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MUSIC: Chris Cornell Unplugs The Vets

Friday, November 22, 2013


(Photo: Jaye & Mike English)

Normally, one would think of Chris Cornell as the vocalist who can peel the paint off walls with Seattle legends Soundgarden, but recently he's been doing a solo acoustic tour that's been getting a lot of attention. This past Tuesday he made a stop at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium for an experience that exuded soothing songs that hit straight to the heart. Bhi Bhiman opened things up as well, it was going to a memorable evening. Chris Cornell at his genuine best, what more could you ask for?

With a style reminiscent of Amos Lee & Ray LaMontagne, Bhi Bhiman kicked it off with rootsy soul. New songs "I'm Moving To Brussels" and "There Goes The Neighborhood" along with an entertaining rendition of Dio's "Rainbow In The Dark" (Yep, he did that) were part an enjoyable set. His voice had that rustic quality that had you mesmerized, you never really know what to expect with an opening act you don't know much about but Bhi didn't disappoint. I'm going to look Bhi's music up as well as keeping more attention on this fellow and you should as well.

Entering the stage with a standing ovation, Chris Cornell started making jokes that his Dad wasn't born in Vietnam because he was too old. Maybe someone mistook him for Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell, but he started things off with "There's Hope & Promise" for a heartfelt beginning to what was to be a perfect performance. "Can't Change Me", a folky version of Audioslave's "Original Fire" and "Wide Awake" was followed by an improvised ditty about how bottled water is more expensive than gasoline that livened up the audience. After another Audioslave song with "Be Yourself", Cornell pulled out an instrumental vinyl record playing the riffs to "Silence The Voices" while singing the vocals in his signature powerful style. It was the first time I ever saw someone do it and it wouldn't be the last.

At the request from a person in attendance, Cornell performed a Soundgarden classic in "Zero Chance;" but one moment that really stuck out to me was his tribute to his fellow Seattleites Pearl Jam with "Footsteps." Two big hits with "Fell On Black Days" and "The Day I Tried To Live" lead up to an experience that has been already a big sensation on Youtube but seeing it live was jaw-dropping. A mashup of lyrics to Metallica's "One" over the chords of U2's "One" was stunning, everyone rejoiced for what was to be the highlight of the night. Back to the vinyl and paying tribute to the late Natasha Shneider on "When I'm Down" was another wonderful moment while the looped out finale of "Blow Up The Outside World" brought out another standing ovation.

As you would expect, the crowd wanted more and Cornell delivered with "Burden In My Hand" to start it off. To be honest, I liked the bluesy take on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" despite the fact that a good friend of mine in the row behind me proceeded to give the dirtiest look I've ever seen at a concert. Maybe he genuinely didn't like it or maybe he was just constipated, the jury is still out on that one. Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" will always have a significant meaning to me and it was a pleasure to see Cornell perform it. The last song of the show was the surprising cover of The Bee Bee's "To Love Somebody", I liked it a lot but I wouldn't have picked that one to be played by an alternative rock god like Chris Cornell. After reading this review, you can probably tell why Cornell's acoustic tour has had so much buzz behind it. Sheer brilliance and you got to see a side of one of the greatest musicians of the past 30 years that you wouldn't normally get to witness. It was one of my favorite shows of 2013, one that still has me in a velvety daze. For more info on checking out what's going on at one of the most famous theaters in New England, log on to www.vmari.com and see what's happening.


Related Slideshow: Where To Find A Good Burger

Hungry for a burger, but want to stay away from fast food? Our college lifestyle experts have picked out the best burgers in Rhode Island. Enjoy!

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Harry's Bar & Burger

College Hill, Providence

Harry’s Bar & Burger knows how to whip up the perfect patty. Harry’s uses only 100% pure Hereford beef and serves two sliders per order. Extra hungry? Order the double wide with double the meat and cheese, or add a third burger to any order. Harry’s offers a wide selection of craft beers and there are fun activities and events inside, including on-site brewery tours, shuffleboards, and even walls which patrons can write on with chalk. Harry’s is located at the base of College Hill, making it an easy walk from Brown, RISD, or JWU.

121 North Main St, Providence. Sunday-Thursday 11:30am-1am, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-2am. 401-228-7437.


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Better Burger Company

College Hill, Providence

Whatever size burger you get, you’re going to love it at the Better Burger Company. Whether you get a Triple Berry Smoothie or a gourmet Nutella Shake, it can be paired perfectly with a sublime burger. The Better Burger Company specialty burgers are all different and all have something unique about them, including the Mexican burger with avocado and pico de gallo. The BBC serves a special, unique burger each month and even delivers within 6 miles. 

215 Thayer St, Providence. Open Sunday-Thursday 10:30am-1am, Friday and Saturday 10:30am-2am. 401-228-7373.


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Johnny Rockets

College Hill and Providence Place Mall, Providence

Teleport back to the 50s at Johnny Rockets with a big, succulent burger and 50s era tunes playing out of jukeboxes around the dining area. The servers dress the part too, and will even perform a synchronized dance every hour. Try a mouthwatering bacon cheddar double cheeseburger or a classic root beer float. The Super Deluxe Malt is rich, thick, and made with real Ghiradelli dark chocolate.

59 Providence Place, Providence. Monday-Saturday 11am-10pm,Sunday 12pm-6pm. 401-270-0902.

269 Thayer Street, Providence. Monday-Thursday 11am-10:30pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-12am, Sunday 11am-10:30pm. 401-276 0003. 


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Luxe Burger Bar


Craft your own burger and mac-and-cheese at Luxe Burger Bar or choose from the list of specialty burgers. Feeling hungry? Order the Death By Burger—it comes with two patties, extra cheese, and a fried egg. There are Build Your Own Burger contests and the winner’s creation gets a permanent spot on the menu. 

5 Memorial Boulevard, Providence.

Sunday-Wednesday 12pm-11pm, Thursday-Saturday 12pm-12am. 401-621-5893. 


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Crazy Burger


Want to spice up your burger experience? Crazy Burger Café and Juice Bar is the place for you. Go for a swim with the Luna-Sea Burger, a salmon burger freshly ground with pistachio pesto, or the Baa-Baa Burger, made with fresh ground lamb and feta cheese. Pair your entrée with a healthy Mango-Raspberry smoothie or a freshly made juice from a list of different veggies. Crazy Burger is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is located within walking distance of the beach, making it a tasty part of a weekend escape from campus.

144 Boon St, Narragansett. Sunday-Thursday 8am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 8am-9:30pm. 401-783-1810. 


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Mews Tavern


Pair one of Mews Tavern’s 69 beers on tap with the Whiskey Jack burger, topped with bacon and a Jack Daniels Whiskey BBQ sauce. Order a Beyond Beef Burger for something a little more different, including the salmon burger, or stick to beef with the Goober, a burger topped with bacon, a fried egg, and peanut butter. Mews has a unique atmosphere including a tree in the dining room signed by guests and live entertainment on the second floor. The fun doesn’t stop there, either; Monday is Mexi-Mondays, Tuesday is Trivia Night, and Thursday is Two for One Burgers.

456 Main St, Wakefield. Open 11am-1am every day. 401-783-9370.


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The Last Resort


Formerly Effin’s Last Resort, The Last Resort in Smithfield offers an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a vast menu of tasty appetizers and juicy burgers. The Last Resort offers fun events including a Glory Pong Tournament and a Halloween Costume Party with a DJ and prizes for best dressed. The restaurant and bar also have live music and sports and is a hot spot for Bryant students looking to catch a football or baseball game.

325 Farnum Pike, Smithfield. Open Monday-Friday 3pm-1am, Saturday and Sunday 11am-1am. 401-349-3500. 


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Pour Judgement


If you’re in Newport you must stop by Pour Judgement. Try a grilled Black Bean Burger with herb sour cream and guacamole or a chili with ground turkey and house made tortilla chips. On the run? Try Pour Judgement 2 Go, Pour Judgement’s sister restaurant, for a quick and delicious breakfast burrito or bulkie roll sandwich. Salve and RWU students are in luck as they have two different nearby Pour Judgement locations to choose from.

Pour Judgement - 32 Broadway, Newport. Lunch: Monday-Friday 11pm-4pm, Saturday 11:30am-4pm. Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5pm-12am, Friday-Saturday 5pm-11pm. Brunch: Sunday 10am-2pm. 401-619-2115. www.pourjudgement.com

Pour Judgement 2 Go – 88 Broadway, Newport. Open Monday-Friday 7am-8pm, Saturday 8am-9pm, Sunday 8am-3pm. 401-849-4782. http://pourjudgement2go.com/.

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Five Guys Burgers & Fries


Five Guys began in the DC area and quickly grew into a popular chain churning out delicious, messy burgers. Five Guys’ double patty burger is a fan favorite and with over 250,000 different ways to order a burger, there is something for everyone. Don’t feel guilty about loading on the fries--they’re cooked in peanut oil for health, but also great flavor.

622 George Washington Highway, Lincoln. Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm. 401-335-3880.


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The Abbey


Don’t miss a chance to stop by the Abbey for a delectable burger and fries combo. Flip through the book of 14 signature burgers and choose from the 92 different beers on tap--you can’t go wrong! Located less than a mile from PC, The Abbey is within walking distance for students, so grab your friends and head out for a cheap, delicious meal.

686 Admiral St, Providence. Monday-Friday 11:30am-10pm, Saturday-Sunday 11:30am-11pm. 401-351-4346.



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