Words and Pictures: Robert Cavuoto
Tonight’s show at the Asbury Park Lanes in New Jersey is just one of 21 dates on Myles’s U.S. solo tour. He is touring in support of his critically acclaimed concept CD, Year of the Tiger which was released this past March. It’s an emotional CD that touches upon the loss of his father when very young and is a different musical approach from his work in Alter Bridge and Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators.
From the moment Myles appeared on stage until the final notes of his last song 90 minutes later, he had the crowd eating out of his hand; playing a combination of electric and acoustic songs from his new CD, Alter Bridge, Slash, and The Mayfield Four. These stripped down versions of the songs showcased his abilities to write heartfelt lyrics with great melodies. A well-crafted song sounds great whether it’s stripped down or as a big production and Myles nailed the set list perfectly for tonight’s show. Helping him on this tour is two of his friends; Zia Uddin on drums and Tim Tournier on bass.
The show had an intimate and atmospheric vibe as Myles performed for some of his biggest New Jersey fans while the driving rains crushed the New Jersey coastline. The show is less aggressive than what you would expect with Alter Bridge or Slash but equally as riveting and powerful. Myles had an arsenal of guitars that would put Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick to shame. I counted about nine but lost track and believe he may have used a different guitar for almost every song. The guitars he used included a black Duane Eddy hollow body Gretsch, two Fender Telecasters, a black PRS McCarty, a Dobro, an acoustic guitar, a black Gibson B. B. King Lucille, and a black Gibson Les Paul.
Regardless of what Myles’s is playing or who he is playing with, he still has a magical connection with his audience. It was evident on fan’s faces, in their applause, and the way they sang along to every song including those from one of his first bands, The Mayfield Four. I asked Myles prior to the show what it was like to perform a song like “White Flag” after 30 years. He told me, “It was really rewarding because I thought those records were going to get lost and no one would discover them. I’m proud as a writer of that period in my life as it was so authentic and coming from an honest place. Was I best the writer in the world? No, but it was honest. It’s nice to see people discovering it.”
Alter Bridge songs like “Addicted to Pain” and “Watch Over You” sounded tremendous in this less-amplified setting and made for this type of environment. He also did a unique version of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” that he clearly “Myles-ified” as it had a country-folksy-characteristic. He also performed “World on Fire” from Slash. He played nine songs off Year of the Tiger including “Devil on the Wall,” “Ghost of Shangri La,” “Haunted by Design,” and the title track “Year of the Tiger” which were all delivered with passion. The show was a reminder of just how much great music Myles has created in his career.
It was nice to see Myles step out of his hard rock environment for this stripped down show. Fans were all smiles as they left the venue and headed into the torrential downpour on this November night. Make sure to catch Myles Kennedy & Co. for this unique and entertaining show before he heads out with Alter Bridge or Slash.