5 Things to Know Before You See Soundgarden at the Fox Theater in Oakland

1. Through a misunderstanding when purchasing tickets, you will find yourself at the top of the back of the balcony in the seats farthest from the stage while your husband is on the floor, but it will be okay because the gilded majesty of the Fox Theater awes you and Chris Cornell has the voice of a god and from this vantage point you can observe the crowd and think about what you want to write.

2. You will observe that, yes, like you, most of the crowd appears to have settled into their 40s, but you will be pleased to see younger generations represented, reassuring you that rock hasn’t fossilized just yet. The best is a parent and child decked out in matching hand-painted “Soundgarden” shirts. When you see them, another wave of love will erode the wall of cynicism surrounding your soul. Also, not everyone is white and male, so you will know you’re not at a Rush concert. (The guy in front of you in the drink line will announce, while waiting, “I know that I will never, ever, ever see a show as good as the Rush show I saw, for the rest of my life. And I just have to live with that.” If you and your husband were to break up, you think, you would never, ever, ever date this man. For the rest of your life. And you can live with that.)

3. Chris Cornell’s voice is the reason you love the band so much, but seeing the entire band live will remind you that you need to better appreciate the contributions of the other members. You will vow to learn their names.

4. Wear jeans and comfy boots. It’s Soundgarden. You don’t need to rock a dress. You just need to rock.

5. During “Outshined,” a song even 20 zillion radio plays couldn’t ruin for you, when your favorite line, one of your favorite lines from any song ever, right up there with, “There must be some kind of way out of here/said the joker…” — when it happens, when Cornell wails out, “looking California and feeling Minnesota,” and the other 1,199 people at the Fox simultaneously mouth the words and their faces light up holy, this moment, this moment is when you will realize there is no special. That transcendence happens all the time, that people nothing like you are moved by the same words, sounds, feelings, sights. That anything you believe is uniquely yours — not that you thought that line, that oft-cited line, conveyed meaning unique to you, but still the realization that everyone claims it as their own — you are reminded that we own nothing, that songs are not sung for us, books are not written for us, love is not a birthright, all parents would die for their children and sex only matters until it’s over. This epiphany will not leave you hopeless, however, for in this new understanding, this new freedom from caring, you can make your own special. Nothing is inherent, nothing is implied, but you can infuse meaning, or not, as you choose.

Bonus: On a more practical note, drink beforehand to avoid paying $9 for a plastic cup of whiskey, stay at the Washington Inn because it’s relatively cheap and within walking distance, and know that despite closing at 11 p.m., the pizza joints on Broadway will deliver till 3 a.m., so that’s how you get your husband’s post-gig munchies addressed satisfactorily.

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