17 Jul 2012

Soundgarden at HRC

It was too much to ask for that the Friday here at Hyde Park would start out as it did for Pearl Jam back in 2010. That day was spent sitting around on the grass trying to keep the beers cold and avoid sunburn. You wouldn’t be sitting on anything this time round – the ground turned to a muddy slush the previous weekend having now been entirely covered with woodchip to soak up the water and any more incoming rain.

The clouds parted for long enough that Iggy didn’t get rained on, and the Stooges rocked the main stage for a short set including Gimme Danger, which I was thankful to finally hear live. The grey sky remained for a while as the stage was set for Soundgarden – this included someone hoovering centre stage for some reason – which got quite a few laughs.

The band took the stage dead on time and despite reports of the gig being undersold, still faced what looked to be a good 20,000 people. The set consisted of mostly mid-career songs, with a couple from Screaming Life/ Fopp and Louder than Love thrown in for good measure. A two song encore of Rusty cage and Slaves and Bulldozers pushed Cornell’s voice to the limits at the end, but he still maintained the scream that everyone was there to hear. 

Now I hate the rain, and have managed to go my whole life without standing ina muddy field to watch a band I love. The rain had been falling in gentle sheets on and off for the 2 hour plus set, so we were wet but not soaked through. Though watching Soundgarden – the archetypal Seattle band – in warm, wet weather, somehow fit the mood and at the same time enhanced it. No more so when 20,000 people sang ‘wont you come/and wash away the rain’ to Black Hole Sun.