U.S. Tour 1996: The Fans' Report
Seattle, WA, 18 Dec 1996

Wednesday night's show was the best SG show I have ever seen!!I couldn't have asked for more....(well...I'm sure I could have come up with SOMETHING! :)) But damn, it was an *awesome* show. I will now attempt to describe this mind blowing experience. I liked Pond who was the first opening act. I had never heard them before the SG shows...so I don't know much about them or their songs but I was impressed. From what I could tell (and I could be wrong) they don't have a bass player, but with their style they didn't really need it. I really liked the rhythm guitar riffs--I think they have a cool, original sound. I give them *** out of ***** stars. Then...It was the Presidents of the U.S.A. again! I think they are an incredibly fun, lively band to watch and they really get the audience involved. I was never really all that impressed by them before, but after finally seeing them live, I'm thinking I just might have to go out and purchase their CD's. They really are a *great* live band and are entertaining to watch. You can tell that they are out there having a grand ol' time and that's what I like to see. I give them ****1/2 out of *****. Before I go on to describe the one and only, utterly fantastic, outfuckingstanding Soundgarden, I will tell you a bit about the audience and what was going on. I have never seen so many people crammed into Mercer Arena. Granted, I haven't been to too many concerts there, but it was jam packed. The whole entire floor was filled from the front to the very back with people, shoulder to shoulder. I would say that about the front 1/3 of the floor was a continuous mosh pit with numerous crowd surfers. They crowd didn't seem as rowdy as they did for the first show...but it was still a very energetic audience. I didn't even try for the front. We had the most perfect seats on the floor, with a wonderful view of the whole stage...I knew I wouldn't find a better spot anywhere so I stayed where I was. Up on the left hand side above the stage was a guy painting a picutre of the show. It looked real cool. He painted part of the audience, the stage with great redish/purple lighting, and then SG performing (of course). The painter told Aaron that he was selling it to the highest bidder, starting at $8,000 and Chris Cornell had first dibs on it. he also painted a picture the first night, of the same thing, but the lighting colors where a little different and he painted the band in different poses. One thing I really enjoyed seeing was a large number of older fans there!!! When I say older I mean people in their 30's - 50's. That was super cool. I saw one guy who was around my grandfather's age, rocking out...I mean how cool is that!!!! I would say that there was definitely an older crowd there the second night--true, original SG fans!! Okay, onto the main event~~~ Spoonman was their opener and Chris dedicated the song to Artis the Spoonman...saying that this song is about him and it's only the hometown crowd that gets to see him perform it with them. Incredible. Watching ARtis rock out with his spoons is something everyone should see. That guy is an animal. It's just mind blowing to watch him play those sppons. He was jumping around, smacking the spoons against his head, feet, the floor, the mic stand, anything within his reach....I can't describe *how cool it was!!* He is one hell of a bundle of energy. It really added a special touch to a fantastic song and got the crowd really going. Now I don't have an actual set list...but to the best of my knowledge this what they played: (not in order) Spoonman, Searching with My Good Eye Closed, Never the Machine Forever, Rusty Cage, Outshined, Search and Destroy, Slaves and Bulldozers which went into Me and My Monkey and then went back to a long, ultra cool Kim solo during Slaves and Bulldozers again, Nothing to Say, Let Me Drown, My Wave, Chris' solo of Black Hole Sun, Fell On Black Days, a f**king awesome version of Head Down (I will elaborate more on that in a minute), Pretty Noose, Ty Cobb, Blow Up the Outside World, Burden In My Hand (spine tingling!!), Dusty, and ofcourse, Jesus Christ Pose. Okay, now on to my favorite moments: ahhhhhhh..where should I begin......I would have to say that my favorite bass riff is from Burden In My Hand. When it gets to the chorus, I just melt. I ofcourse had to really scope out BEN during this song. I don't know what it is about that song, but it moves me sooo much that it almost literally brings me to tears. I can't describe it..it's like some incredible soul touching experience that just makes me cry out for more.It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. Before they went into Head Down, Chris mentioned that this was a song that they hadn't played for a long time. WOW OUTSTANDING SUPERB BLEW MY SOCKS WAY THE HELL OFF This song was for me a high point of the fantastic show. kim was excellent--rocking out, smiling, doing waht he does so well...Ben was jumping around, making faces at the audience, doing his high stomp kicks, goofing around with Kim, skipping across the stage, and then did this Angus Young style hop kick across the stage. he also pulled up his shirt, made a real goofy face while wiggling his fingers under his chin. He is just *too* cool for words. THEN..to top this long, superb version of Head Down, Ben throws down his bass, walks behind the drum kit and starts playing the drums with Matt. it was soooo awesome. Ben and Matt playing drums together with Kim and Chris rocking out on guitar. W-O-W!!! The guys were having such a great time on stage and boy did it show. They really were so much fun to watch...made me smile, laugh, and almost cry. More than I could have ever hoped for!!! Kim did his behind the head while playing the guitar trick. Damn, I love his moves!!:) I thought Chris sounded great. There were some parts where his voice sounded strained, but for a guy who has been screaming and singing non-stop for the last few months and is just getting over being sick, I thought he did an exceptional job. He is a wonderfully talented musician and really gave this performance everything he had. He's a stud, what can I say!!:) Jesus Christ Post was unbelievable!! I had a wonderful view of Matt and FINALLY got to see him play the song that blows most drum solos way out of the water. Watching Matt play is just like watching a live miracle happen before your very eyes. He is phenomenal!! Then at the end, when Kim was playing around with feedback, Chris stood on his guitar and started playing with his feet (contributing to the awesome feedback Kim had going)!!! It was incredible. I wish I could relive last night over and over again. The crowd was so into it, the band was having a rocking good time, the night was...perfect. (I still wish they would have played Room a Thousand Years Wide--but even without them playing my favorite song..it was a night I will NEVER forget.) I am more in awe of them now than I ever have been before. What can I say--Soundgarden is a tough act to beat!!!

After Tuesday's masterpiece, the expectations for Wednesday's show were insanely high, but Soundgarden again proved that they will shatter any of those expectations and deliver an even better performance than the night before. The playing was equally intense, but the setlist changes took them down different paths not explored at anytime on this tour. Opening again with "Spoonman," complete with Artis in supportó"This song really rocks when we play it with Arits..." set the crowd in motion for another exhausting physical and mental workout that seemed to treat last night's monstrosity as merely a warmup. Again, Soundgarden came in riding a storm and pounded the Arena crowd with a hurricane force torrent of earth-shattering rock and roll intensity that seemed intent on leaving everyone's mind quivering in the corner. Soundgarden would have had all of the armies in the world running for cover from the never-ending onslaught of obese rhythms, obscene riffs, and skin-crawling screams. Again, Ben swaggered across the stage wearing a twisted sneer while he thundered away on his tortured bass. Kim was even more intense than the previous night, banging his head to Matt's gargantuan rhythms, riding his huge riffs around the stage, taking his virtuosic noodlings to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Chris was in even better form than the night before, once again hitting every note to perfection, taking the crowd on a gut-wrenching vertigo trip through his pained emotions. But Matt was the star of the evening, treating his drum kit like his worst enemy, hitting every skin with the crushing power of a prize fighter. The sheer force of his maniacal playing nearly lifted him from his seat several times. He thundered through intricate passages, laying down grooves that registered on the richter scale. One of the highlights was the extended jam with Ben at the end of "Head Down." Ben and Matt locked into a tribal rhythm that seemed to flow from the earth, and they punctuated a stellar number that was only played once during the whole tour. They followed with Kim's insanely complex "Never the Machine Forever," and a cover of the Stooges' "Search and Destroy." But the highlight of the evening had to be "Nothing to Say." The song's menacing riff lumbered along while Chris wrenched every last drop of emotion from the lyrics through his window-shattering screams. I hate to say it, but even crazy adjectives cannot begin to describe the mind-bending experiece that is Soundgarden. And no one could ever be the same after witnessing such an awesome display of power. -Drew- Setlist: spoonman, searching, drown, pretty noose, burden, my wave, ty cobb, black hole sun, outshined, rusty cage, fell on black days, head down, never the machine forever, jerry garcia's finger, blow up the outside world, search and destroy, nothing to say, slaves and bulldozers, dusty, jesus christ pose

another golden oldie nothing to say and it transended right into slaves and bulldozers, just a great deal to be apart of it, also i liked chris's jokes about coffee grinding, kim went beserker on the guitar, got right infront of the gate by him and enjoyed hiom the whole show, he went off, what a guy, he was in another world, and had fun , even gave us a few smiles, great show, i was still drained fro,m the first one, but it was a great way to finish the year, also i picked up a new mickey mouse watch, ill use it as a christmkas present, right on, later surf waves with extra sauce on the mix, oh and head down really went off too, squeeze it easy