Live Gig Report and Photos: Robert Cavuoto
Alter Bridge is currently on the second leg of their headlining tour in support of their 2016 Top 10 release; The Last Hero. The tour will take them through North America and much of Europe before ending late September in South America.
Formed from the ashes of Creed, Alter Bridge has risen like a phoenix to overtake the world and in the process created five stellar CDs; each stronger than its predecessor. The band consists of Mark Tremonti on guitar/vocals, Myles Kennedy on vocals/guitar, Brian Marshall on bass and Scott Phillips on drums. If rock n’ roll is dead nobody told Alter Bridge. The band has everything anyone can ask for; crushing guitars, heavy rhythms, top notch songwriting, and melodic songs with thought provoking lyrics that are sung well. Alter Bridge remains a no-nonsense band who is carrying the torch for rock n’ roll!
Tonight at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA the band raged through a 90-minute set which consisted of 18 songs; the best-of-the-best from their CDs. Anyone who came to the show got just what they expected – an unstoppable wall of guitars!
The band came out swinging with three strong opening songs; “Writing on the Wall,” “Come to Life,” and “Farther from the Sun.” The chemistry between the band members is instantaneously noticeable. All members were working in perfect harmony knowing all their parts, nuances, and queues without hesitation – like a well-oiled machine.
I asked Myles about the chemistry he and Mark share on guitar, he responded, “It’s been part of the band’s dynamic since our first CD, Blackbird. We have the old school Iron Maiden approach with the dueling leads like on “Farther than the Sun,” “Fortress,” and “Cry of Achilles.”
The band has their own identifiable style of playing and songwriting; coupled with leads that enhance the songs beyond expectation. In most instances, the leads are like mini-symphonies and just as memorable as the songs themselves. There was no shortage of highlights in tonight’s performance like when Myles performed “Isolation” acoustically, or Mark took lead vocals on “Rising Water,” or my favorite, “Cry of Achilles” with its flamenco guitar intro. The song that everyone was waiting for was “Blackbird” which has become one of the band’s most notable songs.
Myles seamlessly switched stage locations from his center-stage mic stand to his side stage mic stand where his guitar pedal board was located. Tonight he was predominantly using his single cutaway PRS 245 and his PRS McCarty guitars. He unleashed his incomparable vocal chops with emotional fervor; Myles is a multi-talented frontman playing guitar, working pedals, and of course handling vocal duties.
Mark is a brilliant player and true innovator mastering techniques like finger picking, speed picking, tapping, playing above the guitar nut and sometimes all in the same song. He is a visionary player that can sculpt sound and bend minds in equal measure. Tonight he was armed with his arsenal of PRS guitars and Mesa amps/cabinets.
Keeping up with the duo’s galloping guitars and playing in the pocket is drummer Scott Phillips and bassist Brain Marshall. Scott’s drum kit took a monstrous beating as he picked up more power with each passing song. Brian was a powerhouse bassist laying down the unflinching backbeat for the band. He took center stage many times including for his signature bass run on “Cry of Achilles.”
The night ended with two final songs in the encore “Show Me a Leader” and “Rise Today.” The band crushed the crowd with an angry and energetic display of raw emotion. Alter Bridge delivered a memorable evening for everyone in attendance, and I hope you feel persuaded to check them out this year when they play near you!