||LONG MAY ALTER BRIDGE REIGN AND REMAIN
Alter Bridge/Volbeat/Goljira: London o2 Arena, Thursday 24th November 2016
Words: Andy Rawll, Pictures: Eric Duvet
A triumphant performance from the ever-ascendant Alter Bridge, now thankfully promoted from the aurally inept Wembley Arena to the sonically superior O2. Although still striving to achieve the front-to-back excellence of their 'Blackbird' album, which still dominates the set-list, the latest 'Last Action Hero' release is very good indeed with another avian-themed track, 'Crows On A Wire', the pick of the three new songs performed.
Myles Kennedy's searingly stratospheric voice remains undiminished since I first laid ears on it twelve years ago on their debut tour. However, it remains at its most potent and affecting on the more dynamic songs like 'Open Your Eyes' and 'Ghost Of Days Gone By' and 'Cry Of Achilles'. Although the sound was loud and clear, the band and in particular Mark Tremonti's superb precision rhythm style, was lost a little when the songs accelerated to full throttle, but the quality of performance remained.
The band have indeed come a long way since they abandoned kin and creed to alter their future. Tonight reaffirmed how well they have weathered since those first tentative shows at the Mean Fiddler. They may not be the first, but they are certainly the last of the Metal action heroes. Long may they reign and remain.
Despite its scale, the arena and the main seated tiers were all packed, with credit to Napalm Records and Live Nation for sensible ticket prices and the inclusion of two high profile support bands. In the event, this proved to be an uneasy ménage à trois.
Individually, all fine bands, but the reality is that the diverse combination of Gojira, Volbeat and Alter Bridge is not likely to cross-fertilise each other's fan base. That being said, they was some gold in that there bill.
Although the cement mixer sound robbed Gojira of some of the finesse that underpins their tasty crushing Gallic sound, 'Silvera' and 'Stranded' from the latest and diverse 'Magma' release were grindingly epic and supported the consensus they should have been higher on the bill.
Volbeat provided a good counterpoint to the Godzillan heaviness of Gojira, opening with the stomping Metal rockabilly of 'Devil's Bleeding Crown'. However, mainman Michael Poulsen's exuberance did seem to get the better of him with his increasingly annoying hectoring of the crowd to act-out their inner teenager to circle-pit, crowd-surf, show the horns, raise phones etc.
R.A.T.M. said it best... The result was a disjointed stop-start set and musical momentum was lost. This was a shame as at times their eclectic amalgam of styles really clicked, like on the almost 'Towie' themed 'Slaytan' and the Metal-billy version of Johnny Cash's 'Sad Man's Tongue'.