I have been a fan of ALTER BRIDGE for a decade. As soon as I heard that Myles Kennedy (who I had a man crush on from the movie Rockstar) was in a band with Guitar God Mark Tremonti, Scott Phillips, and Brian Marshall I was all in. Of course, when I heard the song “Open Your Eyes” I about fell over with joy! So at last I was getting the chance to see this band at House of Blues Dallas. Plus, as an added bonus, Canadian rockers MONSTER TRUCK were the special guests. I’ve been diggin’ on this band ever since I was given a copy of their Furiosity album last fall, making this a complete win/win.
Eight O’clock hit and MONSTER TRUCK was up to bat. You wanna talk about a real no-bullshit, ass-kickin’ smack-you-in-the-mouth rock & roll band?? Then look no further than these guys right here. Opening with a pair of hard-hitting tunes “The Lion” and “Old Train” bassist/singer Jon Harvey sounded like what a real goddamn rock singer should…with a booming and mighty voice that quickly converted those in attendance who knew nothing of the band. I had to smile as I heard different conversations around me: “Man, Who is this?”, and “These boys are good!!” was the familiar refrain. I even saw some folks leave and come back wearing the MONSTER TRUCK shirts they’d just purchased.
Guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Wilderman circled the stage like a madman, just loving every second of it. He looked like he was having the time of his life up there, and that’s what I like to see. Look for our interview with him very soon. Another great moment was “The Giant” which has such a bulldozing feel to it, Brandon Bliss (organ & vocals) and Steve Kiely (drums & vocals) setting the tone and guiding the ship like a wrecking ball through your wall. One of the songs that really embodies the spirit and feel of the music of yesteryear is “Power of the People”. It’s a pretty thick slab of rock and live it was even thicker. Jordan from Darkhouse Image came out of the photo pit like, “Holy shit, this band!!” Hahahaa, another convert!
After a bit of downtime the house lights dimmed once again and ALTER BRIDGE made their entrance. This moment was for me ten years in the making and I couldn’t have been happier. Smash single “Addicted to Pain” from newest release Fortress got the proceedings started and was merely the beginning of an 18-song set that pretty much featured every song a fan could ask for. Mark Tremonti’s guitar on “Before Tomorrow Comes” off of Blackbird was every bit as flawless as Myles’ voice. The man is a Vocal God and if you can’t see that just cut your ears off; you don’t deserve to have them. Everywhere I looked was a sea of ALTER BRIDGE shirts and inside those shirts was someone singing along to every word.
“Cry of Achilles” was the second of five new songs and just rocked balls, Tremonti soloing his ass off as he once again coaxed tones from his axe that simply never existed before him. He’s a wall of sound by himself and when you add Phillips and Marshall to the mix it’s thicker than concrete. And holy shit, “Calm the Fire”! Not only my favorite from the new album, this was one of the best songs of the night. My arm and neck hair stood up every time that chorus came around. If I was making a list of Top ALTER BRIDGE songs then “Ghost of Days Gone By” from the somewhat darker AB III record would have to be on it. Myles’ voice soars on the wings of an eagle on this number both on tape and live. We got a little bit heavier for “Ties That Bind” one of the more bombastic songs in the band’s catalog, which suited me just fine.
Of course it would be downright criminal to do a write-up of this show and NOT mention Mark Tremonti’s turn at lead vocals on “Waters Rising” my OTHER favorite off of Fortress. Seriously, is there nothing the man can’t do? And when it goes balls-out on the hook with him and Myles singing together? I could have spontaneously combusted right then and there! First album One Day Remains made an appearance with “Broken Wings” which was a pleasant surprise. I wondered if we were gonna get anything off that one. “Farther Than the Sun” was the last of the new tunes, and also one of the night’s heaviest before “Metalingus” showed up and got the die-hards rocking even harder.
At this point it was time for Myles to bust out the acoustic and give us a solo rendition of “Watch Over You” aided by the packed house. He did this quite a few times throughout the evening, and the thunderous roar back at him just had him grinning ear to ear. A lot of singers do that hold the mic out thing to cover up the fact that they’re having voice issues. Not the case here! It was the first night of the tour and Myles was just soaking every bit of it in like the fan he is. He really wanted to hear the fans who happily obliged. The guys closed out the regular set with another Blackbird track “Rise Today” which again, was even better live, and after a few minutes they came back out with “Isolation”.
Myles took a moment to sincerely thank us for our support and also to openly marvel at the fact that ALTER BRIDGE has been a band for a decade now. And what better way to acknowledge that than to play that very first song I fell in love with in spring 2004, “Open Your Eyes”? Those of you that know me also know how special this song is to me, not just as a fan but as a former singer myself. I didn’t give a fuck who was around me, I let fly on the parts just before the solo! Live it was absolutely fantastic, as was my whole night. I had the biggest grin on my face when I left House of Blues, and I’m pretty sure I feel asleep wearing it, too. If this tour rolls into your town, get there!!