Thursday, April 14, 2011


Soundgarden's "Live On I-5 was recorded during the band's 1996 U.S. tour. The tracks are from various stops on the tour. Well five stops on the tour. It is the first official live release for the band.  This collection of live tracks was supposed to be completed and released the following year but that derailed when Soundgarden broke up in April 1997. Their reunion last year obviously helped these recording finally get assembled and released for our enjoyment.

The 17 tracks that comprise "Live On I-5" capture Soundgarden at the height of their success and their most powerful performances. You would never guess from the tightness of the band playing together on these performances that a break-up was on the horizon. Another signal of their mastery at the time is the seamlessness these recordings from various venues come across as one individual concert. I often find that live albums with each song recorded in a different city doesn't have any continuity to it and is obviously a collection of different recordings. This collection not only defies that but is a testament to the consistency of Soundgarden night in and night out at the time.

In addition to all the Soundgarden classics Chris Cornell performs a riveting solo rendition of "Black Hole Sun" and the band does two killer covers. The Stooges "Search & Destroy" and the Beatles "Helter Skelter". Although the latter has been covered to death by countless others Soundgarden does do it justice and it definitely goes with this set list.

This is going to be a well received album by the Soundgarden faithful. The casual fan may be put off by the difference some of the classic Soundgarden tunes have live with extended jams or accentuated parts but some of the finest musicians to ever come out of the grunge era. New fans should be sure to get to know the studio recordings first. "Badmotorfinger" and "Superunknown" would be a good place for someone just being introduced to the band to start.

LIVE ON I-5 Complete Track Listing:

1 Spoonman (DelMar)
2 SearchingWithMyGoodEyeClosed (DelMar)
3 LetMeDrown (DelMar)
4 HeadDown (Seattle)
5 Outshined (DelMar)
6 RustyCage (Vancouver)
7 BurdenInMyHand (Salem)
8 HelterSkelter (DelMar)
9 BootCamp (DelMar)
10 NothingToSay (Seattle)
11 SlavesAndBulldozers (Oakland)
12 Dusty (Oakland)
13 FellOnBlackDays (Oakland)
14 SearchAndDestroy (Seattle)
15 TyCobb (DelMar)
16 BlackHoleSun (Seattle)
17 JesusChristPose (Oakland)

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