Watch Highlights From 5-Hour Chris Cornell Tribute Concert

Watch Highlights From 5-Hour Chris Cornell Tribute Concert



chris cornell

Soundgarden Frontman Chris Cornell. Photo by Alison S. Braun/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

A moving tribute concert, 'I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell' was held at the Forum in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The 5-hour, star-studded event was packed full of collaborative performances and sentimental lamentations from a lengthy list of high-profile musicians, including members of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, and Audioslave, as well as Foo Fighters, Metallica, Josh Homme, Fiona Apple, Brandi Carlile, Perry Farrell & Peter Frampton - just to name a few! 

The three surviving members of Soundgarden began the evening by addressing the audience to speak about how the event came together. Drummer, Matt Cameron explained: “When the idea of a tribute concert for my friend Chris Cornell was presented to me, I was torn,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I had the strength required to pull it off. So, I went back to the music. I heard his voice, and I found my strength. … Chris is here with us tonight. He has the best seat in the house.” 

The Melvins were the first band to hit the stage on the night, performing a six-song set that culminated in this cover of Soundgarden classic,  “Spoonman”.

Jimmy Kimmel served as master of ceremonies, and many of Cornell’s friends appeared on stage to talk about the singer over the course of the evening, including Brad Pitt, Jack Black and Josh Brolin. Foo Fighters set included a cover of Soundgarden’s “No Attention”, along with Devo’s “Girl U Want” and Cheech and Chong’s “Earache My Eye”. Dave Grohl then stuck around for this very special solo rendition of Foo Fighters’ signature song, “Everlong”.

Cornell’s widow, Vicky organized the event and his 14-year-old daughter, Toni performed this tear-jerking rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” backed by Ziggy Marley, in tribute to her father. 

The members of Audioslave (minus bassist Tim Commerford) played five songs with a rotating cast of singers. “Cochise” (Perry Farrell), “Be Yourself” (Juliette Lewis), “Set It Off” (Tim McIlrath), “Like a Stone” (Brandi Carlile), and “Show Me How to Live” (Dave Grohl). Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Metallica’s Robert Trujillo were among the bassists who filled in for Commerford.

To close out the evening, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd, and Matt Cameron shared the stage together for the first time since Cornell’s passing. Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins fronted the band for “I Awake” and “The Day I Tried to Live”, which he jokingly re-named, “The Day I Tried To Sing” in acknowledgement of the vocal acrobatics required to recreate Cornell’s complex and nuanced vocal performances.

For the final performance of the evening, Soundgarden performed “Black Hole Sun” with Brandie Carlile and Peter Frampton.

The 5-hour show illuminated the magnitude and depth of Cornell’s brilliance, with peers offering unique insight as to what made the celebrated frontman so special. The sentiment was summed up by Pearl Jam and Temple of the Dog guitarist Stone Gossard: “The way I see it, Chris was a bluesman,” he said. “He got the blues. And he turned those feelings into songs that made us vibrate, and they made us move. … All of our lives are still tumbling along without our leader. … So the question is now what do we do? What would Chris have us do? I think this concert is a step in the right direction.”

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