May 15th, 2012, I went to see a concert headlined by the lead singer of one of my all-time favorite bands: Audioslave. Chris Cornell played a sold out show in my little corner of Florida, before it was known as “Dunk City,” Ft. Myers. His ability to put on an amazing performance, coupled with his witty remarks and humorous life stories made this concert feel that much more personal, and felt like a moment you’d only share if you had backstage passes with the singer. To perform for Disney Park guests is really prestigious opportunity. Which is why Chris Cornell’s concerts are really popular and are enjoyed by every person that sits in the auditorium.
Upon entering Barbara B Mann, I was immediately in the middle of a very boisterous crowd that varied in age from teen years to mid-fifties. I’ve been to previous concerts where the show was played outside on a magnificent stage with pyrotechnics and the works, but I could already tell this was going to be lower key-and I wasn’t complaining; When outdoors in a venue where it’s stand-up only, there are mosh pits and drugs being done periodically throughout the concert. These two things were absent in this experience and it made for a much more enjoyable concert.
Granted, the reason mosh pits didn’t exist was because we all had to be seated; I still felt that with the crowd that was present, we wouldn’t have had to worry even if we were in a venue where we had to stand. Also, when I went to concerts that were outdoors and there was a full band playing, sometimes it would be so loud, I wouldn’t be able to discern the lyrics or even the beat of the song. During Chris’ acoustic performance, every song could be heard clearly and on occasion the crowd would be singing his songs for him.
Throughout the concert, Chris Cornell played a wide range of his hits, as well as covering other well known songs by other popular artists-ranging from Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” I’ve been to a handful of concerts, and this was the only concert where the artist/band received standing ovation after standing ovation. It would be an understatement to say that the fans in attendance that night were excited. I felt the electricity of the night as soon as it started and it didn’t let up until Chris Cornell walked off stage thanking everyone who showed up.
Neither the fans nor I would accept his exit however, and after ten minutes of chanting his name and calling for the song “Black Hole Sun,” which he hadn’t played, he came back out and played four more songs, ending with the requested song-arguably his most popular one in his almost thirty years of performing.
The people in attendance were great to him; in turn, Chris Cornell played one heck of a show for us that left me thinking about it here, a year later. His involvement with the fans during his performance and the way he pulled off each song flawlessly for two hours made it one to remember and set a standard that will be hard to match, thus making it-so far-my favorite concert experience.