Alter Bridge were back headlining Wembley Arena for the second time in as many years with Shinedown and Halestorm in support. The arena looked close to a sell out and with the seating removed in the arena area there were a few mosh pits appearing, certainly during the headliners set.
First up were Halestorm led by the powerful lunged Lzzy Hale. Now my esteemed fellow GRTR! Reviewer Andy Nathan loved their last album and they do have some good tunes, including ‘Freak Like Me’ which they played in their thirty minute set tonight. But for me some of the songs are lacking something and please no drum solo in a support set, especially when he kept trying to catch his drum sticks and on more than one occasion dropped them. Still they did a mean cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Dissident Aggressor’. I think I was expecting more after all the rave reviews they have had.
Shinedown just about took band of the night and their charm offensive, led by vocalist Brent Smith, will have won them many new fans. I like their onstage plea for the audience to shake hands and introduce themselves to the person on their left and right. It could backfire but done in the right spirit it works. He is even handing out roses towards the end of their set!
They are plugging last year’s ‘Amaryllis’ album which has sold over 400,000 copies to date in the US alone and made the top 20 album chart here in the UK. Highlights? The whole set although I’d pick out ‘Enemies’ for its sheer uplifting power and ‘I’ll Follow You’.
Like Halestorm they threw in a decent cover, this time Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Simple Man’ and a damn fine job they made of it to. Interestingly too the band freely admit to using backing tracks live to recreate some of their album’s sound (see Dave Ling’s interview in the latest ‘Classic Rock’ for more) and it works well, so no issue for me or any of the audience judging by how well they were received.
I am pretty sure next time Shinedown come over they will be headlining at least Hammersmith Apollo sized venues if not Wembley Arena. They have the tunes that cross over from the rock fans into the mainstream.
Alter Bridge’s momentum keeps on going as their new album ‘Fortress’ debuted in the UK at number six and number twelve in the US album charts. Plus vocalist Myles Kennedy has had even more success with Slash and guitarist Mark Tremonti has had his own solo project. Kicking off with ‘Addicted To Pain’ was a smart move, the most instant song on their new album and real statement of intent for the night ahead.
Live Alter Bridge are a metal beast and then some. They are so loud, which at times meant a few sound issues with vocals and often the bass and drums took over a tad too much. Still with songs like ‘Farther Than The Sun’, also off their new album, you are concentrating more on enjoying the night’s music.
Real hair standing on hair moment as the opening chords of ‘Before Tomorrow Comes’ are played, for me the song that got me into this band and still one of their finest tunes. Myles Kennedy works the crowd well and genuninely seems humbled at the crowd’s response, never taking them for granted like some band’s I have seen down the years.
Only the acoustic ‘Watch Over You’ gave some light relief in an otherwise non-stop set of hard as heck rock meets metal tunes. Sadly missed the last few songs of the set as had to head back for my train but I was buzzing (and still am some twenty four hours later) at how good both Shinedown and Alter Bridge are both on record and live. Go get their albums if you haven’t and do make sure you see both live as they won’t disappoint.
Review by Jason Ritchie
Photos & Gallery by Iain Scott
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