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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

September 4, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Pharrell Williams and Soundgarden play to boisterous Seahawks crowd

Pharrell Williams holds his hands up with his dancers after finishing his set with "Happy" at the end of a free pre-game concert at CenturyLink Field on Thursday. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

Pharrell Williams holds his hands up with his dancers after finishing his set with “Happy” at the end of a free pre-game concert at CenturyLink Field on Thursday. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

Under postcard-perfect sunny skies, Seahawks fans reveled in more than an hour of noisy, pre-game music with hip-hop and R&B singer Pharrell Williams and Seattle rock band Soundgarden.

Directly after appearances by Seahawks Hall of Famers Walter Jones and Steve Largent, Williams took the stage and opened with “Come Get It Bae.” Surrounded by dancers dressed like cheerleaders and wearing a white, wide-brimmed hat, Williams sang in his trademark cool falsetto.

“There are winners out there,” the singer, rapper and producer told the cheering crowd. “That’s what winners sound like.”

“It’s really hot,” he pointed out, before launching into a smoking version of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.”

His throbbing version of his and Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” was followed by the wildly fun “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani.

Williams saved the best for last, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with Daft Punk’s sexy-cool “Get Lucky” (featuring a hearty Seahawks chant), then the effervescent, high-stepping hit “Happy.”

It was the perfect closer for a party celebrating the city’s triumphant Super Bowl team. And Williams seemed to be enjoying himself as much as any 12th Man.

Fans watch Soundgarden perform before the Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers in the opener of the NFL season at CenturyLink Field. Pharrell Williams was to perform next.

Fans watch Soundgarden perform before the Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers in the opener of the NFL season at CenturyLink Field. Pharrell Williams was to perform next. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Led by singer Chris Cornell, Soundgarden took the stage first at 3:25 for a powerful set that included “Been Away Too Long,” “Spoonman” (about local artist Artis the Spoonman), “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage.” The dark, brooding songs fired up the sun-baked crowd. Some pumped their fists in the air while videos played on the giant screens.

Cornell, occasionally swinging his microphone stand above his head, noted that Soundgarden is one of the loudest bands around, but that Hawks fans were even louder. After the final song, “Rusty Cage,” Cornell bellowed, “Seahawks! Seahawks!”

Concertgoers in blue and green Seahawks gear had lined up for blocks before gates opened at about 2 p.m. The crowd was stoked with anticipation but mostly mellow, save for occasional exclamations of “Go Seahawks!”

Inside the concert field, a booming sound system helped people pass the time, but it was a beautiful day just to hang out and celebrate an amazing team. As showtime approached, the good-natured crowd got louder and more animated, with many joining in noisy chants. And when the faces of Seahawks players began scrolling on video screens, concertgoers responded with boisterous cheers.

There was also a big cheer when a clip from President Obama played during an inspirational Seahawks documentary, “America’s Game: 2013 Seattle Seahawks,” which rolled with plenty of commercials.

A few Packers fans peppered the crowd. Amar Lalli of Kamloops, B.C., wearing a Green Bay jersey, said Hawks fans were mostly pleasant. “It hasn’t been that bad,” he said with a smile.

People also watched from the balconies of buildings overlooking the concert site.

The massive stage in the north parking lot featured a large, arched canopy for the performers, flanked by  wide panels containing LED screens and lighting. It was surprisingly elaborate for a short, one-time concert, but it helped emphasize the significance of the NFL season kickoff and the Seahawks’ 2014 world championship.

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Comments | Topics: CenturyLink, Pharrell Williams, Seahawks

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