Alter Bridge Returns to the Iron City

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.

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Concert Review: Alter Bridge at The Tabernacle (Jan. 22, 2017)

Alter Bridge’s The Last Hero tour made a stop in Atlanta, Georgia, this past Sunday. Coincidentally, this was the same night as the NFC Championship game. The Atlanta Falcons rose up in the Georgia Dome; Alter Bridge brought down The Tabernacle.

With an audience that consisted of many exhilarated Falcons fans, the atmosphere was electric. Monster Truck, who opened for Alter Bridge the last time they played The Tabernacle, was definitely on point. Energetic and insanely talented, these Canada natives set the bar high. They exited the stage and the room was literally buzzing with adrenaline and excitement.

When the lights dimmed, the roar of the crowd was astounding. Tension mounted with each passing second and then, Alter Bridge stepped into view: vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, drummer Scott Phillips, bassist Brian Marshall, and guitarist Mark Tremonti. Before the noise had even begun to die down, the band ripped into the second track from The Last Hero, “Writing on the Wall.”

Each song was met with enthusiasm from a mass of fans who clearly adored Alter Bridge. The setlist included such songs as “Come to Life,” “Addicted to Pain,” “Blackbird,” and “Isolation.” They played my personal favorites, “Waters Rising” and “Watch Over You.” As an added bonus, they performed “The Last Hero” for the first time stateside.

The set ended with “Open Your Eyes” and the accompanying sing-along. This was followed by a marriage proposal (she said yes), and after congratulating the happy couple, Myles picked out the intro to “Show Me a Leader.” The final song of the evening was none other than “Rise Today.”

I have now seen Alter Bridge four times, and I can honestly say they get better with each show. Maybe it was the fans sharing the experience with me, maybe it was the fact that the music was so wonderful and my heart was filled with total joy, but this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

Of course, I close this review with my own personal story from the show. My brother and I once again circled the venue and waited by the buses. I can’t explain it; however, I knew this was the night I would finally meet Myles Kennedy.

And I did.

Myles was the first member of Alter Bridge to emerge from The Tabernacle. He came straight over to where I was standing, signed the band itinerary a security guard had given me, and posed for a picture. He hugged me and thanked us for being there before moving away to talk to the others gathered around us.

Mark was the next one out. I introduced myself this time, which made him chuckle. We then spoke to Brian and last, but certainly not least, Scott (who brought up college football in response to my Alabama Crimson Tide jacket).

I cannot stress enough how exceptional these four men are. Not only are they brilliant musicians, they are kind and sweet and appreciate their fans. I will never stop encouraging others to listen to them and, if possible, to go to an Alter Bridge concert. There is no way you will be disappointed.

Here are two of my favorite pictures from the night. The rest can be found HERE.