Chris Cornell 88 248.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel Trade Fairs Center
No matter what Chris Cornell does for the remainder of his career, his role in two of contemporary rock's most monstrous acts - Seattle grunge forerunners Soundgarden and the Rage Against the Machine spinoff supergroup Audioslave - renders the man a legend. Unfortunately, Cornell's career path in recent years has been making us wonder how much longer we should be cutting him slack on the merit of his glory days.
Both of the aforementioned landmark bands dissolved in the name of "creative differences," Cornell following each breakup with solo albums marked by far less creative edge than he'd displayed in the context of the group. For the first time in his career, Cornell has now released two solo discs in a row, each of these marking new low points in Cornell's professional trajectory. His latest offering, the synth blip-laden Scream, was even produced by hit-maker Timbaland (BeyoncÃ©, Missy Elliot, Ashley Simpson), and it was in support of this project that Cornell showed up in Israel for a large, outdoor performance on Wednesday.
Thousands of Tel Aviv-area rock fans packed themselves between the stage and the soundboard for two hours of competent rock and roll that seemed to be delivered with just enough sincerity and intensity to qualify as entertaining.
Yes, the set list did include raw gems of aggression like "Rusty Cage," and even a tease of "Good Times Bad Times" in the middle of a drum solo break from "Spoonman," but it also included what felt like an endless flow of Scream duds. The crowd didn't seem to mind, though, sharing vocal duties on "Hunger Strike" and an acoustic "Redemption Song."
Most of the performance was relatively enjoyable, and although it lacked a certain intensity (that apparently Cornell is only capable of when performing in bands comprised of rock purists with egos that rival his), the show did gain energetic momentum at points. And say what you will about his recent creative misdirections, Cornell still has one of rock's most impressive set of pipes, belting out a wail that rivals anyone's in the business.