Live Review: Chris Cornell, Dave Leaupepe

7 December 2015 | 1:30 pm | Annelise Ball

"Punters walk out, ears ringing, knowing Chris Cornell is a truly masterful soundsmith indeed."

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Gang Of Youths frontman Dave Leaupepe makes no secret of the fact he's "fucking shitting himself" opening solo for Chris Cornell at Palais Theatre. The sympathetic crowd cheers him along nonetheless in the intimate knowledge he's "almost sharted" and his "balls are sweating". First song Strange Diseases is a poignant and powerful tribute to a girl fighting cancer, while the howling Vital Signs sets the mood perfectly for what's coming up next.

Legendary Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell strides on stage to begin two-and-a-half hours' worth of solo acoustic supremacy. Cornell chats with the crowd before pouring his heart and soul into openers Before We Disappear and Can't Change Me, with an illustrated blood red heart glowing fittingly behind him on the stage. Cellist Bryan Gibson adds soaring strings to the bluesy As Hope And Promise Fade next. Proudly declaring himself to be "a bit of cunt", Cornell shares that one of the "cunty" things he likes to do is "take songs and fuck them up", before he slings on the harmonica and starts singing Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' absolutely beautifully. Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U and Led Zeppelin's Thank You are also covered throughout the set with zero cunty fucked-upness evident. And Johnny Cash's version of Soundgarden's Rusty Cage is also included. Gibson adds some mandolin magic to Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart before doing some mad cello strumming and plucking on the Soundgarden track Fell On Black Days, which ends in Cornell screeching like a desperate madman. Soundgarden's Blow Up The Outside World takes the intensity up further, leaving punters in awe at the raw power of just one man, wielding one guitar, singing his absolute guts out. Casino Royale soundtrack You Know My Name gets a run, before undisputed Soundgarden classic Black Hole Sun rings out like the sound of an old friend's voice. Furious guitar and cello strumming on the two crescendos in The Beatles' A Day In The Life send punters wild within an ear-splitting soundscape not too unlike a Grand Prix. Finishing with Scream, a promised request for Josephine, and Higher Truth performed in tribute to Stone Temple Pilots' recently passed Scott Weiland, Cornell ends by looping the guitar track into a ghostly frenzy of sound before lifting the needle on an onstage turntable to add God only knows what else. Punters walk out, ears ringing, knowing Chris Cornell is a truly masterful soundsmith indeed.