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

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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