Got Live if You Want It: “Hunger Strike”


Every year, Neil Young holds a benefit concert for the Bridge School.  It’s a mostly acoustic show where many of Neil’s friends and colleagues show up to raise funds for this wonderful school for disabled children.  This year’s concert featured a sort of reunion between Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell (of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden fame, just in case you were unaware).

These guys recorded as a one-shot group called Temple of the Dog, which was a tribute band Cornell formed in honor of his friend, the late singer Andrew Wood.  The band consisted of Cornell, the surviving members of Wood’s group Mother Love Bone, and a then-unknown Eddie Vedder; he would join with the rest of Mother Love Bone and form Pearl Jam.

“Hunger Strike” is probably the best song from their single album.  It’s certainly the one I love the most.  It is such a compelling, emotional song.  Although it is not about grieving per se, the grief is obvious.  This is a song of mourning, epic and anthemic.  But it’s been twenty-five years since it was originally written and recorded (okay, twenty-four. . . near enough).  The palpable grief in the recorded version has turned into wistful melancholia.  This performance is a memory and a celebration.  Just wonderful work.

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