Arriving promptly at their prescribed time, Grammy award winning rock band, Halestorm began their dominance of the stage. Opening with “Love Bites (And So Do I)” set the tone for the following night. Heavy riffs and belted vocals. Though everyone says it, it still has to be mentioned, Lzzy Hale has one of the best voices on the planet. Their cover of Judas Priest‘s “Dissident Aggressor” showed her female equivalence to Rob Halford. Stick man Arejay Hale performed a drum solo complete with jumping up from his seat and a call and response edition of “Last Resort”‘s chorus, by Papa Roach. The band are seriously something special, not incredibly musically gifted but the cool songs combined with Lzzy’s heavy vocals are inspiring, as Myles Kennedy would say later on in the night “The future”. Sadly after only 30 minutes the gawping was over and the band retired after their up beat anthem “Here’s To Us”.
Now Shinedown are one of those bands that can write seriously catchy songs… and just that. A support slot is perfect for them, they can cram in the best of their best hits; plenty of adrenaline and enough chanting and arm waving to make Bon Jovi jealous. Vocalist Brent Smith’s command of the crowd is fantastic, especially with a crowd that may not have been there for him. During the acoustic songs him and Zach Myers eat up the rapturous applause and cheers with wide grins. However the intimacy and enjoyment of the show is tarnished amid drawn out introductions and speeches. One track (possibly “Unity”) had an incredibly dramatic monologue played over the P.A, it was quite possibly Charlie Chaplin’s speech from ‘The Great Dictator’. Brent himself blathered on whilst the music lift certain words about how “Rock n roll is more than a genre” and said “the next time someone tells you rock n roll is just a genre”, the music quietened down, “You say no, it’s my way of life.” or something to that effect. Whilst this may inspire some of the younger audience members, to those who have heard it from many bands before (not to mentioned this very band several times on this very tour) it gets a little stale. Musically it’s very good and is simple, catchy songs that are easy to listen to, some have added depth. Smith is an astounding vocalist and the band are good in their respective fields, the pretentiousness however made it a slightly uneasy experience for some.
Now for the main event. Alter Bridge opened with “Addicted to Pain” which ignited the crowd and the stage. Adrenaline surged through everyone in the venue instantly. The band moved through various classics such as “White Knuckles”, “Before Tomorrow Comes”, “Come to Life”, and “Brand New Start”. These were interspersed with a couple of tracks from ‘Fortress’: “Farther Than The Sun”, “Cry of Achilles” and “The Uninvited”. Sadly they played no more but have been switching the setlist up at other gigs so all the material reaches the audience. The heavy tracks erupted the crowd and the lighter songs had the audience weeping. The acoustic rendition of “Watch Over You” with Myles on guitar still astounds those in the vicinity and invokes a level of emotion only the greatest songs can. Curiously the band ended with “Rise Today” and then “Open Your Eyes” as opposed to the other way round, “Rise” generally coming after the encore. This swap in the set was welcomed however, as much as the audience want to hear their favourite songs in the classic order it’s good to have a fresh perspective. The encore consisted of “Slip To The Void” and “Isolation”, a very curious selection indeed. Where Alter Bridge usually end on a high happy note, this time it was a much darker and aggressive tone. Despite that the superbly written songs, and the brilliant way in which they perform them is welcomed in any order, the only criticism is perhaps play a couple more tracks off ‘Fortress’.
All in all it was an enjoyable night. One which will hopefully be relived in the format of Blu-Ray. The rubbish preaching of Shinedown is almost washed under the carpet when you remember all the songs you knew the words to and the choruses you raised your hands too. There’s a lot of talent within all these bands, and they’ll be around for a very long time, with Alter Bridge themselves seemingly only getting bigger.