L.S. Media Rating ***
There was a general air of expectancy about the reformation of Soundgarden that buzzed around Donington and the overall weekend of Download. Plenty of T-Shirts were spotted being worn with semblance of pride; many conversations were overheard on how people were perhaps looking forward to this slot more than many others. It was therefore a shame that the hype really didn’t lend itself to time that the band were on stage.
Too say that the band, for all their good intentions, looked drained and uninspired as they trudged their way through the set would be an understatement. For those that surrounded the stage there would have been moments where it would have been possible to fall asleep as Chris Cornell and the rest of Soundgarden attempted to bring back the magic of previous albums. That said it wasn’t all doom and gloom band and in parts there was a brief glimpse of really could have been as Chris Cornell did seem to try his best to please a crowd that were happy to see them but didn’t quite have the passion of what they had just seen and was what to come. Perhaps if the expectation hadn’t been so great then the group may have seemed less overawed on the day.
Soundgarden opened up with Spoonerman and Let Me Drown and as the evening drew in and the planes from the east Midlands airport continued going overhead, it was possible to see quite a few people that were more interested in the flight path of those bound for foreign parts than what was happening on stage.
Tracks came and went; people came and went from the main stage area with either a mix of overwhelming joy or more usually, a look of tainted mild bemusement. As the set came to a close Chris Cornell dedicated the band’s major hit to all those from the U.K. who made them feel welcome. Black Hole Sun got the biggest cheer of the day for the band but again the lack of apparent enthusiasm let the group down.
With the band playing Hard Rock Calling in London in a few week’s time, it can only be hoped that the group pull all the stops out and give a performance worthy of their fans dedication.
Ian D. Hall