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Live Review : Alter Bridge

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

       When Alter Bridge emerged in the rock scene in 2004 it was clear that we were witnessing the birth of a powerful “superband” that would no doubt leave a large impression on modern day rock music. Now 10 years later and four albums into their career the band has become a force to be reckoned with and have earned themselves much critical praise along the way for being an incredible tight live performance band. Frontman Myles Kennedy has become a true face of the music industry today firstly for his work with the band and more recently for his continued work outside of the band legendary guitarist Slash.

As many know the members behind Kennedy on stage have just as large as reputation as he does hailing from the original line up of Creed, who disbanded shortly before Alter Bridge’s formation. With all this talent coming together it is safe to say that expectations were high for their show here in the Lehigh Valley at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center.

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This tour run is a continuation of their previous tour earlier this year in support of their most recent release, “Fortress.” The album, much like the spring tour in support of it, was met to applause across the board and earned the band even more radio play. The crowd in the Sands Event Center was a half-full sea (2,000 or so) of fans wearing all sorts of Alter Bridge merchandise branded with the artwork of “Fortress,” some of the shirts were from this leg of the tour, others looked more like promotional based shirts, and a fair amount were from the spring portion earlier this year. As the lights of the venue dimmed down around 9:45PM and the band was about to emerge from the black-lit side stage area the crowd began to come alive with anticipation of the night’s first song which turned out to be “Addicted to Pain,” the leading single off “Fortress.”

The first out on stage was Scott Phillips who immediately sat himself at his Alter Bridge branded drum kit that was perched on top of a large riser so everyone in the venue could have a clear view of him as he drummed away with a technical precision that few drummers can achieve. A few seconds later Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti, and Brian Marshall walked out to the roar of the crowd, each wailing away on their instruments not missing a note and making it look effortless along the way. From the first song to the last one Mark Tremonti paraded across the stage as he delivered countless guitar track, solos, and more with an intensity that showed so much you can almost hear his guitar wailing in the photographs Matt Christine captured for Sight of Sound that night.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

Myles Kennedy is forced to remain stationary for a lot of the night at his microphone stand in order for him to both play guitar and deliver his vocals but this certainly didn’t limit his performance and he made sure to go for a walk around the stage at every opportunity he possibly could. Kennedy lived up to his reputation as a vocalist in Bethlehem and many fans were saying that his performance this night was better than any other show he has put on in the area, with Alter Bridge or with Slash. Regardless there were literally no faults with vocals on every track and often times his live vocals out shined the original studio tracks, specifically happening on “Ghost of Days Gone By” in the middle of the set and the acoustic rendition of “Watch Over You” towards the end of the main set.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

Alter Bridge came out swinging for Bethlehem with a setlist that seemingly appeased all fans containing a good mix of songs off “Fortress” and plenty of tracks dating back to the beginning of the band’s decade long career. The encore was essentially 2 songs but in between the two tracks Kennedy and Tremonti had an incredible guitar dual that added more proof to their technical expertise, as if the crowd needed anymore examples of just how great the band can handle their instruments. The setlist for the show is provided below for fans who might be interested :

Alter Bridge Setlist for Bethlehem – October 7, 2014
Addicted to Pain
Come to Life
Before Tomorrow Comes
Cry of Achilles
Brand New Start
Ghost of Days Gone By
Fortress
Ties That Bind
Waters Rising
Broken Wings
Metalingus
White Knuckles
Blackbird
Watch Over You
Isolation

Encore:
Open Your Eyes
Dueling Guitar Solos – Mark and Myles
Rise Today

        If you missed Alter Bridge performing at the Sands Event Center don’t fret because they roll back through Pennsylvania soon, stopping at Freedom Hall in Lancaster. After that it isn’t clear when they will be back and there is a good chance that it won’t happen again until their next album cycle so if you are dying to get an Alter Bridge fix we recommend either being prepared to travel some distance or hitting the show in a few weeks in Lancaster. You won’t be disappointed with their performance, in fact the only complaint you will have that it all happens so quickly that you want to see it all one more time. In one decade Alter Bridge have tackled the rock genre, who knows maybe in a decade more they will be performing as they are inducted to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.Be sure to check out Sight of Sound’s Exclusive Photo Gallery from Matt Christine Photography of the Bethlehem show at the Sands Event Center :

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