U.S. Tour 1996: The Fans' Report
Seattle, WA, 17 Dec 1996

A great time was had by all, as the band was in fine form after the week's rest. Pond opened to little enthusiasm, then as a surprise replacement for Rockets from the Crypt (whom Chris wryly promoted later as a great band, even if they're from Calif.) the Pres. of the USA, who do a great job as a warm up band (they have no right being more than that, though). Artis the Spoonman joined for the opening number bearing his name, and the rock and roll was under way. Chris' voice was in great shape, and all the buys played with energy, clarity and unity. They did a nice mix of old and new, encoring with Dusty and JC Pose. Really, if there's a better show around than Soundgarden these days, point me to it!

"Sorry about the inconvenience, we'll try to make it up to you." With these words, Chris Cornell opened the postponed homecoming show, and Soundgarden more than lived up to his promise by delivering one of the best performances I've ever seen, with the other best being the following night's show. Artis the Spoonman joined them onstage for some insane spoon playing--his flurry of arm motions and cacophony brilliantly complemented the band's sustained chaos to open the show, and they were relentless in their dedication to perfection from then on. A week's rest and relaxation at home must have been exactly what the doctor ordered, because everyone in the band was loose, happy, intense, and supremely focused. Blasting into a crushing take of "Searching With My Good Eye Closed" Kim, Chris, Matt, and Ben locked into that indescribable heavy groove that defines Soundgarden and defies rock as we once knew it. From the second they hit the stage, they burned brighter than ever before, feeding off the energy of rabid hometown fans. Ben prowled the stage with his bass slung low, embellishing every note by pounding it home on the fretboard. Brimming with energy, he lashed out at his instrument, mercilessly driving Soundgarden deeper thier titanic groove. Kim wore a devilish grin as he tortured his guitar into submission, waving it high above his head, blowing on the strings, playing behing his head, and picking the hell out of it like no one else can. Often, Kim is content to ride atop the monster waves of riffage, but tonight he was inspired to thrash about the stage, trade licks with Chirs and Ben and simply play in aw of Matt Cameron. Matt's flawless, precision drumming rivaled the force of a 747 as his intricate rhythms nearly shook the Arena to the ground. The sheer force of monstrous skin-bashing reverbrated through every ounce of my being leaving no doubt that he is the finest drummer in rock. Although Chris' voice took the blame for last week's cancellation, the week's rest left him in unparalleled form. Never have I heard him hit so many notes perfectly. His rage tore through the sold-out arena in his bone-chilling screams, and his emotion evoked chills as his deep, other-worldy baritone plumbed the depths of everone's soul in "Black Hole Sun," and AFell On Black Days." Truly a wizard of his art, Cornell let it all loose upon Seattle this evening, and his bandmates responded in kind. Truly a pity that mere words cannot begin to describe the imense, thundering, relentless, unstoppable force that was Soundgarden on this chilly December evening. One could describe it as a religious experience, but it went far beyond that. It shook everyone to their very sense of being. It was primal. Setlist: spoonman, searching, drown, pretty noose, burden, my wave, ty cobb, black hole sun, outshined, rusty cage, fell on black days, helter skelter (the ultra-trippy slow version that blended into...), boot camp, jerry garcia's finger, blow up the outside

best part of the night hands down was when they played hands all over i couldnt believe it quite a sight now ive seen everyhting ive wanted to see except maybe gabby reese but thats no big deal they played hands all over!!!! awesome later surf waves

Best goddamn concert I've ever fucking been to! For Christsakes P.U.S.A. opened! P.U.S.A. opened for Soundgarden, what the fuck else could you ask for? Nothing! Except to go again, which I did!