Saturday, 19 October 2013

Alter Bridge Live at Wembley Arena

Time for some hard hitting modern rock to shake the foundations at Wembley Arena last night. Alter Bridge must be getting big 'cause last time they came they played Hammesmith which is a 5,000 venue and last night the Arena was more or less packed with a 12,000 sell out. The Alter Bridge bandwagon keeps gaining momentum although I must admit that new album Fortress has been slow to weave it's magic on me, it's slowly slowly getting there though I doubt I will love it as much as ABIII and Blackbird.

I had rather an odd view and when I took my seat I was almost dead level with the stage at the side. It was like watching the gig as if you're a roadie or stage hand from the side. Rather weird but at least the view was clear with no obstructions and you could also look on the packed floor. I sat down in my seat as Halestorm had already started playing the first song or two. They did ok. Lzzy Hale is a hell of a hot chick front woman these days and her band are pretty tight. The sound was a touch muddy for them and to be honest I have heard their albums I am not familiar enough to know songs quickly. They did do some covers though from their new ep which is pretty cool especially the Priest classic Dissident Aggressor. Good effort and the crowd accepted them with ease. Lzzy choice of footwear was a touch precarious to say the least! She had on a pair of like 6 inch platform heels - the kind on which ankles are broken!

Next up were the powerhouse rockers Shinedown. I was a bit disappointed with them the first time I saw them live. Frontman Brent Smith's vocals didn't seem as powerful live as they were on plastic. However he totally changed that perception last night as his vocals were nigh on perfect. Plus they had a much better sound than Halestorm as well. The only thing that's a little strange about the band is the rather long pauses between songs and the over the top unity talk and speech making of frontman Brent. Of course he means well but boy does he go on and on sometimes about how strong the music is how and united a family we all are. Maybe I'm being a bit mean spirited but Shinedown is about the only band I've ever heard that went on and on like it's a sermon of praise or something. Other than that they were awesome especially the ballads which were sung absolutely brilliantly by Brent, he really nailed those big time. A perfect support slot and compliment to the main act it must be said.

At 9.10pm it was time for the heavy hitting powerhouse of rock that is Alter Bridge to lay waste to the Arena and boy did they do that. Of course they were going to play a lot of new songs and to start off with Addicted to Pain was a great way to introduce new music as it's one of the best cuts on the new CD. Very fast and heavy and almost thrashy sounding with the first few rows going apeshit. The sound was actually slightly worse for AB than it was for Shinedown for me as the bass was so loud and tuned so low that it had quite a grating grinding sound which made Myles' voice less audible. Everytime I've been to the Arena this problem seems to persist with loud bass and drums to drown out guitars and vocals. Will they never learn?

Anyway slowly my ears got accustomed to the sonics on offer and I began to enjoy the show more from rather odd vantage point. Myles was sounding on hellishly good form vocally and soon some of my favourite AB tracks were played such as the rapid and heavy Ties That Bind and the best AB song in existence, Blackbird, with it's hugely rollercoaster emotional quality shining to the fore. Very very surprisingly the acoustic Watch Over You was the highlight of the night for me as it was sung Magnificently by Myles alone with his acoustic guitar. A truly mesmerising performance on that song. The main set ended with the anthemic crowd pleasers Rise Today and Open Your Eyes which are two of the best AB songs in my opinion.

They left to rapturous applause but of course returned for a two song encore of songs from ABIII with the churning Slip To The Void and the catchy Isolation to round things of nicely. Alter Bridge is one band whose future looks bright in the rock world make no mistake seeing as they are selling out Arenas and have the crowd eating out of their hands with ease. I forgot to mention Tremonti. The guy is a guitar wiz and churns out riff after heavy riff and spine tingling solos to top it all off. If they had slightly better live sound the show would have been even better but I'm not blaming the band for that of course. As it stands the AB live experience is solid as all hell and can be enjoyed by any fan of heavy music in the world today.

Set list:
Addicted to Pain
White Knuckles
Come to Life
Before Tomorrow Comes
Farther Than the Sun
Brand New Start
Cry of Achilles
Ghost of Days Gone By
The Uninvited
Ties That Bind
Broken Wings
Watch Over You (Acoustic)
Rise Today
Open Your Eyes
Slip to the Void

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