Soundgarden & NIN @ the Molson Amphitheatre, Sun, July 27th, 2014

by Bill Kwan

It may have been a rainy day at the Molson Amphitheater on Sunday, but in no way did that dampen the spirits of the audience who was treated to two superstar bands of the 80’s and 90’s; Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails.

Current membersline up are:

Chris Cornell – lead vocals
Kim Thayil – lead guitar
Matt Cameron – drums, backing vocals
Ben Shepherd – bass, backing vocals

Brooklyn based experimental musician Daniel Lopatin, performing by his recording name Oneohtrix Point Never, opened for the headline bands. His music has been described as “Music sampler, Synthesizers and experimental” as he continues to explore the frontiers of music.

Soungarden opened with “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”, and the set took off with the second song, “Spoonman”. But it was when “Outshined” played that the amphitheater resonated with the crowd rising to their feet.

Ever the consummate front man and premiere vocalist in the rock genre, Chris Cornell belted out a memorable rendition of “Rusty Cage”, paying homage to one of his mentors, the late great Johnny Cash who had done his own rendition of the tune. It’s also mentioned that Cash was himself a fan of NIN and recorded one of their hits, “Hurt”.

The band left the stage closing with “Beyond the Wheel”, except for guitarist Kim Thayll who laid down his guitar with his back to the audiencefor just a minute, before walking over to pick up some bottles of beverages and waving to the crowd, bringing Soundgarden’s set to a close.

But the show wasn’t over as Nine Inch Nails next took to the stage. Four white dividers setting the backdrop and with a single keyboard, Trent Reznor worked his magic to the crowds delight, not long after to be joined on stage by his fellow band members.

Trent Reznor – lead vocals, guitar and keyboard
Ilan Rubin – keyboard
Alessandro Cortini – Bass
Robin Finck – drums

Opening with “Copy of A”, the stage was animated with flashing strobe lights, multiple changes in back drops, and a dark gloomy theme, as Reznor and his band mates worked the crowd to a dance mood. The veteran “Industrial Musician” wore his trademark black outfit without the rain dampening the moment of the show.

The D.J. Scene should be paying close special homage to these pioneers, including NIN, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Tool, Cabaret Voltaire, Nitzer Ebb, and Rammstein.

The show ended with an amazing encore performance of “Hurt”. It is so ironic that Johnny Cash would do a rendition of songs from both of these “A” list bands. After all these years, Soundgarden and NIN have influenced so many bands past and present. Through their formative years in the 80’s and 90’s they’ve grown into fine tuned musicians. The tour continues and Toronto was privileged to experience two great Rock Gods.

Soundgarden Setlist:
Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Black Hole Sun
Jesus Christ Pose
The Day I Tried to Live
My Wave
Blow Up the Outside World
Fell on Black Days
A Thousand Days Before
Rusty Cage
Beyond the Wheel

Nine Inch Nails Setlist:
Copy of A
Came Back Haunted
March of the Pigs
Terrible Lie
Gave Up
Me, I’m Not
Find My Way
The Great Destroyer
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole