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Soundgarden Live on I-5 (Review)

Soundgarden, Live on I-5

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THESE are exciting times if you’re a Soundgarden fan. Following the thunderous roars of approval that greeted their 2010 reunion, there’s now a first-ever collection of live tracks available!

Titled Live on I5 – a reference to the Interstate 5 which runs up and down the West Coast- the new collection compiles live tracks from a 1996 run by the band and captures the band at the height of their recording and touring career.

This carefully selected compilation includes fan favourites like Spoonman, Rusty Cage, Burden In My Hand and Black Hole Sun (performed by Chris Cornell solo), as well what insiders are calling the definitive live performance of Jesus Christ Pose.

As a bonus, the disc includes two covers: The Beatles’ Helter Skelter and The Stooges’ anarchic proto-punk classic, Search & Destroy.

The band took out recording engineer Adam Kasper with them on the West Coast leg of this tour – the first time they ever recorded any live shows. They rented a mobile 24 track machine/truck and recorded the gigs on 2” tape.

Soundgarden had always intended to release it as a live record soon after the tour but when they disbanded the tapes were left in the closet of Studio X in Seattle (now called Bad Animals) to gather dust.

No sooner had Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron reunited, however, then thoughts turned to recovering this ‘lost’ collection.

The results are a must-own essential for fans, showcasing their powerful live sound and reminding everyone of why they were able to become one of the biggest rock acts on the planet in their prime.

From the opening, crunching riffs of Spoonman through to the one-two finale of Black Hole Sun and Jesus Christ Pose it’s an often awe-inspiring demonstration of their live brilliance and their lasting appeal. It’s a sound that’s been often imitated but seldom bettered – and it’s rather like a treasure trove for long-time fans and newcomers.

Download picks: Spoonman, Helter Skelter, Black Hole Sun, Slaves And Bulldozers, Dusty, Rusty Cage, Jesus Christ Pose, Fell on Black Days

Track listing:

  1. Spoonman
  2. Searching With My Good Eye Closed
  3. Let Me Drown
    Tracks 1-3: Recorded live at Crosby Hall, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, CA – November 30, 1996
  4. Head Down
    Recorded live at Mercer Arena, Seattle, WA – December 18, 1996
  5. Outshined
    Recorded live at Crosby Hall, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, CA – November 30, 1996
  6. Rusty Cage
    Recorded live at Pacific National Exhibition Forum, Vancouver, BC, Canada – December 7, 1996
  7. Burden In My Hand
    Recorded live at Salem Armory, Salem, OR – December 8, 1996
  8. Helter Skelter
  9. Boot Camp
    Tracks 8 and 9: Recorded live at Crosby Hall, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, CA – November 30, 1996
  10. Nothing To Say
    Recorded live at Mercer Arena, Seattle, WA – December 18, 1996
  11. Slaves And Bulldozers
  12. Dusty
  13. Fell On Black Days
    Tracks 11-13: Recorded live at Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, Oakland, CA – December 5, 1996
  14. Search And Destroy
    Recorded live at Mercer Arena, Seattle, WA – December 18, 1996
  15. Ty Cobb
    Recorded live at Crosby Hall, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, CA – November 30, 1996
  16. Black Hole Sun
    Recorded live at Mercer Arena, Seattle, WA – December 17, 1996
  17. Jesus Christ Pose
    Recorded live at Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, Oakland, CA – December 5, 1996