With an eerie dissonance of what sounded like a scene from a horror film, the low hum of the audience was silenced as ALICE IN CHAINS hit the stage of Toyota Music Factory Saturday night. Soon after the short but haunting intro, the shredding bends of Jerry Cantrell’s inimitable guitar sound made the crowd explode with excitement. Blue LED bars washed the stage as white pinspots randomly broke through the darkness.
“Check My Brain” was the high intensity kickoff for what turned out to be a stellar show! The entire audience on the main floor level rose to their feet and never sat down for the rest of the performance. Walls of white blinder lights behind the band faded in and out of intensity and changed patterns as the band continued with “Again” from their self titled 1995 release. “Never Fade” from their new release Rainier Fog followed with the rock solid thundering sounds of Sean Kinney’s drums starting it off. “Them Bones” had the crowd singing all the lyrics and raising their hands over their heads as the wall of white blinders went all out, making the crowd go wild.
“Hollow”, with its heavy bottomed bass, highlighted Mike Inez and the unmistakable ALICE IN CHAINS vocal harmonies filled the venue. William DuVall brought out his acoustic guitar for “Down In a Hole” and the audience sang along with him and Jerry as they did opposing melodies. The fans went completely nuts as they immediately recognized the pounding drums that led into “No Excuses”. The walls of white blinder lights spun around to feature video of human anatomy renderings as visuals of muscles and bones intensified the impact of “We Die Young” from the 1990 debut album Facelift.
Cantrell took a moment to introduce the band and give a shout out to our fallen local heroes Vinnie Paul and Diamond Darrell Abbott from PANTERA, after an ominous version of “Red Giant” from the new disc. “Angry Chair” from 1992’s release Dirt was followed by the clear climax of the evening as they hammered us with “Man In a Box”. Cantrell using his Golden Throat Talkbox and William DuVall’s heart stopping vocals had the entire venue on its feet dancing and singing with fists waiving high in the air. After a scorching lead solo by Cantrell, Duvall had the crowd clapping in unison over their heads for the finish. Perfectly timed lights added an over the top element to this already peak performance.
A short break took us into a four song encore that featured a scathing version of “Would?” highlighting beautifully blended harmonies and a bass line that we could feel in the pit of our stomachs. The grand finale was an emotional rendition of “Rooster” that had the crowd singing “He ain’t gonna die!” as though their life truly depended on it. ALICE IN CHAINS has sold over 20 million records worldwide and I have no doubt that their loyal fanbase will love this new release Rainier Fog. This show definitely did not disappoint those of us who were eager to feel the all encompassing energy that ALICE IN CHAINS is known for!
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN – GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DEBBIE IRENE IDE