Having continuously zigzagged across the continents since the release of The Last Hero a year ago in 2016, Alter Bridge landed in Hannover, Germany, on Oct. 15. The number of Alter Bridge t-shirts cutting around kind of suggests that the band are in friendly territory, although further investigation uncovers that tonight will be the first opportunity many have had to see them live.
For the last few nights, London-based As Lions—fronted by Austin Dickinson, son of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson—had the job of warming the crowd, and a great job they done too. Unfamiliar to many, the British five-piece blasted their way through as much of their debut album, Selfish Age, as they could in 40 minutes. Energetic and engaging, the guys left the crowd as they should: wanting more!
The venue continues to fill, and anticipation continues to grow. Lights are dimmed, intro music played—enter stage right: Alter Bridge, one member at a time. The noise is now incredible and frontman Myles Kennedy looks visibly elated at the German crowd’s reaction.
The band get straight down to business, opening with what sounds like—and I may be mistaken here—an updated “Farther Than the Sun” and “Come To Life.” These are followed swiftly by “The Other Side,” which breaks the ice nicely into the latest album. The audience are sold on having a great time and are belting out the lyrics word for word.
Midway through the show, and Kennedy is alone, center stage with acoustic guitar in hand. Cue the opening bars of “Watch Over You” and thunderous cheers from the crowd. By far the loudest noise tonight was saved for “Blackbird,” arguably the band’s best-known song and one that still sounds fresh 10 years after its release.
All too soon, the show is drawing to a close, and the obligatory encore is underway—the highlight of which has to be the sheer showmanship of a guitar duel between Kennedy and guitarist and vocalist Mark Tremonti.
Alter Bridge pride themselves on playing differing sets each night, which is something that should be applauded. I was, however, surprised that of the 19 songs played tonight, only three came from The Last Hero. On paper this seems to defy logic: this is the The Last Hero Tour after all. Maybe it is yet another sign of how well-connected with their fan base the band are and how much confidence they have in their material. Judging by tonight’s response, the crowd were not concerned in the slightest; they were just happy to be here.
All four band members jell in a manner that most bands can only dream of, and they each have individual stage presence that has been well honed over the years. Content with who they are, the members are happy to let the music do the talking. There are no rambling tales between songs, no political statements here. When they do interact with the crowd, it is in a genuine, down to earth fashion, and the fans just get it.
Hard rock is often seen as the domain of the 40-something demographic, and for this reason, it often struggles to appeal to the younger generation. Once in a while, though, an exception to the rule raises its head. Alter Bridge seem to have found the magic formula for bridging the age gap and have become masters of their musical genre. Tonight’s show was a full-on sprint through the life and times of a dedicated and hardworking rock band. There was something here for everyone, and this five-star performance proved yet again that their professionalism, dedication, and determination continue to win them fans across the globe.
Farther Than the Sun
Come To Life
The Other Side
Addicted To Pain
Ghost of Days Gone By
Ties That Bind
Watch Over You (acoustic)
In Loving Memory (acoustic)
Slip to the Void
Show Me a Leader
Cry of Achilles
Open Your Eyes
Dueling guitar solos