It seems like only a heartbeat has gone by since the day Chris Cornell tweeted the announcement that Temple Of The Dog were reuniting for a U.S. tour, the day the tickets went on-sale and sold out in 5 minutes, and today, the night of the very first show at the Tower Theater just outside Philadelphia, PA. Like thousands of other fans, I sat on my computer and 2 other devices furiously refreshing Ticketmaster’s infernal website, to no avail. As of two days ago, I still wasn’t going, and I had made my peace with it. Luckily, at the last minute, Alternative Nation was blessed with a ticket to review the show.
All of the excitement of a highly anticipated & sold out show was abound as concert-goers flooded the sidewalks around the venue. There was a nice chill in the air that added to the suspense of seeing a once in a lifetime event, 25 years in the making. The love for this one-album cult supergroup let itself known with a sea of fans swarming the merch table until it was no more and they had to shut it down until after the show when they could re-stock everything (besides posters, which sold out completely). With a hundred or so people still trying to buy tour shirts, the lights in the lobby dimmed down and the crowd made a bee-line for their seats.
Before anyone had a chance to blink, the flanged guitar notes from the intro of Say Hello 2 Heaven rang out followed by the overwhelmingly satisfied screams of the 3,119 in attendance. I have been to a handful of really, really good shows where the live band sounds as good as the studio album, but never one where there were 25 years in between! I can’t even stress enough just how AMAZING Temple Of The Dog sounded tonight. Chris’ voice is always something to behold, but he’s usually drawing from different points in his career or new material. Tonight he took his voice all the way back to 1991 and stayed there– effortlessly! He even wore a shirt he claimed was from 1990 to celebrate the occasion, and possibly to draw some energy from.
The night progressed with songs from the album, as they played all ten songs through the course of the night, as well as playing plenty of Mother Love Bone covers. The fifth song in, they jammed to MLB’s hit Stardog Champion as Chris channeled his departed friend & roommate, Andy Wood, and ended up sounding exactly like him. It was unreal to hear it and was the closest thing we’ll ever see to a Mother Love Bone concert. Chris asked the audience to send some love out to Andy and the theater erupted in response, hopefully echoing out into the atmosphere for him.
Andy’s wasn’t the only other tribute, as the band also played the David Bowie song, Quicksand. As Temple Of The Dog only had made that one (though albeit amazing) album comprising of just ten songs, the band peppered other various covers into their set, taking on; Jump Into The Fire (Harry Nilsson), I’m A Mover (Free), Achilles Last Stand (Led Zeppelin), and even War Pigs by Black Sabbath! At one point in the show, a statue of Andy Wood was wheeled out and propped up on the stage behind Stone to further pay tribute their fallen bandmate and friend.
All in all it was an amazing show despite no Eddie Vedder, and even the cops on the street in charge of security were talking about it. They even blocked traffic for me while I snapped a picture of the marquee, and said, “it’s ok, I know what a huge show this is.” He was right! Once. In. A. Lifetime!
Say Hello 2 Heaven
Call Me a Dog
Stardog Champion (Mother Love Bone cover)
Stargazer (Mother Love Bone cover)
Seasons (Chris Cornell song)
Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson cover)
Four Walled World
I’m a Mover (Free cover)
Pushin’ Forward Back
Quicksand (David Bowie cover)
Heartshine (Mother Love Bone cover)
Holy Roller (Mother Love Bone cover)
Man of Golden Words (Mother Love Bone cover, with Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb” tag)
Times of Trouble
Achilles Last Stand (Led Zeppelin cover)
Baby Lemonade (Syd Barrett cover)
Fascination Street (The Cure cover)
War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
All Night Thing