ben's water bottle." Which I did!!! I *think* Caryn and Chris did too. I believe the guy handed it back, but I can't be positive.

Like I say, the whole experience was too awesome for words. Totally worth anything I went through. You should see my arms man. They are SO bruised and everyone at work is just amazed (shocked?) at me. Okay, so out of 50 people in my office, 6 know who they are, or have heard of them. Just two of us are fans, me being more fanatic of the two. Ted and me. Not many people who can really understand it. I went running down to Ted's office earlier to tell him, of course about the show, and that I had heard the Green Apple Quick Step and Inflatable Soule and someone else are playing the Capitol Theater here in Olympia tonight. IS are also playing tomorrow night at the Fenix in Pioneer Square. Andrea is going and last night I said I would too, but now with them playing tonight just three blocks from my office, I've got another goddamn choice to make! (oops, I digress)

Shroom, you would have loved it. But you had five of us sommsters thinking about you, so you were there in spirit! I reached out to get as close as I could to Chris, god he's gorgeous! All in black and looking excellent. He even pulled up his shirt a few times and Caryn and I looked at each other, "Yeah!" We also had my husband take a picture of us. I look totally moshed and was soaking wet! Won't be my best photo, I know, but I couldn't have been much happier than that!! I can't wait to see the pics Caryn took. If they turn out, they will be really good ones, up close like that.

I'm sure you've heard from Caryn, she's awesome man. I really like her and appreciate how she helped me through the extremely difficult days I had from Friday to yesterday on my ticket search. Her and Andrea. Yes, life can be oh so sweet!!

Some more cool shit about the SG crew, or *whoever*. I'm not real sure who was responsible. Two guys had signs saying they had driven from Phoenix for the show and needed tickets. They were there when I got there and I gave them the numbers of one scalper, depending on how much they were willing to spend. Told 'em good luck, and hoped they'd find something. Saw them out front after the show, when Caryn, Andrea and I were having our, "After show cigarette." They had someone ask them if they really drove up from Phoenix, and they said yeah man, just finished our finals and headed straight here. They both were given FREE passes. Isn't that cool? It is still out there.

I hadn't eaten all day. That could explain while I felt like I might pass out a couple times. I would NOT let myself be pulled off from the front, no way in hell. The security guy who was in front of me the whole night kept asking if I was okay and stuff. I'd either give him a big grin (LOVING it) or the okay or thumbs up sign. He better have been impressed! I'm short man, barely 5'2" and not skinny at 115, but still. And I held my fucking own (yes, with Caryn's help) against the surging, bashing crowd. God, when some songs started the whole floor just jumped up and down. Yeah, and Chris actually threw his water on us! It was cold and felt great and Chris threw it on me!! I tried to make eye contact with all of them and smile and shit. Ben was right there and Kim looked over a few times. And yes Chris too.

I know I got more to say. They had a couple fumble things, but THEY WERE SO FUCKING GREAT! Ty Cobb Chris jumping around hitting his head a flipping the crowd off, Rhinosaur, everything. Like I said, Caryn's got the set list and will really be able to describe the music in more detail (and the evening in less profane and excitable terms).

Okay, I got home at 3 a.m. this morning and was up at 5:30 a.m. I haven't done a whole hell of a lot here at work, but I'm here and was even a little early!

Thanks for letting me share my joy.


From Toni Roark:

Hey Guys, Have you ever woke up in your bed and thought "have these past days been a dream or did I really pick up and go to Seattle and see Soundgarden???"Yes, I did! And I have the kindness of Susan Silver Management to thank! (and Rita too!) Glory me straight to Heaven , children :-) I SAW SOUNDGARDEN up close and personnel (not as close as the brave ladies,Caryn and Bonnie) but close enough to have a perfect view and the sound was fantastic!!!! You got the line details all ready. Susan and the poms!! (BTW how does she keep from having dog hair all over her black clothes?) On my end I also saw Chris's Mom go in. (I saw a picture of her in Deb's zine and I'm pretty sure it was her!) The guys in front of me said "You must know someone!" And she turned and said "You betcha!" There was a dark- haired lady with her- Jean Silver maybe????? Anyway, I made some concessions to my advanced age and the fact I had spent the last two days walking up and down those friggin hills in Seattle(I never knew if was so hilly! straight up to my hotel!) And opted for a table! I met two women in line (I had to stand in a different line that Caryn, Bonnie, Chris and Andrea) so these two women from Seattle adopted me. We got a corner table. Designated safe cool off zone for the stage warriors in case they got pulled out of the front. Also tee shirt storage! I kept the sommsters tees for them. Once a Mom always a Mom! Anyway we sat and had drinks for the first band, I got a second wind so when Soundgarden came on. I couldn't stay back there so I got to the top of the stairs which was a little to the left of center. I was happy as a pig in shit! The sight lines were great!!! And the sound from where I stood was fantastic. Kim on more than one occasion ran a riff by that sent a chill down my spine!!(oh! maybe that was someone spilling beer down my back?) Ben was really active and I agree he seemed in fine spirits. I watched Kim alot. I just wanted to see that head thing he does like those nodding dogs in the back window of cars. And he did it a couple of times.(I didn't notice any weird thumb action thought!) Chris's voice was in excellent shape!!!! No straining at all, on key just GREAT!! Yes, he looked good too!!! I thought the same thing caryn about his shirt being the same one from SNL!!

Couldn't see Matt too well same problem as Todd, Cymbals in the way. Just some random thoughts: Chris did a version of BHS alone on guitar. I could of swore they did it the regular way and than Chris' version later?? Am I nuts did I hear that? Outshined was really good( I was suprised to hear it!) Of the new stuff the ones that stand out were of course Ty Cobb, Burden in my hand. I liked No attention too! Isn't it strange Todd says they made a longer intro into bootcamp. I thought they had a jam after it! It was really a great show, good place to see a band! Sound was excellent and loud but not too loud!!! Am I a lucky dog or what???? I spent my daughter's first year college tuition flying out there and a hotel! But what the hell! Life is short ! First your born than you die and I might not of seen Soundgarden in between! OK one last thing! Does it mean I am really too old to be doin this shit when someone standing next to me watching me jump around, scream and sweat. Leans over and in complete sincerity asks me, "Are you the Mother of one of the guys in the band?" If I hadn't been in such a good mood I would of slapped the bitch!! I told her I'm old but not that old! And I didn't have sex at 12 or 13 and give birth to Ben. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!! Sorry for the long post! But this is my first time telling people my SG story!! I'm sure it will be repeated many times in the next few days!! I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy!!! Toni


From iMusic, June 21, 1996:

SOUNDGARDEN SEATTLE SHOWCASE - by Bob Scheu

Small Room, Big Happy Crowd

Seattle's Soundgarden triumphed last night in their hometown. The Showbox, a newly revived showcase in downtown Seattle hosted a performance by Soundgarden before they take to the road for Lollapalooza. The Showbox is not a tiny club -- it can take a decent sized crowd -- but it was filled to the rafters last night as the die-hard (and lucky few) fans mixed in up with the stars in their sky.

Much of the music in Soundgarden's 90 minute set was from the new album, Down on the Upside and was met with enthusiasm, but not much recognition. Pretty Noose the first single from the album recieved the noisiest welcome, but it was Ty Cobb, the punk driven "hard headed fuck you all," that really hit the mark. From earlier albums a solo version by Chris Cornell of Fell on Black Days was compelling and personal, while Outshined did just that, outstripping the new material in punch and delivery. Dipping back even further, the show opened with a rousing version of classic Doors chestnut, Waiting for the Sun. A little later in the set Cornell announced, "You're not going to recognize this one," and proceeded to totally nail a tune from the early days of Captain Beefheart (this writer's patron saint). For that alone Soundgarden deserves a spot in rock heaven, if not for leaving the capacity crowd literally screaming for sheer joy standing in the steaming debris of The Showbox.


From Addicted To Noise, June 25, 1996:

Soundgarden Jam For JAMPAC

Hot show. Very hot show.

Last Thursday night, June 19, things really heated up as Soundgarden performed a special benefit concert at the Showbox Theater in Seattle. Fans were dripping with sweat in the packed venue, but not just because the group was in top form. The air conditioner was on the blink, and when you get 1,250 fans into the Showbox on a summer day with no air-conditioning, well, things do get a bit sweaty. In any case, the show raised money for three charitable organizations: JAMPAC, the anti-censorship public interest group created by former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, the AIDS Research and Care Fund for Pediatric AIDS and Share Wheel, an organization that provides the homeless with storage lockers for their possessions. According to one of our ace reporters who was on the scene, the group really rocked the Soundgarden fans in attendance at the historic venue, where Duke Ellington once played. They opened with the Doors' classic, "Waiting for the Sun," and also slipped in a Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band number. As for their own material, Soundgarden delivered a powerful version of "Blow Up the Outside World," a ten minute or so jam on "Boot Camp," and wrapped things up with an extended version of "No Attention," all off their new album, Down on the Upside. A highlight of the evening was a solo performance by Chris Cornell--accompanying himself on electric guitar--of "Black Hole Sun." Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard was there digging the scene. And speaking of scenes, there was a big one outside the theater, where there were numerous fans who couldn't get in, and scalpers hawking the scarce tickets for over $100 each.