Words & Photos by Marco Denzer
Adding another check mark to the impressive list of sold out dates on their 2023 North American Tour, Alter Bridge delivered an outstanding and powerful selection of hard-hitting songs to their followers at the Paramount Theater in Long Island. Drawing from their extensive seven album discography, band members Myles Kennedy (Lead vocals & guitar), Mark Tremonti (Vocals & guitar), Scott Phillips (Drums), and Brian Marshal (Bass) curated an extremely dynamic setlist that, judging by the good vibes people were enjoying, satisfied both new and long-time fans alike.
Nashville, TN based rockers Red got things rolling at 7:00 PM sharp with a high energy opening set that quickly fired up the crowd. Highly acclaimed Mammoth WVH, led by the exceptionally talented multi-instrumentalist musician Wolfgang “Wolf” Van Halen was next on the night’s bill and by now the house was packed to the rafters. It was standing room only. Their set was extremely good and included several of the already familiar hit songs that earned them a well-deserved Grammy nomination in 2022, including titles like “Don’t Back Down”, “Distance” and “Think It Over”. His father’s favorite according to Wolf. Sadly, their set consisted of only eight songs and it would have been great to hear more from the band. That said, their performance was heartfelt and very engaging with no shortage of guitar shredding and drive.
Dressed in various shades of black rock n roll garb and looking very cool, Alter Bridge promptly walked on stage at 9:00 PM and began playing “Silver Tongue”, the third track on their fabulous new release “Pawns & Kings”, almost immediately. The band appeared comfortable, very well prepared and ready to deliver the goods without any long-winded greetings or distractions. With Scott setting the pace perched high atop his drum riser and Myles, flanked by Mark and Brian, leading the charge from center stage. They kicked it into high gear with impeccable heart pounding precision and chops. The song’s driving rhythm and powerful rocking guitar riffs made it an absolutely perfect opener for what laid ahead. They followed closely with “Addicted to Pain”, another hard rocking hit of similar magnitude from their widely acclaimed 2013 album “Fortress”, to secure the high energy vibe in the room before continuing on with the show.
Having captured the crowd’s attention and engaged with them in the positive mindset of the moment, Alter Bridge smoothly shifted into cruising speed and continued delivering an impressive bunch of tunes carefully chosen from Pawns & Kings, Fortress, AB III and earlier productions like Blackbird and One Day Remains. Leading a visibly pumped up audience to readily rock, sway and sing along with them as they played songs like “Ghost of Days Gone By”, “Before Tomorrow Comes” and “Cry of Achilles” to name a few. Also included in the night’s setlist were a couple of exceptional renditions of “Watch Over You”, featuring Myles singing solo and playing his acoustic guitar, and “In Loving Memory” played as a duet with Myles on vocals and Mark on acoustic guitar. Clearly, as the accompanying stage lighting beautifully focused attention on the two musicians and heightened the visual experience for the fans, this was a special moment in the show. Myles voice, the clear warm timbre of their guitars, the clean arpeggios and instrumental chops of each musician were prominently showcased. It was an extremely intimate and enjoyable part of their performance.
Broadly speaking, the band’s repertoire on this particular night was a phenomenal treat for Heavy Metal lovers with discerning taste in lyrical content and musical composition. As the poetic song writing of Kennedy and Tremonti consistently delves deep into the profound and complex nuances of our human condition by exploring themes of introspection, love, hope, forgiveness and healing in addition to, or as a counterpoint to loss, fear, doubt, disappointment and other negative emotions. It’s easy, perhaps inevitable for one to connect with their positive message and identify on a sincerely personal and emotional level. Additionally, to experience the powerful and prodigious musical performance Alter Bridge delivers live with Brian seamlessly weaving his five-string bass lines with Scott’s diverse and thundering percussion, as the rock steady rhythm section they are, in conjunction with the masterful guitars and vocals that Myles and Mark bring to bear is like a spiritual awakening almost. It’s tons of fun, exuberant and extremely gratifying… because they rock.
It’s also important to highlight that Mark Tremonti is an excellent singer who sings in a slightly lower register than Myles, and this is a great compliment to the vocal arrangements of their songs. Contrary to popular belief, he’s not a limited guitar shredder with an incredible gift, he’s a well-rounded musician and talented vocalist who features prominently in songs like “Burn It Down”, “Before Tomorrow Comes” and “Isolation” in addition to singing lead vocals in “Waters Rising” and “Stay” from the albums “Fortress” and “Pawns & Kings” respectively. Similarly, the erroneous popular belief that Myles is limited as a guitar strumming singer misses the fact that he’s actually quite an accomplished guitarist. He alternates exceedingly well with Mark on many challenging guitar parts throughout their compositions and plays many of the band’s defining riffs and leads. All while delivering ass-kicking vocals on a consistent basis without missing a beat!
All and all, Alter Bridge rocked the house and delivered an awesome show at the Paramount. It was an absolute blast… period.
Alter Bridge – Setlist
Addicted to Pain
Ghost of Days Gone By
Before Tomorrow Comes
Burn It Down
Cry of Achilles
Watch Over You (Acoustic)
In Loving Memory (Acoustic)
Pawns & Kings
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