Well it was basically 25 years in the making but Monday night it all came to fruition, one of the greatest grunge albums came to life at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
This review could end right there but I’ll give you a little more than that. Let’s get the negative out of the way, the ONLY negative about this show was the photo situation. I cover a lot of shows and the PR folks for Temple of the Dogs are awesome but this was one of, if not the worst shoots ever; front of house, long lens, no pit, on the floor, no riser, no stools, and on top of all that, no light. I apologize for the bad pictures but who cares, the show was amazing!
So, with the negative out of the way, how about the show itself. This tour is only making six stops for eight shows and MSG was the first of the arena shows and the third overall. Outside of these eight shows this band has only played a couple of club gigs and those happened when, some of you reading this probably weren’t born.
For those that don’t know, Temple of the Dog is made up of an all-star lineup that is fronted but Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and includes Pearl Jam members, Mike McCready (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), Stone Gossard (guitar), and Matt Cameron on drums. The band was formed in tribute to Andrew Wood, who was their friend and lead singer of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. Wood died in March 1990 of a heroin overdose before Mother Love Bone’s debut album ‘Apple’ was released. Not only was the band a tribute but their name comes from Wood’s lyrics in the song ‘Man of Golden Words’ which they play at each of their shows.
The stage was set, Madison Square Garden was packed and, as the lights went down, the band quietly took to a dark stage while an instrumental of ‘Man of Golden Words’ played in the background. The lighting was dim and although not good for photography it was very fitting for this show which opened with ‘Say Hello 2 Heaven.’ The song was one of two songs (the other being ‘Reach Down’) that were written by Cornell in order to help him deal with the grief of losing his friend. It was the perfect song to kick off the evening and coincidentally, outside of ‘Hunger Strike’ ended up being the most memorable, radio wise, from the Temple of the Dog album.
The concert showcased the album but had some other great surprises as well. Not only did the band pay tribute to Wood via Temple of the Dog music but they also included Mother Love Bone songs like ‘Stargazer,’ ‘Star Dog,’ ‘Heartshine’ as well as the previously mentioned ‘Man of Golden Words.’ Their tributes didn’t end there as they also played ‘River of Deceit’ from the band Mad Season which included Mike McCready on guitar and the late Layne Staley, of Alice in Chains, on vocals.
Cornell spoke softly between songs, telling some stories and introducing the band as well as mentioning that “If he (Wood) hadn’t died at 24, he would have played this stage many times.” Given all Cornell’s (as well as the rest of the bands) success he’s very humble in regards to his fallen friend and brother (in music) who he obviously cherished in life as well as death.
It’s always unclear why a band choses some of the songs they did but clearly the crowd was loving the set list which included some great cover songs. The best reception of the evening was when Cornell introduced Led Zeppelins ‘Achilles Last Stand’ saying something to the affect that he’s sure the song has been played a few times in this building and he never thought he’d be playing it to a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden. Outside of Zeppelin they also covered The Cure, David Bowie and even ‘War Pigs’ by Black Sabbath; check out the entire set below.
Temple of the Dogs at MSG was one of those rare, once in a lifetime type shows that you never forget. To see this entire album being played live as well as the Mother Love Bone songs and everything else, made for an amazing evening. Andrew Wood’s talents were barely known to the world and Chris, Mike, Jeff, Matt and Stone are making sure he’s not forgotten.
Nov 11th & 12th San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Center
Nov 14th Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
Nov 20th & 21st Seattle, WA – Paramount Theater
However I realize not everyone can get to the show so, if nothing else I’d urge each and every one of the people reading this to go sample some of Wood’s music. If you appreciate bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden there is no doubt you will enjoy Mother Love Bone.
With last week’s release of Mother Love Bone ‘On Earth As It Is’ which is 3 CD/DVD box set which you can order from Amazon or wherever you purchase music, you have no excuse not to check out this great band. Additionally Temple of the Dog have put out their own 25th Anniversary Deluxe addition for those of you that don’t have a copy.
Temple of the Dogs, November 7, 2016, MSG Set List
Call Me a Dog
Stardog Champion (Mother Love Bone)
Stargazer (Mother Love Bone)
Seasons (Chris Cornell song)
Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson cover)
Four Walled World
Pushin Forward Back
Quicksand (David Bowie cover)
Heartshine (Mother Love Bone)
River of Deceit (Mad Season cover)
Holy Roller (Mother Love Bone)
Times of Trouble
Achilles Last Stand (Led Zeppelin cover)
Missing (Chris Cornell song)
Fascination Street (The Cure cover)
War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
All Night Thing
For more information
Temple of The Dog – http://www.templeofthedog.com/
Soundgarden – http://www.soundgardenworld.com/
Pearl Jam – https://pearljam.com/
Mad Season – http://www.madseasonmusic.com/
Chris Cornell – http://chriscornell.com/