Madison Square Garden becomes the Temple of the Dog: review
Temple of the Dog — the grunge supergroup featuring members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden — reunited Monday night at Madison Square Garden for the first arena gig of their 25th anniversary tour and only their third official concert together.
The tour marks the 25th anniversary of Temple of the Dog’s self-titled, one and only album from 1991. It went on to be a million seller, yet the band members only performed a handful of club gigs in the Seattle area before retuning to their full-time bands.
Temple of the Dog, the grunge supergroup featuring members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, reunited Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Temple of the Dog features an all-star lineup with Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell on vocals and Pearl Jam members: Stone Gossard (guitar) Mike McCready (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass) and drummer Matt Cameron, who has performed as a member of both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. TOTD was formed in 1991 in tribute to the band members’ friend and colleague Andrew Wood, the lead singer of the Seattle band Mother Love Bone, who died in March 1990 of a heroin overdose just weeks before Mother Love Bone’s debut album, “Apple,” hit store shelves.
The concert featured not only the songs of Temple of the Dog, but also a few rousing Mother Love Bone compositions such as “Heartshine," “Stargazer," and “Star Dog Champion,” all performed with a passion that would have made Wood proud.
The loudest applause of the night came when Cornell introduced a song “that has probably been played in this building before” and launched into Led Zeppelin’s spacey, yet epic “Achilles Last Stand.”
The set opener “Say Hello 2 Heaven” was written by Cornell, originally to help him process the grief brought on by Wood’s passing. Tonight, it was an anthem that got the Garden crowd on their feet, singing along to match Cornell’s high, ear-piecing falsetto that proves why he is truly one of rock’s greatest voices of all time. Another crowd pleaser was “Hunger Strike," performed on the album as a duet between Cornell and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder. Cornell had the crowd eating out of his hand, as they sang Vedder's entire verses of the song.
TOTD also touched on the music of another Seattle area band, Mad Season, of which Mike McCready was also a member of, along with the late Layne Staley of Alice in Chains on vocals. “River of Deceit”, a minor alternative rock hit in the mid-1990’s was well received by the Garden crowd, as were cover numbers by David Bowie (“Quicksand”), The Cure (“Fascination Street”) and Black Sabbath (“War Pigs”).
The concert featured not only the songs of Temple of the Dog, but also a few rousing Mother Love Bone compositions such as “Heartshine,” “Stargazer," and “Star Dog Champion.”
Perhaps the loudest applause of the night came when Cornell introduced a song “that has probably been played in this building before” and launched into Led Zeppelin’s spacey, yet epic “Achilles Last Stand,” featuring masterful, looping guitar work by McCready and Stone Gossard. Afterward, Cornell laughed as it hit him: “I never imagined I’d be singing ‘Achilles Last Stand’ on stage at Madison Square Garden!” an obvious nod of praise to his childhood rock 'n' roll heroes.
The name Temple of the Dog comes from a lyric by Wood in the Mother Love Bone song “Man of Golden Words," which Cornell performed Monday night as a solo acoustic number. The “one-off” band played two short opening sets in Seattle in 1990, and has occasionally performed TOTD songs with Cornell during guest appearances at Pearl Jam concerts, but otherwise the group has never played together live since recording the album.
1. "Say Hello 2 Heaven"
2. "Wooden Jesus"
3. "Call Me a Dog"
4. "Your Saviour"
5. "Stardog Champion" (Mother Love Bone cover)
6. "Stargazer" (Mother Love Bone cover)
7. "Seasons" (Chris Cornell song)
8. "Jump Into the Fire" (Harry Nilsson cover)
9. "Four Walled World"
10. "I'm a Mover" (Free cover)
11. "Pushin’ Forward Back"
12. "Hunger Strike"
13. "Quicksand" (David Bowie cover)
14. "Heartshine" (Mother Love Bone cover)
15. "River of Deceit" (Mad Season cover)
16. "Holy Roller" (Mother Love Bone cover)
17. "Reach Down"
18. "Man of Golden Words" (Mother Love Bone cover)
19. "Times of Trouble"
20. "Achilles Last Stand" (Led Zeppelin cover)
21. "Missing" (Chris Cornell song)
22. "Fascination Street" (The Cure cover)
23. "War Pigs" (Black Sabbath cover)
24. "All Night Thing"