Having spent the first part of the week sulking about having missed the shows at the Royal Albert Hall, it was with great expectations that I set off for the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.
With a rail space secured for the evening, I watched as this beautiful venue filled up behind me. (I have a theory that the band are playing the most ornate venues only on this short UK and Ireland run.)
As Lions opened proceedings for the evening. There is no denying the parental influence on this band. Fronted by Bruce Dickinson’s son, Austin, this quintet delivered an eight song set. If Mr Dickinson jr had done less talking (and swearing) it could easily have been nine. Don’t get me wrong, these guys have bags of potential and did an admirable job as the only support act for the evening but, at times, it felt as though Austin was trying too hard to imitate his father. He has a great voice but needs to find his own identity on stage.
Ten out of ten though for getting the crowd moving. Highlight was me personally was World On Fire. Great song.
As the lights dimmed just after nine and the familiar intro tape played, the Usher Hall reverberated to chants of “Alter Bridge. Alter Bridge. Alter Bridge.”
Much to my great delight, they opened their two hour set with The End Is Here. First time I’ve heard this song played live and I sincerely hope it won’t be the last. A hidden gem from the early days. The smile on Myles Kennedy’s face said it all!
Alter Bridge had promised to deliver a different set for this second UK run of The Last Hero tour and they dug deep into the archives to the delight of the fans.
Their set opener was followed by a powerhouse trio of White Knuckles, Crows On A Wire and One Day Remains.
All four members of the band seemed relaxed and looked to be enjoying themselves. Perhaps it was because the pressure of those high profile London shows had lifted but the Scottish fans benefited from it.
I was relieved to see one of my personal favourites had remained on the set – Ghost Of Days Gone By. Love it! Flawless performance by all.
A disturbance in the crowd at the start of My Champion dampened the atmosphere momentarily and Myles articulated his personal feelings about unacceptable behaviour quite succinctly.
Waters Rising saw Mark Tremonti take the lead vocal next. Another faultless vocal performance from Mr Tremonti. It would be nice to hear him get a second song at some point in the future.
Then a second dream came true moment for me personally as Myles played both Wonderful Life and Watch Over You. Stunningly beautiful.
Myles was at his playful best during Metalingus. As is gradually becoming the norm, he had us all crouch down ready to jump up on his cue. He held us down there a long time! Jumping up was a bit of a challenge!
I don’t think there are any new words left to ably describe Blackbird. From the first note emotions are at a peak. The power and the passion that all members of the band pour into this song every single time is incredible. Goosebumps moment!
The main body of the set was rounded off with Open Your Eyes and Show Me A Leader.
After a few moments of a breather (and time for the band to check up on young Cooper Marshall, Brian’s son, who was at the side of the stage with his toy swords) Alter Bridge returned for an encore that opened with the beautiful Cry Of Achilles. The third dream come true moment came next as the band played In Loving Memory. I’ll not lie…there was a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. So much raw emotion in one song.
So how do you follow that? Well, if you’re Mark and Myles you follow it with a guitar duel. I’m no musician but their prowess is incredible and not lost on my uneducated ears. Think we’ll call that one a Mark Tremonti win! Sorry, Myles.
As ever Alter Bridge brought the show to an end with Rise Today.
Incredible show in an incredibly beautiful venue.
Can’t wait to do it all again in Dublin in a couple days.