There’s only one venue in Glasgow that, for me, necessitates a car ride instead of a train ride – the SSE Hydro on the banks of the River Clyde.
Having negotiated the rush hour traffic (I loathe motorway driving at rush hour), I arrived safely at the Science Centre Car Park, having taken the obligatory wrong turn. I was chaperoned for the evening by Boy Child, FB Son and Four.
We were heading across the river to see Alter Bridge.
Having seen the show a few days before, I knew what we were in for musically. Deliberately, I’d told the others very little about the show in Nottingham.
Once in the arena bowl, Boy Child and FB Son headed out towards the front centre, hoping for some moshing.
Four and I positioned ourselves a couple of rows off the barrier to the left, in front of where Myles would be in a few short hours. There really isn’t any other place to be at an Alter Bridge show for me.
Like A Storm were first out on stage. The haunting sound of the didgeridoo echoed out across the rapidly filling arena, as they opened their set. Their six song set was all too short for my liking. Part way through, front man, Chris, jumped down from the stage and appeared perched on the rail in front of me. The crowd parted easily as he walked through the arena in a large arc. WOW! As before, their set ended with Love The Way You Hate Me. Absolutely nothing to hate about these boys! Love them!
Next up were French metalcore masters, Gojira. Four and I had found ourselves in the midst of a nest of Gojira fans. I can’t truly fault Gojira’s performance. There is no doubt that they deliver a loud, hard and heavy powerful set but try as I might, it’s just not for me. (Boy Child loved them). Judging by the size of the crowd, a lot of folk had come out just to see them. For a band playing second support, they had that arena almost full before 7pm. Impressive. The lighting for their set is worth commenting on. It was fantastic!
It didn’t take their Glasgow fans long to find their energy once Gojira launched into their seven song set. The moshing most definitely kicked off. Around us the crowd got a bit tighter and ,as was to be expected, we were jostled throughout the set. Finally, these French metalheads concluded their set with a thunderous rendition of Vacuity. I suspect this was the last time I’ll see them live.
By the time Volbeat took to the stage, the crowd were in the mood to party. There were a large number of Volbeat fans in the room. In fact, the guy to our right said he’d stay till they played Evelyn then he was leaving. Leaving? Before Alter Bridge?….shocked!
I love Volbeat, however, in hindsight, perhaps front man Michael Poulsen should’ve been warned that a Glasgow crowd needs little encouragement to mosh and crowd surf. Let’s just say things got a little rough during this set. Crowd surfing concerns aside, Volbeat’s set was fantastic.
I adore their set opener The Devil’s Bleeding Crown. Awesome song live! A couple of songs later we were invited to connect with our inner “Man In Black” as they played a brilliant version of Ring Of Fire (Glasgow knows its Johnny Cash lyrics much better than Nottingham did!)
The fans were given the chance to practice their Danish as they were invited to sing along to For Evigt. Their efforts were met with approval from the stage.
After a blistering rendtion of Seal The Deal, Michael Poulsen asked the younger members of the audience to join them up on stage for Still Counting. Within ninety seconds the stage was crammed with overexcited fans, the band were calling for a circle pit and rock mayhem ensued! It was a memorable if rowdy climax to an awesome set.
It’s safe to say the fans were now all fired up for headliners Alter Bridge!
The lights dimmed, blue spotlight beams pulsed out from the stage, the huge video screen lit up in a blue throbbing target then Alter Bridge were on stage opening their ninety minute set with The Writing On The Wall! Monster set opener from their latest album The Last Hero.
It was promptly followed by Come To Life and Addicted To Pain. What an opening! Alter Bridge were on fire! The engine room that is Brian Marshall and Scott “Flip” Phillips were tuned to perfection!
Myles didn’t have to ask the crowd twice to get their hands up for the next song – the incredible Ghosts Of Days Gone By. I love this song!
Around us the crowd were tightly packed and growing very pushy. There was a lot of jostling and unnecessary shoving. Myles appealed for folk to move back a little to stop the folk at the front from being crushed. His polite pleas fell on deaf ears.
As Cry Of Achilles rang out over the arena, the crowd got rougher and I became separated from Four for the remainder of the show.
Mid-set Glasgow was treated to another song from The Last Hero, Crows On A Wire. This song is eargasmic live! Every member of Alter Bridge were on point during this one. Thunderous performance!
It was great to see Waters Rising still made the cut for the set list. Mark Tremonti has really evolved as a vocalist and I love the tone to his voice. Not as pure as Myles’ but equally passionate and genuine. The fans loved this one!
The time had come to slow things down a little as Myles appeared, acoustic guitar in hand. Having declared “You guys are the best, thank you,” he began the delicate intro to Watch Over You. Spotlit centre stage, it was the perfect setting (not a bee in sight!) Right on cue, the Glasgow choir joined in with the vocals. Lighters and phones lit the arena right up to the rafters. Stunningly beautiful moment amidst the mayhem.
A treat followed. Standing in the spotlight once more, Myles began to play You Will Be Remembered. This was the first time I’d heard this one performed live. Loved it! I hope it finds its niche in the set for tours to come.
A powerhouse delivery of Isolation soon restored the rowdy energy of the Scottish fans.
The ever poignant Blackbird came next with its soaring, sweeping solos. Myles’ vocals were as passionate and emotion fuelled as ever. Truly a magnificent song. At the back of the stage the huge screen displayed a blackbird on a branch. Perfect.
Metalingus, always a fan favourite, and Open Your Eyes rounded out the main set and Alter Bridge left the stage to tumultuous applause.
A few moments later, the boys returned for a two song encore- Show Me A Leader and standard show closer Rise Today. I’d finally wriggled forward and had a clear view of the stage for the culmination of the show. An awesome climax to a fantastic set.
As the lights went up “mum mode” re-engaged as I scanned the crowd for Boy Child and FB Son. All night the crowd had been as rough as I’d experienced. I found Four first. He’d been only a few feet behind me. I breathed a sigh of relief when I found both of the boys more or less intact a few moments later.
I’m not a killjoy and I don’t have any issues with mosh pits and circle pits but, having watched the crowd surfers being ineptly passed over head all night, I wish venues would ban it. Too many folk who are enjoying the show, with their feet firmly planted on the ground, leave battered and bruised because of these surfers.
There really is no need!
Come on venues, Rise Today and ban crowd surfing!