Last night just seemed like another Soundgarden show - my fifth time seeing the iconic grunge band live, and second time in Detroit. It's hard to pass up a good rock show at downtown Detroit's Fox Theatre, one of the city's architectural gems and a staple in its music history, its stage graced by the likes of Iggy Pop and Prince.
But when I woke up this morning, everything had changed. And the sold-out show suddenly took on a different meaning.
Chris Cornell, Soundgarden's lead singer, was found dead in his hotel room at MGM Grand Detroit just hours after the group performed at the Fox, with a medical examiner now ruling his death a suicide.
Even without the benefit of hindsight from the morning's awful news, it was clear that something wasn't right with the 52-year-old Cornell during the Fox performance. He often staggered back-and-forth across the stage, and seemed weak in his movements. Just one or two songs in, it was as if the energy had exited his body, and what was left was a shell of a man scrambling to do his job.
[Cornell's final tweet was a shout-out to Detroit: Read what he said here.]
It's not that the nearly two-hour show itself was bad, but it seemed like Cornell wasn't mentally present.
He missed words, sometimes in entire blocks, letting the crowd sing the parts of the songs he didn't. Nobody complained; in fact, the audience of about 5,000 seemed to love it.
Cornell was visibly agitated at times. He walked off the stage for several minutes before playing "Been Away Too Long," causing the band to start over and leaving them playing instrumentals to fill the gap. When he came back onstage, he made a "move it along" motion with his hand.