Alter Bridge at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin 07 Oct 2017

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Last Saturday I flew to Dublin to catch Alter Bridge’s show at the Olympia Theatre.

After the  rave reviews  their summer visit to the Emerald Isle received I was excited to be seeing them perform in this intimate venue. (It holds circa 1250)

As I mentioned in my earlier review of the show at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, I suspect that this leg of the tour should be renamed “The Ornate Last Hero Tour”.

Humour me a moment. I love old Victorian theatres. Love the cornicing, the balconies and private boxes and the gilt edging. The Olympia Theatre is stunning inside! It was like being inside a room made out of fancy piped Royal icing.

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Settled on the rail for the evening, I waited with bated breath for this sold out show to commence.

As Lions opened the evening with a similar set to the one they played a couple of nights previously. It might have been my imagination but front man, Austin Dickinson (yes, he’s Bruce Dickinson’s son) seemed to have reined it in a bit.

This quintet delivered a punchy energetic performance and soon had the crowd on side. You can almost excuse Austin’s imitation of his iconic father as he pours his heart and soul into proceedings. Highlight for me this time was Bury My Dead.

Solid effort, boys.

The lights dimmed, the familiar intro tape played and the crowd cheered wildly.

Alter Bridge were in the room!

They opened their eighteen song set with a storming version of Farther Than The Sun. Right from the off, the band seemed at ease and in playful good humour. Before Tomorrow Comes followed slickly on then one of my favourites, Ghost Of Days Gone By.

The Irish fans were in fine voice and the floor was bouncing under my feet.

Broken Wings made a return to the set two songs later. This was only the second time I’d heard this song played live and it was every bit a stunning as I recalled it sounding four years ago.

A few songs later, Myles announced that they were going to play something that they hadn’t played for almost ten years. (I believe its actually around seven years) – Burn It Down, from the One Day Remains album. Great song and the fans were ecstatic at hearing it again. Hope it stays on the set for a while.

Next Mark Tremonti stepped up to the mic to take the lead on Waters Rising. As ever, he poured his heart and soul into the song.

Myles was then passed his acoustic guitar by the faithful Ian Keith. As he chatted to the fans, he revealed that his parents were in the box to his right, just above where I was standing. Their presence earned them a huge appreciative cheer from the fans. With a glint of mischief in his eyes, Myles declared that this was a “bit like Simon and Garfunkel for them” and that this song was for them. For the rest of us, it was Watch Over You. Watching Myles sing this beautiful ballad to his mum and dad was a truly magical moment. Probably the best rendition I’ve had the pleasure to hear. I’m pretty sure it was met with parental approval.

Decibel levels were restored as  the acoustic interlude was followed by the thunderous Ties That Bind.

As ever, Blackbird was a high point of the night. Perhaps it  was the fact that the band had family with them or perhaps it’s just that Blackbird is an amazing song but this too was an emotionally charged moment.

Open Your Eyes has gradually worked its way back through the set but remains as popular as ever with all present.

As he introduced Metalingus, Myles told his folks to watch as something special was about to happen. Mid-song and in a playful frame of mind, Myles had the fans on each side of the room sing off against each other then, as is now the norm, had us all crouch down ready to jump up on his cue. Another magical moment that I’m pretty sure Mr & Mrs Kennedy appreciated.

Show Me A Leader rounded off the main set.

As the band stepped off stage momentarily, the fans kept cheering and singing. When the band returned for their final three song encore, Mark played a brief accompaniment to the fans chanting much to their delight.

The encore opened with The last Hero, a monster of a song live.

Myles calmed things down a bit with the beautiful In Loving Memory. This song is truly spine tingling and again there was barely a dry eye in the house.

The evening’s guitar duel followed. It was a close fought contest up on stage but I think it ended in a draw. Mark and Myles may beg to differ but Myles should have been allowed to win in front of his folks.

Much as I love Rise Today, for me it is always tinged with sadness as it signifies the end.

All too soon, the show was over. Picks were flicked out into the crowd (earlier in the evening Brian had even managed to get one up into the box where his family were seated), drumsticks were tossed and set lists handed to the lucky few. Sadly not me on this occasion…..someday.

Tired and happy and with a song in their hearts, the fans trooped out, heading towards Temple Bar to continue the party.

Probably the best Alter bridge show I’ve been to and most definitely well worth the 4.45am start to the day.

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About coralmccallum

chaser of rainbows and dreams
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