Alter Bridge tour opens in Birmingham – review and pictures.

Posted on 23 November 2011
By Lara Cullen
  • Share:

After eight years of hard work Alter Bridge took to the stage last night for what was astoundingly their first ever headlining arena show.

The significance of the occasion and the band’s genuine gratitude and touching humility made for a very special and emotional night that will last a long time in the memories of all that were there.

A million miles from formulaic X-Factor releases and insipid radio darlings such as The Vaccines and Everything Everything, Alter Bridge are about real, honest music and it starts and ends there.

They boast phenomenal guitar riffs, tight basslines, kick ass drumming and arguably the best front man in modern day rock. This band has worked for their success and it showed in abundance.

For now, even though Alter Bridge have successfully made the transition from academy to arena, largely helped by Myles Kennedy’s work touring with Slash, they still retain a feeling of being exclusive to each of their fans. It was wonderful to see that last night they managed to make the vast and usually soulless LG Arena feel intimate and special.

Following a heavyweight support act like Black Stone Cherry who played an entertaining set which included flinging donuts into the crowd, a cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, and a mass singalong to Lonely Train was never going to be easy.

Alter Bridge put paid to any doubts as to whether or not the billing order was correct as soon as they opened with Slip To The Void from current album AB III and then blasted into White Knuckles which the crowd went crazy for.

A solid ninety minutes of rock heaven followed and it seemed like everywhere you looked people were singing along in unison with Myles Kennedy word for word. The band did a great job of keeping the crowd involved and chatting in between songs though generally they seemed more comfortable letting the music do the talking.

As they ripped through their catalogue the band appeared to grow increasingly comfortable and confident on the big stage and were really getting into the performance. One of the most special moments of the evening was when they let it drop a notch and Myles Kennedy took to the stage solo.

Perched on a single high stool with a simple set of spot lights illuminating him he ran through acoustic versions of Wonderful Life and Watch Over You which were simply beautiful and his voice pure and haunting. It’s fair to say during those minutes that all 8,000 fans probably felt like he was singing directly to them.

It was one of those spine tingling moments that was met with deafening applause when it ended which caused Kennedy to beam the widest grin in reciprocal appreciation. The mutual love in the room was oozing out from all over.

Epic track Blackbird followed afterwards which seemed to last forever (in the best possible way) and included some mind blowing guitar solos from the awesome Mark Tremonti that showed once again the incredible calibre of this band.

The visuals for the show were perfect. A stunning but fairly simple light show, the band all dressed in understated black. Everything about the show felt honest and authentic, refreshingly there were no theatrics or gimmicks, just rock and four very appreciative and talented musicians playing to a very adoring crowd.

Genuinely overwhelmed and humbled by the size and reception of the audience before them, Alter Bridge closed the main part of the set with Isolation followed by Find The Real. As the impatient crowd chanted and stamped for them to come back on Open your Eyes and Rise Today formed the encore.

Once the night finished and it was time to go home there was a real sense that this evening had been a breakthrough for Alter Bridge and that those lucky enough to be there had been a part of something special in the band’s history. Alter Bridge have put the work in and now is their time to collect. Without question they have the potential to be the defining rock band of this generation.