Last Thursday, on one of the hottest days Scotland has ever seen, Boy Child and I boarded the 525 to Glasgow. We were heading into the city to see Tremonti.
We should have been heading to the O2 ABC but the tragic events of 15 June had meant that the show had been moved to the O2 Academy.
The train had just pulled out of the station when my other half called to say the heat had messed up the train timetable and advised us to get off at the first stop and to run back for the car.
We did. The journey then became a race against time to get to the venue for doors open. We more or less ran back to the car. Not fun in 30 degrees Celsius (honest!!). We jumped in the car, burnt our butts on the black leather seats and set off – again! Traffic came to a standstill on the M8 half an hour later due to an accident. Ever get the feeling you are not meant to get to a gig?
Eventually we reached Shields Road underground station, parked the car and jumped on the subway out to Bridge Street.
As we ran down the street to the O2 Academy, the last of the queue was just entering the venue.
My heart sank somewhat as all hope of a rail spot for the night seemed to evaporate in the heat.
Maybe I’ve the heat to thank but, by some miracle, I managed to get a wee spot on the rail. I suspect many of the rail regulars were staying closer to the bar!
Anchor Lane, the first support act, were already on stage and were nailing it! I’ll be honest, I loved what I heard but was still somewhat flustered after our journey (I really don’t do motorways in rush hour) and didn’t give them my full attention. Humble apologies, guys. In hindsight, I wish I had. A band to watch out for in the near future and one I will pay full attention to next time.
The other support act were The Fallen State. This five piece delivered a passionate and energetic forty-minute set. Vocalist Ben Stenning did a sterling job warming up the growing crowd but I suspect everyone was too damn hot to fully appreciate his efforts. Most fans seemed to be saving their energy for the headliners.
At a quarter past nine, the PA stopped, the lights dimmed and Tremonti’s intro tape began to play. A slow other-worldly rhythm was drowned out by the welcoming cheers of the Glasgow fans. Strobe lights flashing, drums echoing out, Tremonti exploded into their ninety-minute set by opening with the mighty Cauterize. With one foot resting on the wedge monitor centre stage, Mark Tremonti was immediately in full command of proceedings. Each member of the band was overflowing with energy and this flooded into the set opener. Another Heart and You Waste Your Time swiftly followed.
AS the heat in the venue increased so did the energy levels and the volume. These guys were loud!!
The first song from Tremonti’s new album, A Dying Machine, to get an outing was As The Silence Becomes Her. Compared to some of the anthems we had already heard, this one perhaps showcased the growth in Mark’s vocals best. Calm and controlled, he delivered a superb opening verse before asking the fans to “sing this with us” as they reached the first chorus. A Glasgow crowd needs no second invitation to sing!
Each and every member of this band is super talented. This was the third time I’ve had the pleasure to see them play live and they get tighter and tighter as a band each time. Engine room Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Keegan are unstoppable. Its just a pity Garrett is stuck so far back behind his kit that he’s hard to see at times. Tanner gets more animated with each song they play! Mark Tremonti’s prowess as a guitarist is second to none but what was a joy to see was the recognition he gave to birthday boy, Eric Friedman’s skills.
Eric was allowed to shine in the spotlight at the start of The Things I’ve Seen mid-set. His guitar solo before the song was a stunning display as was his sole during the song.
As the song drew to a close, Jeremy (hope I’ve got that right) from the band’s crew came on stage with a birthday cake covered in flaming candles for Erock. Garrett came to the front of the stage to encourage the fans to sing Happy Birthday (again – they sang it earlier) to his band mate. The Glasgow choir sang with gusto then watched the birthday boy blow out the candles. (I’m sure there were more than me in the room who were glad to see the flames in a Glasgow venue extinguished – we can’t afford to lose another one!)
Bringer Of War, again from A Dying Machine, followed, ensuring that the fans were quickly back to full speed. I’d put money on it that some of these Scottish diehard metalheads kept moshing through Happy Birthday and that Bringer Of War was the icing on the cake!
One of the highlights of the evening for me was the incredible Flying Monkeys. I love this song! Love the power of it and I wasn’t disappointed on this occasion. Awesomeness!
Album title track, A Dying Machine, was another high point of the show with the fans clearly letting Mr Tremonti appreciate their love for his new concept album. (Looking forward to the book, Mark!)
Dust took on a whole new level of poignancy a moment or two alter as Mark asked everyone to light up their phones in tribute to the great O2 ABC. The lyrics might not have been the most fitting but the moment of recognition for the loss of a favourite music venue was appreciated by all. R.I.P. Glitter Ball.
Tremonti don’t play encores. Instead, they prefer to play straight through. They brought the evening to a thunderous and sweaty close with Radical Change and their standard set closer, Wish You Well.
An awesome night in an awesome venue.
Sadly, despite having the necessary neon wristband, Boy Child and I couldn’t wait for the post-show meet and greet. The clock was ticking and the time had come to retract our steps back to the car.
If only we’d been able to follow this short UK tour for a few more shows…..