Soundgarden ‘Superunknown’ 20th Anniversary Show: Webster Hall, New York (Photos)

Two decades on, Superunknown remains a landmark album and the formidable Soundgarden played the entirety of it at a club show in New York.

On the eve of the remastered, deluxe re-release of their seminal album Superunknown, Soundgarden performed the entirety of the album at an exclusive club show in New York for Citi card holders. The price of admission? A mere $19.94. Ah if only tickets were normally so cheap. The many fans who lined up early for this show, some since 3 pm, or otherwise were begging to get in, probably remember such low prices. These days, the Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails (whose 1994 The Downward Spiral came out on the same day as Superunknown) tour priced the best seats over $100, though some venues did offer $20 nosebleeds (dates below). If you didn’t get in, you did miss out on a unique experience but at least the whole concert will be broadcast on Sirius / XM Radio on Howard Stern’s Howard101 channel June 13 at 10 PM EDT.

In 1994, Webster Hall would have seemed impossibly small for a Soundgarden show, and that was still the case two decades later. If there was a bit less moshing than a show from back then would have inspired, the crowd were easily as loud and enthused about being there… Also unchanged over the decades: the power of this band, and the durability of their ’94 opus. In two decades, Cornell looks almost as ageless as Pharrell, and his voice is still incredible. He sounded terrifying on “Rusty Cage” (one of two songs from 1991′s Badmotorfinger that made up the encore) but as soulful as ever on the quieter tunes, like “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “The Day I Tried To Live” and “Like Suicide.” Kim Thayil, mostly retired between the band’s 1997 breakup and their 2010 reactivation, sounded fearsome and furious, his Nuclear Assault t-shirt a reminder of his roots, which always lay far from the pop charts. (radio.com)

Chris Cornell said they would take the 70+ minute album at a “relaxed pace”, though there is no way to relax when being assaulted by Thayil’s heavy guitar riffs or Cornell’s howling or drummer Matt Cameron’s percussive hammering (he’ll be on the road with his other outfit, Seattle luminaries Pearl Jam following the SG shows). Energy had built up in anticipation of the music and for seeing the band in a small venue, and a few had that momentum going in a mosh pit. But bassist Ben Shepherd somehow found a way to rile up the audience even more. He mentioned the NY Rangers giving the crowd a reason to shout “Let’s Go Rangers” in unison. During the night, Soundgarden pushed the limits of the album, coming across bolder and more aggressive as they tackled the Superunknown (plus “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage”). Many of these are songs’ hooks became fixed in the general populous’s mind since their debut and it’s not surprise the biggest sing-alongs came with “Black Hole Sun” and “Fell on Black Days”. When Cornell suggested a future show might be a full play-through of their 2012 album King Animal, a strong effort from the reunited band, fans will surely be holding their breathe to hear these same Superunknown songs during the encore. No matter what the next show really is, it will be great to see what Soundgarden pull out of their hat this summer.

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