Was Soundgarden's "Explosive Set" at Chicago's Lollapalooza a "Letdown" Last Night?

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Mark C. Austin
Check out more photos of Lollapalooza 2010, featuring Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, and Green Day.
Sadly, we weren't there. But plenty of peeps were. Here's what a few of 'em have said:

-- Rolling Stone: "Soundgarden delivered an explosive set of classic '90s songs in front of their biggest audience since their breakup 13 years ago. Chris Cornell underplayed the band's return, suggesting their decade-plus break was more like a few years. 'It's good to be back!' said Cornell, who's grown his hair back out to its late-'80s length. 'We just took a little break, but now we're back.'

-- Entertainment Weekly: "Soundgarden was a letdown ... Cornell's vocals and guitar lacked passion, feeling dutiful more than inspired. It was a competent set, but little more than that. The crowd couldn't have been more excited if Kurt Cobain had gone all Lazarus on us and Nirvana reunited. Instead, I was left feeling that I should have seen Arcade Fire instead."

-- Spin: "But the overriding question, as Soundgarden continue -- or don't -- their reunion, is whether any of this is resonating with the kids. It may not be the broadest sample size, but judging from the troika of 20-something girls in front of me attempting to start the pre-encore chant, "Play something else, Chris Cornell! Take off your clothes, Chris Cornell," these guys just may have a chance to make it all over again."

-- Billboard: "While the audience knew the tunes, the heavy dirges didn't inspire energy. Case in point: one couple off to the side of the stage decided to slow dance to "Black Hole Sun." It's hard to imagine the ultra-heavy Seattle band fostering such a reaction in its heyday."

-- Chicago Sun-Times: "The band's set downplayed hits ("Black Hole Sun" was slow and understated) in favor of brute strength: Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd stacked towering grooves or tunneled deep in the terra; Kim Thayil commanded punishing riffs and slashing chords, and Cornell roared with rage or howled in self-pity."

-- Chicago Tribune: "There's scant evidence that the members care for each other, yet the Seattle quartet exceeds expectations and confirms its place as one of the last great hard-rock bands to emerge in the last 25 years."

 
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