Soundgarden Unleashes “King Animal” Live on Letterman [11/12/12]

Posted on: November 13th, 2012 at 6:27 am by

Chris Cornell played a solo show last night at the Bowery Ballroom as a benefit to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. But a few hours before the grunge frontman took the stage as a solo act here on the Lower East Side, Soundgarden rocked “Live on Letterman” at the Ed Sullivan Theater. We scored tickets to the intimate gig, meant as a promo power play for the release of their first album in sixteen years, King Animal, out today on the Republic imprint.

The tasty one-hour set, streamed live on CBS and VEVO, was not for the fair-weather fan. Cornell and company played mostly new stuff – seven of ten tracks – but also dug deep for their longtime grunge faithful. Gems from the early days included “Incessant Mace,” “Beyond the Wheel,” and “Fell on Black Days.” For the record, though, King Animal holds its own and is definitely worth a listen. Highlight of their show, as always, was seeing the band switch up guitars after every song. It’s hilarious.

Yet while Soundgarden totally rocked the house, the crowd of lucky ticket-holders seemed fairly stiff. More interested in recording songs for posterity. Sorta sad.

Full set list:

  1. Worse Dreams
  2. By Crooked Steps
  3. Incessant Mace
  4. Beyond the Wheel
  5. Taree
  6. A Thousand Days Before
  7. Eyelid’s Mouth
  8. Non-State Actor
  9. Fell on Black Days
  10. Rowing


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  • “Highlight of their show, as always, was seeing the band switch up guitars after every song. It’s hilarious.” UMMMM What? Soundgarden has so many different sounds with many different guitar styles/effects in each song that they require different guitars, of course depending on what song they are needing to play at the moment. When a band like this records music they don’t use just the same guitar for the entire album recording, that is not how music works. Different guitars actually provide many different sound and performance outcomes for different songs. Just ask any guitar player that has to play live. Basically most bands that play complicated music require many different guitars so that they can produce the same sounds that are on the album that was recorded in the studio. Plus they wanna show of their nice and fancy guitars. There is nothing wrong with that they are a badass band with badass music equipment. It just comes with it.

    • Soundgarden switch guitars between songs because they use alternate tunings. It’s funny because it breaks the normal flow of a traditional show when bands typically play several songs without stopping as opposed to being handed a new guitar.