All about the Chris Cornell Tribute Concert 

Andie Manahan

January 19, 2019

Seattle came to Los Angeles on Wednesday (January 16) as friends, family and fans remembered Chris Cornell in an emotional tribute concert.

It was a stormy night in Los Angeles, but nothing was going to stop stars and fans alike from gathering at The Forum to pay tribute to the brilliant talented man who represented the 90’s Seattle rock scene. 

The star-studded tribute concert “I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell” was organized by his widow, Vicky, to benefit the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation and the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation. The show lasted for nearly five hours, with performances and speeches by the rock artist’s former bandmates, friends and surprise guests.

“When the idea of a tribute concert for my friend Chris Cornell was presented to me, I was torn,” Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron said as the band’s three surviving members addressed the crowd. “I didn’t feel like I had the strength required to pull it off. So I went back to the music. I heard his voice, and I found my strength. … Chris is here with us tonight. He has the best seat in the house.”

The Melvins kicked off the night’s performances with a six-song set that comprised of “Kicking Machine,” “With Your Heart Not Your Hands,” “Leech,” “Heart Of Honey,” and ended with a cover of Soundgarden’s “Spoonman.”

Rita Wilson sang “The Promise” while Nikka Costa and Alain Johannes performed “Disappearing One.”

Chris Stapleton was a crowd favorite as he did a rendition of “The Keeper.”

Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Rami Jaffee) played a set composed of “No Attention,” “Earache My Eye,” and “Girl You Want.” Dave Grohl also gave a solo performance of “Everlong (Acoustic),” while a spotlight shone on an empty part of the stage.

Josh Homme covered Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage,” and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael banded together with Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard  for “Seasons.”

Miley Cyrus took the stage to do her take on “Two Drink Minimum.” Audioslave’s Tom Morello and Brad Wilk got together with a number of other artists during their set, performing “Cochise” (with Geezer Butler and Perry Farrell), “Be Yourself” (with Geezer Butler and Juliette Lewis), “Set It Off” (with Chris Chaney, Sam Harris and Tim Mcllrath), “Like A Stone” (with Chris Chaney and Brandi Carlile), “Show Me How To Live”(with Robert Trujillo and Dave Grohl).

Chris’ daughter, Toni Cornell took the mic to sing Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” with some assist from Ziggy Marley.

Jack Black paid Chris a touching tribute as he introduced Metallica’s set. “Sometimes Chris Cornell would sing a note that didn’t exist,” he told the crowd. “Sometimes [he] would sing a note that was between two real notes, and it would open a portal into another dimension. I don’t know if that’s true. Like, maybe it was probably a real note – it was probably a C-flat – but it was the way he sang it like it ripped a portal to another dimension. You know that wasn’t just some studio magic.”

Metallica’s James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo followed with “All Your Lies,” “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” “Master of Puppets,” and “Head Injury.”

Ryan Adams, along with Daphne Chen, Richard Dodd, Eric Gorfain, Leah Katz, and Don Was, performed “Dead Wishes” and “Fell On Black Days.”

The night proceeded with jam sessions like Temple of the Dog’s “Preaching The End Of The World” (with Nikka Costa, Alain Johannes, Stone Gossard, Brendan O’Brien, and Josh Taylor), “Can’t Change Me” (with Nikka Costa, Alain Johannes, Stone Gossard, Eric Avery, and Josh Freese), “Hunted Down” (with William DuVall, Jerry Cantrell, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, and Josh Freese), “All Night Thing” (with Fiona Apple, Brendan O’Brien, David Garza, Jeff Ament, and Matt Chamberlain), “Reach Down” (with Miguel, Nikka Costa, Stone Gossard, Brendan O’Brien, Jeff Ament, and Matt Cameron), “Say Hello 2 Heaven” (with Miley Cyrus, Brendan O’Brien, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, and Josh Freese), “Hunger Strike” (with Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Stone Gossard, Brendan O’Brien, Jeff Ament, and Matt Cameron).

The same went for Soundgarden, with Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd, and Matt Cameron reuniting and performing with Taylor Momsen on “Rusty Cage,” Marcus Durant on “Flower,” Marcus Durant and Stone Gossard on “Outshined,” Taylor Momsen, Buzz Osborne, Matt Demeritt, and Tracy Wanamae on “Drawing Flies, ” Taylor Momsen, Tom Morello, and Wayne Kramer for “Loud Love,” Taylor Hawkins and Buzz Osborne on “I Awake,” Taylor Hawkins and Buzz Osborne on “The Day I Tried To Live.” The evening ended with a super jam sesh of “Black Hole Sun,” which included Brandi Carlile, Peter Frampton, Tim Hanseroth, and Phil Hanseroth.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the event, with Hollywood celebs like Brad Pitt, Josh Brolin, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Tom Hanks, Courtney Cox and many others showing up to pay their respects and celebrate Cornell’s talents.