Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell made his local solo concert debut Tuesday at the sold-out Fonda, the first of two hot-ticket nights, where the Seattle native sang emotional songs of love, pain and regret to a seated audience that heard an engaging, if somewhat abbreviated, sampling of the talented and expressive vocalist’s ample skills.
Following a brief instrumental opening from Cornell’s backing band (which includes partners Alain Johannes and Natasha Schneider of the L.A. band Eleven), Cornell quickly put his majestic voice to work on such tunes as “Preaching the End of the World,” his current psychedelic radio hit “Can’t Change Me,” and the delicate “Flutter Girl,” where Cornell’s sensual body movements thoroughly matched his soaring vocals.
The 65-minute show’s songs, many taken from Cornell’s likable new album A&M/Interscope “Euphoria Morning,” generally steered clear of the often-bombastic sound of Soundgarden (which has been on extended hiatus since 1997), and featured a pleasing variety of styles and moods — courtesy of the fab backing musicians — influenced by the likes of the Beatles, Otis Redding and Pink Floyd.
Cornell drew the loudest cheers for two familiar Soundgarden-era tracks, “Seasons,” which he contributed to the 1992 film “Singles,” and band hit “Like Suicide,” which was offered in a spooky, stripped-down version similar to his solo version found on the “S.W.F.” soundtrack.
“Pillow of Your Bones,” a song of complete emotional devotion, was among the show’s other highlights; keyboard played Natasha Schneider effectively matched vocals with Cornell, giving the engrossing song extra impact.