June 29, 2016 was the best day of my life – because of you. Without you or your music, I don’t know what I’d do. Your music changed my life in a way I could have never imagined.
A little over a year ago, I went to your solo concert. I remember that day so clearly. I woke up at around 11. My mom picked me up on her lunch break, and we headed back to her job at a Community College – where she had very little to do over the summer. So, we sat there in her office, watching Netflix, playing volleyball, doing nails, and freaking out about that fact that we were going to see you in person that night. When we left, we headed to my grandma’s house to bring her dog to the vet while listening to Lover You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley. After that, we went home, got changed, and headed to the Bergen Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. We listened to your Higher Truth album the entire ride there with the music up all the way and the windows all the way down. We got many strange looks, but that didn’t matter because we were going to see YOU. We got there, parked a couple of blocks away, and walked to the theater. We went inside and got our tickets, then bought a poster and a shirt. Fantastic Negrito came on, and he was incredible, so I ran out to the lobby and bought his CD, and he signed it for me. We then waited half an hour, and then the most amazing thing happened. You jumped off the stage and started shaking people’s hands. When we realized you were shaking your fans’ hands, I ran up to the stage. I remember you looking me in the eye with your piercing blue eyes, and I saw that little creative twinkle in them. You smiled at me with this huge genuine smile, and of course I began sobbing like crazy. What else could I do? I just met Chris Friggin Cornell. Then, you started off the concert by playing Before We Disappear and saying, “this song is really just about living in the moment and appreciating what you have.” Of course, I don’t remember the exact words you used, but it was something like that. I cried for a good hour, tears of joy because I was so happy to be in the same room as you. You played everything at that concert, your solo stuff, Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, Prince, and a cover of Metallica’s One lyrics to U2’s One’s melody. At the end, I ran out to the lobby just in case of a Chris Cornell Sighting, and then my mom texted me saying you were going to play an encore. I ran back into the theater but there were people in my seat, so I just ran up to the edge of the stage. I remember you playing Higher Truth and me staring at you in awe. It really was the best experience I could ever have.
A couple weeks later, Temple of the Dog announced their tour. Of course, me and my mom went and saw that at Madison Square Garden and of course it was perfect. The Mother Love Bone Covers were amazing, the set list was amazing, everything about it was amazing.
All I could think about was seeing you again after that concert. When I was having a long night of schoolwork, ‘just think about being able to see Soundgarden!’ Having a bad anxiety day? ‘Don’t worry, just think about Chris Cornell!’
After all of that, on May 18, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning before school, and I heard the news. I could barely get through the day. All I could think about, even in crazy hard algebra, was you: How you were gone. How I’d never see you again. The very night before, I was listening to your album because it helped me concentrate while writing my History essay. Watching your music videos that made me smile because it was YOU. You helped me through so much.
Chris, I miss you so much. More than words can explain. I am so sorry that you were hurting so much. You mean the world to me. Thank you for being who you were. Thank you for inspiring so many people and encouraging them to continue being who they are. Thank you so much for being you. We love you, Chris.
Alannah Catherine Egan
(The summer of my Thirteenth Year)