Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails at Sleep Country Amphitheater in Ridgefield, WA

August 31, 2014

In what can only be described as an unusual turn of events, I found myself making the 6 hour drive (thanks to labor day traffic) to Ridgefield, Washington on Friday night to see two of my favorite bands perform at the Sleep Country Amphitheater.  When I first heard about this tour I had to thin k about it for a minute. The pairing seemed unusual.  The thing is, I like unusual pairings.  I'll drink a big, inky red wine with a piece of grilled halibut.  Who cares, as long as they are both good right?  The problem with that analogy however is that the big red wine can overpower your pallete and eliminate the flavor of the fish.  Watching this show, neither band overpowered the other, they were perfectly paired like Salmon and Pinot Noir (can you tell I'm thirsty and hungry right now?  :) 

Now that I think about it, the tour is brilliant.  There has to be a lot of crossover in the fan base between the two bands.  However, each band has fans that would buy a ticket without blinking an eye to see one but maybe for the other...not so much.  This show provided a great opportunity for Nine Inch Nails fans to see Soundgarden and vice versa whereas they may have never had the opportunity to experience the other under any other circumstance.  I am very curious about how many converts resulted from this tour.

I digress.....

Soundgarden was unbelievably great.  They took us on a ride through their deep archives of amazing music.  The lighting was a photographers dream, the sound was incredible and as always,Chris Cornell proves that he has vocal chords that exceed the range of mortal humans in immeasurable amounts.  Drummer Matt Cameron was missing from the lineup as he is touring with Pearl Jam right now so Matt Chamberlain who in a subtle twist of irony has played with Pearl Jam in the past sat behind the drums and beat them to a pulp.  Going back to my wine analogy, Soundgarden is a band that seems to get better and better as the years go by.  I'm excited to see them this Thursday at Century Link Field before the game on Thursday.

NIN was crazy hard to shoot.  We had to wait until the middle of the set before we were allowed to snap some photos so I had a chance to watch for a bit.  The house lights were on, the stage crew was setting up the gear for the four band members and out walks Trent Reznor.  He headed straight to a keyboard and started to play.  The crew on stage scrambled off, the closed circuit camera crew ran to their cameras while Trent was singing "I am just a copy of a copy of a copy...everything I've done has been done before."  While I'm sure he's made this move on the tour before, I've never seen it done quite like that with any other.  It was so cool.  3 or 4 minutes later, they killed the house lights, turned on the stage lights and the giant monitors, the crowd lost their minds and Trent took us on an adventure of the soul with some of the most powerful music ever written or performed. 

Mat Hayward
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