Audioslave Rocks Cuba

About 50,000 concert-goers came out for Audioslave‘s May 6th show at Havana’s Anti-Imperialist Tribunal in what was said to be Cuba’s first American open-air rock concert.

Enthusiastic fans knocked over barriers to get closer to the band.

Although relations between the United States and Cuba during the last four decades have been shaky at best, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Instituto de la Musica surprisingly granted Audioslave permission to play.

“Music can transcend politics and this trip is proof of that,” Audioslave singer Chris Cornell reportedly said at a Havana news conference May 5th. “It’s all about the music, period.”

U.S. travel restrictions to the communist country have made it difficult for artists of all sorts to travel to and from the island.

Audioslave performed along the city’s Malecon waterfront in a plaza facing the U.S. Interests Section. The area has been used by the Cuban government to stage protests against the U.S. government.

“Hopefully, this will broaden the musical borders between our two countries,” Cornell said, according to Reuters.

The band broke away from a U.S. tour promoting its upcoming album, Out of Exile, to visit Cuba. Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello described the process as a lengthy effort to win approval of both governments.

“It is very important to us that this could be a free concert so that everyone in Cuba who wants to come can come and hear the music,” Morello said.

Former Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman played the same venue two weeks earlier. He is said to be the biggest British rock star to perform in Cuba.