Chris Cornell & Tom Morello @ El Corazon for "15 Now" benefit concert 09.26.14

September 27, 2014

Sitting in the small pit, one foot away from the dimly lit stage with my jaw on the floor I watched and photographed an amazing reunion between former Audioslave bandmates Chris Cornell and Tom Morello. The show was a benefit for "15 Now" and was preceded by some rally speeches in an attem pt to get the crowd riled up and passionate about the $15 minimum wage.  While security found some irony in the fact they were being paid $12 per hour to work the show, some hecklers in the crowd made it clear they were there for the reunion more than the message presented by the speakers.  When Tom Morello took the stage he praised unions and then Seattle for passing the $15 minimum wage act and the crowd went apeshit!  The small room was hot and muggy before the show began.  After the show started El Corazon was a slippery mess of sweaty bodies overcome by the raw, authentic, energetic performance by Morello.

Later in the set, Chris Cornell came out on the stage, strapped on his acoustic guitar and began to play.  The chemistry between Cornell and Morello was undeniably real.  They both seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves and performed in an uninhibited and unrehearsed way that I have rarely seen on stage.  With Morello displaying his incredible skill with a guitar and Cornell's unbelievable vocal range I literally had goosebumps watching this performance.  As a photographer, the light in El Corazon is my worst nightmare (thanks Tom for having the house lights turned on near the end, that was THE BEST!).  As a music lover, this couldn't have been a better show to witness.  I am still in awe. 

Mat Hayward
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I decided to shoot video for 2 songs while Chris Cornell was on stage by himself.  This video is Chris Cornell performing an acoustive version of the song "One."  "U2 or Metallica?" You ask?....the answer is yes. 

Here is a video of Chris performing John Lennon's "Imagine"

My friend and photographer extraordinaire "Iron" Mike Savoia was there and captured the entire show on video.  Check it out!