I was excited to get great tickets for an upcoming Chris Cornell solo acoustic show at The Orpheum. It even looks like this Phoenix show will be the kick-off date for his new tour. I saw one of his acoustic shows a few years ago and it was amazing. One of my favorite songwriters and vocalists of all time.
But let me go back to an older show. It was back when his first solo CD came out. 1999's Euphoria Morning. I remember talking to my friend on the phone and we were commiserating about us both being such huge Soundgarden fans, but being too broke to go see the Cornell show that was happening the following week (partly, because my son was born a few months earlier which meant that I would likely be poor for the rest of my life). Just then, someone called on the other line and I put my friend on hold. It was Cornell's tour manager saying that I won two tickets to the concert and he couldn't make any promises, but he might even be able to introduce us after the show. Righteous! I clicked back over to inform my friend that I was no longer a loser who was about to miss out on that show and he could go ahead and have fun without me in Loserville: population him.
I expected one of those hurried meet and greet table lineups if anything, but after the show my wife and I were taken to the backstage dressing room. It appeared that we were the only people who didn't belong there with the musicians and crew but Natasha Shneider came over to talk to us. She and her husband Alain Johannes had a band called Eleven, but they helped Chris record his solo record so they were playing with him for the tour. She was immeasurably kind and even made us feel welcome, while Chris changed shirts before wardrobe got packed up for the bus.
I wanted to bring some sort of thank-you for the free tickets and backstage passes, so I did something embarrassing and gave him a folder of poems I was working on, in case he got especially bored on the tour bus. I was young and dumb and hadn't even had anything published yet, so I'm sure they were horrible, but it's funny to look back and realize that this was technically the first manuscript I ever put together. I doubt any of those poems ended up in the book that I finally got published 15 years later, but things had to start somewhere.
It's also funny that the first time we ever left our son with a babysitter was to go see this concert, but soon we'll probably be taking our son with us to see Chris' show at The Orpheum.
Long years later:
when I went to read at the Long Beach Poetry Festival that I mentioned in my last blog, we visited the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. We noticed memorials for Johnny and Dee Dee from The Ramones and visited the gravesites of Mel Blanc, Cecille B. DeMille and others...
But I got really choked up when we got here: