Concert Review: An Amazing Night With Alter Bridge

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On Wednesday, October 5th, my brother Rick and I drove up to the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville to see Alter Bridge. The other two bands on the bill were 3 Pill Morning and Adelita’s Way. I was very excited because I love all three acts, and I can tell you honestly that they did not disappoint. 3 Pill Morning was energetic and seemed to thrive off of audience participation, while Adelita’s Way focused more upon the music and less upon sing-alongs.

Once Adelita’s Way left the stage, anticipation became a practically tangible emotion in the air: any second now, Alter Bridge would be up there. Excited chatter filled the venue and when the lights dimmed, expectation reached its breaking point. There were several yells and delighted shrieks. Alter Bridge drummer Scott Phillips climbed behind his set, throwing his hands into the air and eliciting cheers from the eager crowd. In rapid succession, bassist Brian Marshall, guitarist Mark Tremonti, and vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy emerged from backstage. The band tore into “Come to Life” without preamble.

The set list had (almost) every track an Alter Bridge fan could want, including “Ties That Bind,” “Blackbird,” “Isolation,” “Watch Over You,” and the band’s latest song of encouragement, “My Champion.” As per usual, the set was concluded with “Open Your Eyes.”

But of course, no one moved. With chants of “Alter Bridge” echoing loudly, the quartet returned for two encores. The moment had come. It was a highlight for many as the band began the first single off their upcoming record, “Show Me a Leader.” Watching Myles Kennedy play the intro, I literally had chills.

Their second encore was the much loved “Rise Today.” Myles invited us to sing the chorus near the end, and we accepted with gusto. That will always be one of my favorite parts of an Alter Bridge concert.

The show was perfect. I have no other way to describe it. I have seen Alter Bridge three times, and this performance and set list were the best. If you love bands who get up there and play and don’t bother with props or appearances, then you need to hit an AB concert. It’s nothing fancy; just four extremely talented musicians doing what they do best.

After taking a bow and many thank-yous, the band filed off the stage. The lights came on and crew members went to work breaking everything down. The satisfied audience spilled from the venue, talking and laughing and, in some cases, lamenting the long drive home. However, my and my brother’s night was not over.

Together, Rick and I circled the venue and joined a cluster of fans by the bus. It paid off. We soon were meeting Brian Marshall. Our patience and determination kept us there for another forty-five minutes — long enough for Mark Tremonti to emerge. And this is when my review gets personal.

Rick has been a fan of Mark’s since roughly 1997. He saw Creed with Finger Eleven and Sevendust many moons ago. He accepted Myles Kennedy without question and has loved Alter Bridge from day one. But he had never met any of them until this night. (I met Mark in Birmingham last year, when Tremonti opened for Black Stone Cherry.) Rick and Mark talked guitars, then Rick told Mark that he was his idol. It was…beautiful.

Mark was quickly followed by Scott Phillips, who was good-humored and who, after Rick stated that Alter Bridge were his heroes, said we were the band’s heroes. And with that, we left, both in high spirits. The fact that we were about to spend over two hours on the road didn’t even matter.

So worth it ❤

 

 

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Concert Review: We Spent the Night With Alice Cooper

As much as I want this to be strictly a review, I can’t leave out the personal angle. See, my dad has been a fan of Alice Cooper since he was eighteen-ish. He actually saw them in ’75 on the Welcome to My Nightmare tour. When I heard that Alice Cooper was coming to Huntsville, my first thought was that my dad had to go, but I knew he wouldn’t buy a ticket for himself. He would have to have some kind of incentive. So I asked him to take me for my birthday–and he did.

Dad and I arrived at the Von Braun Center at 7:30 p.m. We found our seats and sat there, staring at the blue-lit backdrop (featuring Alice Cooper’s eyes) in anticipation. Nearly half an hour later, the arena darkened and a roar came from the crowd as the backdrop glowed red. We were off.

And this is where I switch to review mode…

Alice Cooper opened the set with “The Black Widow,” straight into “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” The band played for a solid hour and a half with barely a pause. They did all of the songs one would expect, including “I’m Eighteen,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” and “School’s Out.” Alice himself stepped back a few times to permit his band to show off their talents. The moments that really stood out were the solos from guitarist Nita Strauss and drummer Glen Sobel.

It’s no surprise the stage show was incredible! A dancing nurse, a broken windup doll, and the monster stomping around growling the chorus of “Feed My Frankenstein” were only the beginning. I mean, how often do you see a rock star get beheaded in the middle of his set?

Roughly halfway through, there was a tribute to other artists we have lost. Alice Cooper covered songs from The Who (in honor of Keith Moon), Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Motorhead (in honor of Lemmy Kilmister). In case anyone reading is going to be at a show during this tour, I will not list which tracks they played. I was pleasantly surprised, and I wouldn’t want to take that away from you.

Following “School’s Out,” the band left the stage. They returned within seconds to loud cheers and closed the show with “Elected.” Alice thanked his audience and after a few bows and showering the fans with picks and drumsticks, he and his mates exited for the final time.

I am very glad I convinced my dad to attend this concert. My only complaint would be that the show wasn’t long enough. Otherwise, it was perfect. Alice Cooper is a true entertainer. The Godfather of Shock Rock’s reign continues.

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Night Out

This is more or less a review of Shallow Side’s show in Madison last Friday, but it is also a personal post. I’ve been absent from the local music scene for a while and it was absolutely wonderful being back.

Unfortunately, I missed most of the opening act, a band called By All Means. What I did see, however, was really good. If you like hard rock/heavy metal, you might want to check them out.

I have been to four or five Shallow Side shows previously. I always enjoy them. An energetic performance coupled with amazing originals–and some odd but very fun covers–makes for one hell of a night. Shallow Side is better than anyone at getting an audience on its feet, except perhaps Almost Kings.

Friday was no different. The band’s set included originals such as “Stand Up,” “Out of Reach,” and “My Addiction.” I have to admit, though, that one of my favorite parts was their version of Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk,” with which they concluded their show. Front man Eric Boatright definitely did the track justice. It was just…magnificent. 🙂

20fyio0From left to right: drummer Heath Fields, vocalist Eric Boatright, guitarist Seth Trimble, and bassist Cody Hampton.

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2rr49l3Seth got me twice. Lol.

153ogv62zgge3nLooks like Seth tried to get me three times.

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Concert Review: Black Jacket Symphony Does Pink Floyd

Last Saturday night, I went to see The Black Jacket Symphony perform Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with my parents and cousin. The BJS has made a name for itself by recreating entire albums as exact as possible. Their past performances include Prince’s Purple Rain and Led Zeppelin’s IV.

The musicians in The Black Jacket Symphony rotate; that is to say, the band is not always made up of the same group of artists. For this performance, the band included Huntsville’s own Dave Anderson (guitar/vocals), as well as Aaron Branson on bass, Allen Barlow on guitar, Blair Breitreiter handling both keyboards and saxophone, Brad Wolfe on guitar, Mark Lanter on drums, Jackie Roche on vocals, and Peyton Grant on keys and backing vocals.

The Black Jacket Symphony did not disappoint. Pink Floyd is one of my all-time favorite bands, so believe me when I say I held them to a high standard. The musicians were superb, but it was the vocal talent on that stage that blew me away. Jackie Roche absolutely nailed “The Great Gig in the Sky” (see below). She received a much deserved standing ovation.

After the conclusion of Dark Side of the Moon, there was an intermission then the band returned to play a few of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits. They started with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and ended with “Comfortably Numb.” There were the obvious ones, such as “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. II” and “Wish You Were Here.” I was surprised and very pleased when they included both “Empty Spaces” and “Young Lust.”

It was a spectacular night, filled with so much talent and an enthusiastic audience who clearly appreciated that talent. I would highly recommend attending a Black Jacket Symphony show if the chance ever presents itself.

“The Great Gig in the Sky”

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Me with Dave Anderson and Jackie Roche

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