Someone with 87 million followers on Twitter has just tweeted “New York has gone to hell” and that makes us sad. Because New York is our favourite big city in the world. During the difficult times we are experiencing these days it is hard to see that New York is on the ropes, and we know that New York has struggled before but the good thing is that the city has always managed to come back bigger and brighter than ever before. We love New York, we have been to visit more than 20 times since our first timid trip in the late 90s until our last trip at the end of 2018. It is a glorious city!
We will be back when there is no more pandemic and we will all drink beer in Williamsburg, eat pizza at Bleecker Street pizza, chomp on burgers at Bar Sardine or BBQ in Korea town. And while we get our Ultimate Guide To Heavenly New York up running (we have some more writing to do) we will in the meanwhile treat you to our most treasured New York moment: Temple of the Dog 7th November 2016 at Madison Square Garden.
This concert will probably be our greatest experience with a live band performance ever. Not only was this concert at the legendary venue of Madison Square Garden, it was also the first time that Temple Of The Dog had done any concerts or touring in 25 years since the release of their only self-titled album in 1991. If you do not know the band, in short it was a one-off collaboration between members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam after the death of singer Andy Wood from the band Mother Love Bone. The band members of TOTD were Seattle legends Chris Cornell, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Matt Fuckin Cameron with guest vocalist Eddie Vedder. It was the soundtrack of the grunge generation Xers of the 90s.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of that legendary album they scheduled 8 shows around the US. Via a raffle on the Pearl Jam fan website we got 2 tickets, we could not believe our luck! This meant that we got to travel to our favourite city, and see our favourite band, so a double whammy. The night before the show we saw New York Rangers win their hockey match in Madison Square Garden, and it was a strange sensation to sit on that very ice (with insulation and floorboards between us and the ice) less than 24hrs later to see a concert. The whole experience of entering hallowed ground, a venue where legends like Led Zeppelin and Elvis have played is just awesome! The excitement of finding our seats and waiting for the show to start is exhilarating beyond description. The show itself was the stuff of folklore and legends. If you know what the band was, and why they only made one album, you will feel the excitement as our knees trembled when the first tones of Man Of Golden Words sounded over the PA, a Mother Love Bone song used as an intro. And when the first song is Say Hello 2 Heaven, we knew this was going to be special. The setlist was a smattering of songs from Mother Love Bone, Temple Of The Dog and covers from David Bowie, Free, Mad Season, Led Zeppelin, The Cure and Black Sabbath. The whole setlist was like the soundtrack of our youth played by the greatest band ever. Chris Cornell was on fire and he sang his heart out for his friend Andy Wood, for the audience and for the annals of music history. Just 6 months later vocalist Chris Cornell would take his own life, silencing one of the greatest voices ever heard. During the concert we cried many times, for the beauty and power of music, and for the memories that the songs evoked. It was magical, it was a gathering of a tribe that we now know will gather no more. The concert ended with All Night Thing, and after we stumbled dazed into the New York night, knowing that that was maybe as good as it gets as live concerts go in our lifetime. There will be no more Temple Of The Dog, and for that the world is a little greyer and duller. Thank you and good night Chris Cornell, we love you!