For the life of me I can't remember if I've ever been to the Apollo but as I arrived outside Hammersmith tube, the place had a very familiar look about it. There was already a queue outside but it was far too early to join then so I went for a stroll round Hammersmith which was very busy indeed, stopping off at this Charcoal Grill place where Chicken Shish and Chips was definitely the order of the day! Before long I was heading back to the venue at 7pm or so with belly full and ready for a night's pounding heavy rock. The excitement was starting to build slow and there was a huge, though moving queue building up as I joined the back of it. I was looking forward to seeing Alter Bridge immensely as I have all three of their albums and each of them is spectacular in it's own way. The band can do very little wrong as far as I'm concerned.
Luckily I had managed to nab a ticket on ebay although it was in the "Gods" I wasn't that worried as I had a decent view of the stage and a fairly comfortable seat. The Apollo was pretty much packed to the rafters I would say with probably around 6000 or so people attending the show at a guess. It's interesting to see what kind of people attend an Alter Bridge show. It's not the usual type of metalhead or hard rocker crowd that I am used to. You get people from all walks of life attending. Old people in their 60s who are nostalgic rockers to emo teenagers in My Chemical Romance shirts and all types in between. The band really does attract a wide variety and I guess it just boils down to the fact that their song writing has such wide ranging appeal.
First band on at 8pm were Slaves to Gravity. I listened to them on myspace and they weren't that bad or anything but their tunes didn't excite live. They were like an Alter Bridge-lite band without the melodic tunes or the really amazing vocals. They got an OK response but people were just waiting impatiently for Alter Bridge now.
Finally at 9.15 sharp the lights went down and AB took to the stage although the spotlight was solely on Myles Kennedy as the opening strains of the opening cut off the new album AB III started things off nicely with Myles crooning and then the full band launching earnestly into the song. The sound was immediately much better than it was for the support band being heavy sharp and crystal clear with a rumbling cutting bass sound. This can sometimes overpower the other instruments but it was not the case this time as Tremonti's guitar was sharp as a razor.
After the opener, we were straight into one of the best and catchiest tunes off of Blackbird, namely Buried Alive with it's mighty riffs and hugely infectious chorus which the whole of the Hammy Apollo was belting out with Myles. What a song! The set continued with beefed up heavy guitars and the amazing vocals of Myles shining out like a beacon although on many occasions the crowd was drowning him out such was the sing-along and adulation levels. Metalingus from the debut album was just awesomely played and sung by the band with trademark Tremonti licks burning the house down. Personally I prefer the two latest albums to the debut but all the tunes played fitted in with each other seamlessly.
It sometimes amazes me how good bands effortlessly play their songs and deliver it with as much passion as Alter Bridge does. Myles was very thankful of the crowd throughout the gig and said that it was a dream come true to play to such a crowd and it was an evening he would cherish for a long time and the feeling was mutual within the crowd. Finally we arrived at one of the most mesmeric and epic tunes in their repertoire, the monumental title track of their second album Blackbird, which was played and sung like it's the last time it's ever going to be sung. A spine tingling moment that one! Once again the whole crowd joined in on the chorus and were struggling to hear the band over the crowd which was an epic feat in itself.
At the end of the set they took their bows and left the stage though of course the show was not over the "Alter Bridge! Alter Bridge!" cries and slowly ascending hand claps soon started and before long we saw Myles sitting on a stool in the spotlight with acoustic guitar in hand. The next two songs were sung acoustically. the first of which was Myles on his own singing Watch Over You with amazing passion. It was at this point that you realise what a great voice the guy really has as you could hear it more clearly when not backed by heavy distorted guitars. The second song saw Mark Tremonti join Myles for an acoustic version of the amazing new ballad Wonderful Life off the new record which was once again mesmerisingly beautiful and I'm sure a few tears were shed around the crowd at that one.
After that Myles donned his electric once again and announced that your normal programming is now resumed as the band launched into a monstrously heavy version of Isolation the massive hit single from AB III which was for me perhaps the best sing along moment of the night with all and sundry once again belting out that chorus like there's no tomorrow. Classic!
Finally we arrived at the last song of the night, the totally anthemic Rise Today from Blackbird with it's stirring challenging chorus which was once again boomed out by the crowd right along with Myles and co. Looking at the set list I would have loved to have heard Life Must Go On personally speaking as it's just an immense tune but maybe next time eh. Unfortunately I was just sitting too far away to get any sort of decent pictures as a memento of the show but the music will live long in the memory in any case. All in all a great night of melodic modern hard rock was had by all. If you get the chance to see Alter Bridge at all then don't miss it as I nearly did cause you will be in for a right treat!
Slip to the Void
Before Tomorrow Comes
Brand New Start
All Hope Is Gone
Ghost of Days Gone By
Ties That Bind
One Day Remains
I Know It Hurts
Open Your Eyes
Come To Life
Watch Over You (Acoustic)
Wonderful Life (Acoustic)