Last night (January 16th), the Forum in Los Angeles hosted a massive all-star concert to the late Chris Cornell. Metallica, Foo Fighters, Melvins, Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell, Miley Cyrus, Chris Stapleton, Ryan Adams, as well as surviving members of Cornell's bands Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, were among the many performers at the event, which was billed as "I Am The Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell." All proceeds from the show went towards The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation and The Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation.
Amid scattered original songs dedicated to the fallen musician, most of the performers played covers of classic Cornell songs. The Melvins cranked out a burly rendition of Soundgarden's "Spoonman." The Foo Fighters played Soundgarden's "No Attention," as well as two songs previously covered by the seminal Seattle grunge giants, Devo's "Girl U Want" and Cheech and Chong's "Earache My Eye." Homme offered up a stripped-down run-through of Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage," à la Johnny Cash's famous version, while Cyrus sang the Cornell solo cut "As Hope and Promise Fade." For their part, Metallica delivered impassioned takes on Soundgarden's "All Your Lies" and "Head Injury," as well as two of their own compositions, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Master of Puppets."
Tom Morello and Brad Wilk, two of the surviving members of Cornell's band Audioslave, performed with a rotating lineup of singers — including Farrell on "Cochise," Juliette Lewis on "Be Yourself" and Dave Grohl on "Show Me How to Live" — and bassists, namedly, Butler, Metallica's Robert Trujillo and Jane's Addiction's Chris Chaney. Temple of the Dog staged a similar all-star-assisted mini-set, playing among other songs Soundgarden's "Hunted Down" with Alice in Chains' William DuVall, as well as their own "All Night Thing" with Fiona Apple, "Say Hello 2 Heaven" with Cyrus, and "Hunger Strike" with Stapleton and Brandi Carlile.
Perhaps the highlight of the night, however, was the first performance by the remaining members of Soundgarden since Cornell's death. They delivered an array of classics, performing mostly with the Pretty Reckless' Taylor Momsen on vocals, including "Rusty Cage," "Loud Love" and "Black Hole Sun."
Cornell's family also took the stage, including his 14-year-old daughter Toni, who received a standing ovation for her performance of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," and his widow, Vicky, who spoke in tribute to her husband. "We all know how music can change us," she said, as reported by Blabbermouth, "but Chris did something more extraordinary — he changed music and paved the way for so many from Seattle to across the globe. And that legacy, and his influence, will live for generations to come. I am so proud that, along with his legacy, his philanthropic work continues to grow and flourish.
"Chris would be so very proud. Simply put, to me, and because of all of you, Chris lives on, a music immortal whose passion for helping others is more alive today than ever."