Even if you’re not overly-obsessed with Seattle’s music scene from the nineties like I am, there’s still a good chance you heard about the Temple of the Dog reunion. Chris Cornell, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Matt Cameron joined forces once more for the 25th anniversary of the band that formed in the aftermath of Andrew Wood’s passing.
You also might’ve heard how incredibly difficult it was to score tickets. By some miracle I was able to obtain two row 11 tickets to Philly’s night two show… I know… how I pulled that off I’m still not sure.
I had a countdown going for this since the announcement of the tour was released, so let me just say I’m so biased they could’ve played show tunes and I wouldn’t have cared. (That’s a lie, but seriously, that’s how excited I was.)
I got lost in Upper Darby and caught the locals poking fun at our crowd, “what the hell are all these crazy white people lining up around the block for?” I couldn’t even take the slightest offense to it though, because the amount of dads in 25 year old band t-shirts discussing possible setlist changes was pretty absurd. (However, it was also pretty awesome.)
The band didn’t change their setlist much throughout the tour, but my concert was the first night they played the Mad Season cover, “River of Deceit” and previously unreleased TOTD song “Missing”… so that had my heart fluttering with excitement. I was getting to hear so many songs I never thought I would be able to hear live because of my age.
I’ve heard that some people had issues with the covers they played, but how one could be disappointed with Cornell screaming Zeppelin and Ament jamming to The Cure is beyond me. Another complaint by many was the fact that Eddie Vedder didn’t show up to help sing the band’s well-known tune Hunger Strike. I must admit I felt a twang of sadness when I realized the crowd was going to have to scream his part, but after experiencing it, to that statement I answer a little louder for the people in the back- get over it. Vedder and Cornell on stage would have been undoubtedly epic, but that’s not what this tour was about. TOTD was formed to mourn the loss of a friend who most of the members were close with. It was a project of healing, and maybe that’s why the lyrics to so many songs resonate with an audience so strongly even after all these years. We’ve all felt pain, most of us have experienced loss, and the catharsis that comes with jamming out with peers who get it is unmatched.
Disclaimer- I totally charged the stage and made it to front row on the last song. I briefly held up a sign to tell Jeff Ament he inspires me, because he’s the reason I started playing bass, and (I think) he saw it. But McCready pointed me out and smiled, and someone on Facebook happened to capture most of the moment on film, and sent it to me to keep forever. Isn’t technology bonkers?
Overall, Temple of the Dog was truly wonderful, and I hope everyone who didn’t get the chance to experience the show gets to in the near future.