Beginning in 2004, Alter Bridge embarked on a journey that would see a triennial album and touring cycle. With the release of Walk The Sky late last year, the Skywalkers have been on a two-leg expedition that has had them playing across the United States. The final few shows of chapter number two included a stop in Los Angeles for an evening of hard-edged, melodic rock at The Wiltern Theater on February 24th. Capping off part two three days later in Seattle, Alter Bridge will subsequently take a bit of a break. Before setting out for a European jaunt in June, they will take a month-long swing through the Southern states and East Coast at the beginning of May.
Circling back to the event at hand, the February 24th evening begins with the second leg’s opener, Deepfall. These six Michiganders led by vocalist Rich Hopkins blast out power rock numbers highlighted by a twin guitar approach from Max Carrillo and Tim Ossenfort. Their half-hour residency is highlighted by an interesting cover of Journey’s Separate Ways. This rendition is driven by the hard pounding drumming of Nick Gray and the rhythmic plucking of bassist Taylor Brandt. Keyboardist Tim King accentuates the tune with his ivory tickles. Carrillo adds some flair to the set by jumping off his riser and spinning in the air. Hopkins makes his vocal contribution while crossing the stage and working the crowd.
Following Deepfall is a man on a solo tour while taking a break from his day job as lead guitarist for the band Sevendust. Clint Lowery and company, consisting of naturally Lowery on lead guitar and vocals hit the stage and commence a roughly 45-minute set. Lowery’s band is a bit of a mystery aside from bassist Pat Seals of Flyleaf. Seals provides the flair for their set in the form of vaulting himself repeatedly into the air off of pretty much anything that will support his weight: The drum riser, monitors, other band members, as Lowery tears through several power rock tunes through his allotment of time. The audience did not seem to be overly familiar with the selections, but also seemed to be very receptive to them.
After the stage is set for the main attraction, the theater darkens and the house music wanes as the prelude number fills the hall. Alter Bridge assails the stage as the introductory Egyptian sounding riff of Wouldn’t You Rather off their current release pierces every ear in the house. The excitement is high as they roll through song after song and the opening salvo of the first six tunes is over in the blink of an eye. The performance settles in as the audience is treated to four musicians who have a unique command of their instruments. If you have never had the opportunity to hear Mark Tremonti play the guitar live, you are truly missing out. Tremonti weaves riffs forward and backward and accents his playing with tasteful screams, squeals and whines from his guitar.
Almost two-thirds through their presentation, they arrive at the anthemic Cry Of Achilles. This six-minute long, galloping epic is directed by the twin piston motor of Scott Phillips on drums and bassist Brian Marshall. These two really find a pocket together live and allow Tremonti and vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy to slip right into the stream and flow with the current as they each provide a solo during the tune. Kennedy is a true dual threat, having two instruments, namely his guitar and his voice. Although no slouch on the guitar himself, Kennedy’s true mastery is his vocal ability. His vocal range and style would seem something he may not be able to pull off live, but nothing could be further from the truth. Kennedy hits every high with the power of a storm siren and is also able to bring the softer tones.
Alter Bridge winds down the main set with a few of their most well known numbers, Watch Over You, Blackbird and Open Your Eyes before putting the cap on the main stint. They bring out Tremonti’s solo band mate, guitarist Eric Friedman to accompany the band for their finale of Metalingus. The crowd is driven into a frenzy and then left with the humming guitar of Tremonti ushering them off stage. When they return to the stage, they deliver a two-number reprise of Godspeed from Walk The Sky and Addicted To Pain. With That, the boys from Alter Bridge depart Los Angeles for presumably another three years. We can’t wait for 2023.
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