On their final leg of The Last Hero tour, Alter Bridge made a stop in Birmingham, Alabama, for the first time in ten years. They played at Iron City with opening acts Sons of Texas and All That Remains. As an added bonus, I convinced my parents to go. It was their first Alter Bridge show.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed all of Sons of Texas and most of All That Remains, though I did catch the latter performing their version of “The Thunder Rolls.”
My parents and I found a spot in the balcony and anxiously awaited the start of Alter Bridge’s set. The venue was packed from wall to wall, and everywhere I looked I saw shirts from past tours, most prominent among them Blackbird and The Last Hero.
Just as the excitement boiled over and fans began chanting the band’s name, the lights dimmed. Drummer Scott Phillips settled behind his kit to a soundtrack of cheers. Vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, guitarist Mark Tremonti, and bassist Brian Marshall took the stage without further ado, and we were off.
Alter Bridge opened with “Writing on the Wall” and tore through three more songs before Myles addressed the audience. Every word he spoke was met with ecstatic screams. At one point, the front man acknowledged how long it had been since they’d been to Alabama, and he promised they would never overlook us again.
Alter Bridge’s set spanned their entire career, hitting the high points from each album: “Open Your Eyes” from One Day Remains, “Ties That Bind” and the title track of Blackbird, “Isolation” (AB III), “Cry of Achilles” (Fortress), and “Crows on a Wire” off The Last Hero. Much to our joy, they did “Fortress,” which doesn’t often find its way into their shows. The acoustic portion consisted of Myles playing “Watch Over You” alone, then being joined by Mark for the highlight of my night, “In Loving Memory.” The evening came to a close with “Show Me a Leader” and “Rise Today.”
This was my fifth Alter Bridge show, and the quartet again not only met but surpassed my expectations. Musically brilliant and high on crowd participation, they delivered the kind of performance concert-goers dream about. I was on cloud 9. My mom, who has been listening to Alter Bridge since 2004, was over the moon. And my dad… Well, he doesn’t like a lot of recent artists/bands, but he seemed suitably impressed, especially when Mark and Myles had their guitar duel and showcased that they are, in fact, the two most talented men in the business.
For the fourth consecutive review, I am ending with a personal anecdote. My parents and I went to where the buses were parked and were soon graced by the presence of Mark, Myles, and Scott. Perhaps my favorite part of the night was Dad introducing himself to Mark. I added “That’s my dad,” and Mark smiled and said “Hi, Dad!” It was so endearing. The guitarist also found it humorous that my mom made him squat for a picture, attempting to get him closer to my height (I’m barely under 5′ and Mark is 6’1″). He did so without protest, and he is grinning in the photo.
I love this band. They are my happy place.