It was pretty damn gratifying to see over 10,000 Soundgarden fans journey to a venue an hour south of Boston on a Sunday night for the band's first area appearance on their current reunion tour, and it'd be hard for anyone who made the trip to say the band didn't give them their money's worth.

After starting off with a reading of 'Searching With My Good Eye Closed' that felt a bit listless and anti-climatic, especially after the pulse-raising taped music and lighting introduction, Soundgarden gradually but steadily built up steam. A few songs in, when they got to the 'Superunknown' classic 'My Wave,' they were firing on all cylinders.

With lead singer Chris Cornell's piercing voice, good looks, great hair and recent series of high-profile extracurricular projects, it may have been easy to overlook what a serious musician he is. In concert, his rhythm guitar carries a significantly larger share of the workload than you might expect, and he's clearly much more concerned with getting the music across correctly than playing frontman in a traditional sense. Which is a good thing.

Whether it was a one-night issue or a more permanent situation, Cornell wasn't able, and didn't attempt, to hit all the high notes from many of the band's up-tempo songs, but the wise use of some reverb and/or echo allowed him to soar above the band in a slightly altered but still impressive manner.

The rest of the band didn't even show that small degree of wear, with guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd and, particularly, drummer Matt Cameron absolutely killing it individually and collectively throughout the twenty-three song set. Bonus points to Shepherd for his crab-walking performance during 'Outshined,' which, up until tonight, we never realized relied so heavily on that deliberate, thunderous and absolutely kick-ass bass line.


As for the other news of the evening: Considering that opening band Coheed and Cambria had to go on stage with a guitar tech filling in following the pre-show arrest of bassist Michael Todd under bizarre circumstances, they put on a pretty impressive show. Allegedly and according to TMZ, Todd told a nearby pharmacist that he had a bomb, stole six bottles of Oxycontin, then took a taxi back to the venue, where he was promptly arrested.

Watch Soundgarden Perform 'My Wave' in Newark, N.J.