Axl and company hit the stage just after 8:30 and rattled off song after song for almost 3 hours.
Being the huge Pearl Jam fan that I am, I grew to love and appreciate the talent that was Cornell's. I remarked on too many occasions to count that Cornell had to be one of the most talented musicians that I had ever seen in my lifetime. It took Audioslave to hammer that point home for me, but ever since Out of Exile came out, I understood Cornell's immense talent, and began to really appreciate his work with Soundgarden, and also his solo work.
If you ask my brother, Adam, he can tell you that there was once a time where I hated the song, Black Hole Sun. He used to wake me up in the morning to Tupac, Bone Thugz N Harmony, and would sometimes change things up with BHS. I didn't like any kind of music blasting at 5:59AM, so I can give myself a pass on my initial take of the song.
I can't think of any other celebrity death that has hit me harder than that of Cornell's. In the months that have followed his suicide, I have been listening to a bunch of his songs on YouTube, especially his cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" and the touching "I Promise This is Not Goodbye."
Live's version of "I am the Highway" last night brought me to tears, but when Dizzy Reed went into a piano riff of "Black Hole Sun" during GNR's set last night, I bawled. Axl once went on record to express his respect to Chris Cornell back in the early 90s, and Duff recently took the stage with Cornell in a tribute concert for the supergroup, Mad Season (look this concert up, it was amazing - Sonic Evolution). The respect that the music industry has/had for Cornell is mind blowing. Check out some of the many tributes from other artists to Cornell, starting with Norah Jones's version of Black Hole Sun.
So, what was already an emotional experience for me in seeing one of my favorite all-time bands, and then seeing this live tribute to Chris Cornell in person, really capped my night. I believe this was probably in the top two or three all-time concerts I have been to, and by my rough count, I think this was number 28.
When I say "No One Sings Like You Anymore", I am saying that no one will ever sing like Chris Cornell anymore, but I also mean that there are very few huge acts that will put on the kind of show like GNR did last night. All of these arena rock bands are slowly dying out, or retiring. Andy and I couldn't name too many that are still touring that we will be able to see in the future. There also aren't very many new bands that I see coming along that I would want to see in a huge venue. I'll have to stick to Pearl Jam when they go back on tour, I suppose.