West Seattle High School Winter Concert

In December of 1996, I had tickets to one of a pair of Soundgarden shows at Mercer Arena. On the morning of the show, I was still recovering from the worst stomach flu of my first 14 years. “Lucky” for me, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell got a sore throat (later rumored to be code for band in-fighting) and the shows were postponed a week. My tickets, as “luck” would have it, were good for the day of my high school band concert. I didn’t have the smarts to figure out how to exchange my ticket for the second show. The Presidents of the United State of America – my second favorite band of the day, next to Soundgarden – were the surprise openers. Needless to say, I did not see Soundgarden at Mercer Arena. And as “luck” would have it, the shows turned out to be Soundgarden’s last until the 2010 reunion. My tickets are framed in my old bedroom at my parents’ house. For years, I was pissed. Then one day in college – sometime between marching band, jazz band, percussion ensemble, and jazz choir – I realized that high school band meant more to me than Soundgarden ever would. Tonight, teens at West Seattle High School are putting on their nice shoes, brushing their teeth twice, and perhaps combing their hair and tucking in their shirt for the first time, in preparation for school’s winter concert. For students who choose to go down a certain rabbit hole, the performance that will be more significant than any show they could buy a ticket for. Good luck, y’all. CHRIS KORNELIS

Mon., Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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