Alter Bridge at M.E.N. Arena (2011)

M.E.N. Arena (Manchester, UK)

Alter Bridge
According to Myles Kennedy, this Manchester gig was the biggest crowd they'd ever headlined for. […]
By Rebecca Miller
November 24, 2011

According to Myles Kennedy, this Manchester gig was the biggest crowd they'd ever headlined for. Not that you could tell though, ALTER BRIDGE were so comfortable up on that stage, they could have been playing to 50,000 fans and they still would have enchanted every single person there.

The arena wasn't yet completely full when the first support act, THEORY OF A DEADMAN, came onto the stage. They played a half hour set of their biggest hits including "Lowlife" and "Hate My Life". They're a very radio friendly band, when their songs are censored of course, with big choruses that are designed to be sung along to. Their lead singer, Tyler Connolly, mentioned that the crowd was a little quiet, but as I mentioned before, not everyone had come into the arena yet. They definitely weren't bad, but they didn't do anything spectacular. It didn't help that there seemed to be some sound issues, and the vocals were drowned out by the music at times.
The second support act on were BLACK STONE CHERRY, and from their performance, I think they've turned me into a new fan. I was familiar with a couple of their songs, and this was a good chance to see what they were made of. The fact that struck me right from the start was that lead singer Chris Robertson has got an amazing voice. It's powerful, and captivated me for their entire set. The stand out song for me was "Things My Father Said", a song very important to the band. Robertson let the crowd sing part of the chorus, and it made an already beautiful song even better. I was thoroughly impressed by this band; they had great stage presence, engaging every section of the crowd.

ALTER BRIDGE started their set with the haunting intro and downright awesomeness of "Slip To The Void". In my opinion, Myles Kennedy is one of the greatest singers in Rock and Metal that I have ever heard, without a doubt. He's got something special, stunning vocal talents, the whole band is something special and you only have to listen to the albums to realise that, but their live performance really took my breath away. They mostly played songs from their newest album "AB III", but played quite a few songs from their other two albums "One Day Remains" and "Blackbird". I'd be hard pressed to pick a favourite from their set list, as every song was pretty much perfect. Guitarist Mark Tremonti and bassist Brian Marshall are very talented, and very good at interacting with the crowd.

Not forgetting drummer Scott Phillips who, while being very good, doesn't get to move around the stage as the other members of the band do. The renowned solo from "Blackbird" was just immense, with Mark and Myles collaborating to produce something that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A truly magical moment of the night came when it was just Myles on the stage with his acoustic guitar. He started off by playing the first verse and chorus of "Wonderful Life" (one of my favourite tracks of theirs), and then he moved into "Watch Over You". This song from their second album is brilliant, but when stripped down to just the vocals and guitar, it moves onto a whole new level. Just before he started this bit though, Myles got the crowd to hold up anything that would make a light, in his words 'I want it to look like stars'. The crowd happily obliged, and it was a beautiful thing to see. During "Watch Over You", Myles let the crowd sing part of the chorus, and it was a truly special moment to be involved in. I'm betting that the grin on Myles' face could be seen right at the back of the arena.

I am very grateful that I got to see ALTER BRIDGE in concert, as it was a magical night, and one that will stay with me for a very long time. Myles Kennedy dedicated the night to Freddie Mercury, a big influence in his life. They are definitely a band that deserves more recognition than they get, and I would definitely go see them again, without any hesitation.

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