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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 12 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 37
Soundgarden, Pharrell Williams help kick off NFL football season with a bang
Arts & Entertainment
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Soundgarden, Pharrell Williams help kick off NFL football season with a bang

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

This wasn't your typical tailgate party.

Yes, there were jersey-clad, face-painted, colored wig-wearing fans spilling in by the thousands. Yes, the smell of grilled hot dogs, sausages, and other tube-shaped meats filled the air. And yes, the presence of ticket scalpers shamefully making a quick buck was unavoidable.

But here's something you don't see before every football game. Two marquee names in modern music sharing the same stage and playing their biggest hits in a parking lot. Of course, it's not every day the football world zones in on Seattle, chosen to host the NFL's season opening game on September 4 to a nationally televised audience. Therefore, a pair of mega artists, Soundgarden and Pharrell Williams, were called in to give it all a boost.

At CenturyLink Field's North Parking Lot, under an open-air, claw dome-shaped stage - a mini version of U2's 360-Degree Tour set up from a few years back - Soundgarden ripped into 'Flower' and 'Been Away Too Long' to begin their 45-minute performance.

'It's a good day to be from Seattle!' said lead singer Chris Cornell, who clearly hasn't aged in the past 20 years, wearing black denims, army green shirt and boots with shaggy, long hair flapping against his shoulders. The sexy frontman is the lone band member residing now outside the Emerald City, living in France with his wife and two youngest children.

The super group unleashed 'Spoonman' to the crowd, a song off 1994's Superunknown album inspired by local street musician Artis the Spoonman, followed by another huge favorite, and perhaps the best song in their portfolio, 'Outshined,' which saw lots of folks rocking their heads back and forth. Soundgarden sealed its appearance, under a blistering sun and clear blue sky, with 'Rusty Cage.'

After a 20-minute break and brief introduction from a TV sports announcer, out came Pharrell Williams in blue jeans, white tee-shirt, some bling around the neck, and an addition to his line of signature, funky hats. He opened with 'Come Get It Bae' supported by a full band, two backup dancers in sleeveless patterned dresses, and a handful of female dancers in sheer white mini-skirts and athletic jackets with 'GIRL' enblazened on the backside.

'SAY SEAHAWKS!' yelled Williams to fans on opposite ends of the stage, those in the parking lot and more gathered on the steps leading into the stadium.

His set list was a mishmash of material from his work as a solo artist, producer, guest vocalist, and his days with R&B-rap act N.E.R.D. Williams was lucky to be performing under scorching temperatures, allowing for Nelly's 'Hot in Herre' to fit right in. A satisfiable take on Gwen Stefani's 'Hollaback Girl' and a boppy rendition of 'Blurred Lines' kept concertgoers swaying. But it was the Grammy winner's closing numbers that got everybody dancing, 'Get Lucky,' a collaboration with Daft Punk, and his 2014 smash and Oscar-nominated tune 'Happy.'

Soundgarden and Williams both stayed for the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game, officially launching the 2014-2015 football season, which the defending Super Bowl Champions won easily by a score of 36-16.

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