The Tragic Details In Chris Cornell’s Final Performance
Chris Cornell is a musician, singer, and songwriter who is considered among the key figures of the 1990s grunge movement. He is mainly known as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Soundgarden and Audioslave. Apart from his work in those bands, the successful musician also pursued a career as a solo musician.
Throughout his music career, Cornell was praised for his extensive songwriting catalog, strong vocal belting technique, and nearly four-octave vocal range. Moreover, the award-winning musician sold 8.8 million digital songs, 14.8 million albums, and over 30 million records worldwide.
Although Cornell enjoyed success as a prolific musician, he struggled with depression throughout his life. Sadly, hours after a Soundgarden performance at the Fox Theatre on May 17, 2017, he committed suicide by hanging. Let’s learn the details of what happened during that performance.
What Happened At Chris Cornell’s Final Gig At The Fox Theatre?
During several interviews, Chris Cornell had opened up about his struggle with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Although he was receiving professional help, these issues ultimately led the musician to commit suicide by hanging on May 18, 2017. Just hours before he made this tragic decision, Cornell was on stage with his Soundgarden bandmates at the Fox Theatre.
As seen in the videos from that show, Cornell looked fine while singing the band’s songs for two hours straight. Soundgarden played some of their most loved tracks, without knowing that this performance would be their last one together. Although things seemed normal, Cornell made an interesting choice for the show’s final song.
The musician started singing Led Zeppelin’s ‘In My Time Of Dying,’ as if he was saying goodbye to his fellow bandmates and fans. While singing the lines’ Well, well, well, so I can die easy… Jesus going to make up my dying bed,’ Cornell seemed to have made the tragic decision.
Detroit Photographer Ken Settle Noticed Something Wasn’t Right
Ken Settle has been taking photographs of the artists during the concerts in the Detroit area since the 1970s. He was also the first to take Soundgarden members’ photos in their early years. So, during the show at the Fox Theatre, Settle was also present.
According to an interview by People, Ken Settle noticed there was something different with Chris Cornell during the gig. He started talking about the performance by stating that Chris was more joyous than ever, which was the opposite of how he was at other shows.
Following that, Settle said Cornell interacted with the audience way more than before, as he was often slapping hands and doing fist bumps. Moreover, the photographer mentioned Cornell said the next city ‘won’t compare to the show’ in Detroit. According to him, he sounded as if he knew he wouldn’t be in the next town.
Settle then stated that Cornell came right up to Kim Thayil while performing, which seemed quite different for him. However, the photographer thought these all seemed positive. Talking about Chris Cornell’s ‘In My Time Of Dying’ performance, Settle said it was a really odd choice. He then implied that maybe Cornell knew what was coming up.
Ken Settle told the People about Cornell’s last performance that:
“My first impression was that Chris was more joyous than I’d ever seen him before. He’d always been, back in the early days especially, kind of a brooding performer, more introspective, sometimes looking down at his guitar most of the time with his hair in his face. At this show, it was the opposite of that.
He was really interactive with the audience. He said it very sincerely, that ‘I’ve been telling people how great Detroit rock audiences really are.’ He said it like he really meant it. But then he followed it by saying, ‘I feel really sorry for the next city.’ I took that to mean at the time, he said it that the next city won’t compare to the show they would put on in Detroit. In retrospect… it almost sounded like he wasn’t going to show up in the next town. That kind of gives me pause.
He got right up to lead guitarist Kim Thayil, right in his face, while he was singing. It’s been like pulling teeth getting a shot of them in the same frame, but that was different, too. And to me, these all seemed like positive things.“
Speaking about the ‘In My Time Of Dying’ performance, Ken Settle said:
“It’s a very odd choice to weave that in and now it does make you wonder. There is so much that does point to a person who perhaps knew what was coming up, which is so sad. It makes me look at my pictures to search his eyes to see if there is a clue, something he’s saying that people were missing.”
Below, you can watch Chris Cornell’s last performance at full length.