Instead of my usual 5:25 to Glasgow, last Saturday morning, I found myself in Glasgow Airport boarding a flight to East Midlands Airport (tiny propeller plane!) as I headed off to Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.
Having met many friends and made several new ones along the way at lunch and the meet and greet, I found myself in a prime spot on the rail for the show.
First out on stage were Like A Storm. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a show open with some didgeridoo playing before! This young band from New Zealand are fantastic and, despite a lack of space on the busy stage, played a spectacular half hour set. Their all too short appearance opened with Chaos from their debut album, Awaken The Fire. The remainder of the six song set comprised of songs from the album with one exception. These Kiwis played a storming cover of ACDC’s TNT. They wound things up with Love The Way You Hate Me. Brilliant. Nothing to hate about these guys!
Next up were French band, Gojira. I’ll be honest here. I’ve listened to their latest album Magma and some of their older stuff and I just can’t get into them. Live they were certainly loud, hard and heavy and much better than I’d expected. The highlights of their eight song set for me were Silvera and Vacuity. Check them out and make your own mind up. For me, the jury’s still out.
Volbeat from Denmark followed. Slowly drum kit by drum kit layer the stage space was increasing. Since hearing Volbeat’s latest album Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie, I hoped and prayed that one particular track from it would open their set. The Danes didn’t disappoint. The Devil’s Bleeding Crown is the perfect set opener. Loved it!
Three songs in and we were treated to some Johnny Cash as they played Ring Of Fire and Sad Man’s Tongue. Front man, Michael Poulsen asked the crowd to sing along. I think some of them need to brush up in their knowledge of the Man In Black.
A special guest joined them on stage a few songs later to lend his vocal support on Evelyn. Barney Greenway from Napalm Death helped with the vocal chores. Personally, I wish he hadn’t but the crowd around me seemed to enjoy it.
Volbeat’s ten song set drew to a thunderous climax with Seal The Deal (plus some added Back In Black) and Still Counting.
One criticism of an otherwise awesome set – don’t encourage crowd surfing please guys. Having previously been badly kicked by a flailing crowd surfer, it’s not funny to those underneath.
Finally, the lights dimmed for the final time, the stage lit up as the intro played. Spotlights flashed out over the capacity crowd and Alter Bridge took to the stage, opening their set with The Writing On The Wall. Awesome choice from The Last Hero to open proceedings.
This was followed by Come To Life and Farther Than The Sun.
All four members of the band were on fire! From my position on the rail, the sound was incredible. Myles was certainly in fine voice!
I was relieved that Ghosts Of Days Gone By was still on the set. It’s one of my personal favourites. Love it!
The seventeen song set was a pretty fair mix of old and new anthems. Four songs from The Last Hero were spread throughout the ninety minute set.
Waters Rising was one of the highlights of the night. Mark Tremonti’s confidence as a vocalist has noticeably increased following his recent runs with Tremonti. At the end of the song, he passed the PRS guitar that he had just played to a young boy down at the front, citing him as the future of rock n roll.
Crows On A Wire followed. This is a monster of a song and is sure to remain on the standard set for a long time to come. Eargasmic!
Then it was time to slow things down for a moment or two. Myles appeared with his acoustic guitar and we all knew what was coming. It was the eve of his birthday and the fans were keen to see him celebrate, even if he confessed to not looking forward to being a year older (For the record, he’s 47)
Watch Over You is a truly beautiful ballad. I love this one. It’s a very emotional song and I think its close to the heart of every Alter Bridge fan. Beautiful crystal clear vocals from Myles. Stunning!
Two songs later the emotions were running high again as the boys played the iconic Blackbird. Incredible! The solos in this one were amazing. Wow…that’s all..WOW!
Two old favourites rounded off the main body of the set – Metalingus and Open Your Eyes.
It’s worth commenting on the spectacular lighting and impressive screen that dominated the back of the stage. This has to be one of the most colourful shows I’ve been to. By the end of the night, the psychedelic screen was a bit over powering but that’s perhaps just me.
After a few moments Alter Bridge returned for their two song encore. Show Me A Leader was first then all too swiftly followed by standard set closer Rise Today.
With a few final waves and bows, flicked picks (Yes, Myles tossed one to me!) and hurled drum sticks that was it. Over. Done.
Roll on Dec 1st when I get to do it all again in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro.