#BGReviewer: Alice In Chains
First off, a big thanks to Budweiser Gardens and the awesome #BGReviewer program that they have been running for some time now. What a great way for a lucky fan to be able to attend a show, event, or concert in exchange for a review of the experience! I have been fortunate enough to be chosen as a reviewer in the past and each time, the experience has been fantastic!
Also, a special shout-out to Downtown London who has also partnered up with this experience to throw some Downtown Dollars into the mix..a nice little perk in a great prize package.
Now on with the show…
The night started off with Dallas Green of Alexisonfire/City and Colour fame. However last night, it was just Dallas and his guitar putting on a spectacular set. It was a real treat to have him as the opening act as I’ve always loved his style mixed with haunting vocals and last night he didn’t disappoint. Especially when he kicked off his set with Fragile Bird, a personal fave. A vast portion of the crowd were in their seats for his performance and he was well applauded and cheered for. Dallas also reflected on how much AIC influenced him through his youth and what a great honour it was to be there and opening for them.
Not long after Dallas’ set, Alice in Chains hit the stage and kicked right into Bleed the Freak. A classic from their first album, Facelift that was released in 1990. It almost goes without saying that they had the place rocking immediately and everyone in attendance was right there with them. I looked around several times and noticed the majority of the crowd were rocking in their seats, on their feet, and singing along to their favourites throughout the entire show.
The pre-encore, 16-song set was a great mix of AIC classics and current songs. Let’s face it, there will always be comparisons, opinions, and critics and I’ll confess..I ‘was’ one of those critics that believed you could never top the 90s era of AIC and the unmatched vocals of Layne. I have to admit that I’m not too familiar with all of the work of AIC post-Layne Staley but I will be the first to say that William DuVall is an electric front-man who puts it all out there. You can tell he is not just going through the motions of “covering” the hits that are stamped with Layne’s voice…he brings his own style and kicks-ass on their own library since his joining the band in 2006.
And honestly, I always have to remind myself whenever I hear Check My Brain that it’s William’s killer vocals ripping through that track. So to me, that says something.
It was incredible hearing them jam through the set-list and I was caught up in the memories of the times I first heard songs like Them Bones, Down in a Hole, No Excuses, and so many more. That, mixed the effortless performance and companion vocals of Jerry Cantrell made this a performance to be remembered for a long time to come.
The encore came with another 5 songs. It was amazing to see AIC bring Dallas Green back out to perform Nutshell together. Shortly thereafter, we were treated to the best 2 songs I felt they could round out the show with, Would? and The Rooster in that order. You could not have asked for a better close to the show and they were both performed flawlessly.
So to recap, 21 songs both new and old performed by one of the best bands of our time right here in our town.It was a fantastic night, an incredible venue, and an awesome opportunity.
For a long time fan of Alice in Chains, the show at Budweiser Gardens brought immense pleasure. Like many AIC followers, our history is strongly steeped in the hypnotic tones and harmonies of Staley and Cantrell dating back to the 90’s listening to Facelift and Dirt CD’s.
Thanks to a booming opening of Bleed the Freak we were surely not disappointed by the follow up songs, Check my Brain and Again. I must confess that listening to Cantrell blend so incredibly with William DuVall was something I hadn’t necessarily expected but was thoroughly pleased.
Rainier Fog is the album that’s put them out on the road and highlighting some of those tracks like Red Giant and The One You Know so powerfully demonstrates their unyielding commitment to bridging that AIC sound.
Seeing fans reconnecting with the tried and true riffs truly paid homage to a more grungier time in our lives. The haunting melodies of Angry Chair and the familiar lyrics of Man in a Box reminded me of why we still listen and revere these songs and will most likely forever.
As the concert drew to an end the encore unexpectedly saw the return of City and Colour’s frontman, Dallas Green whose vocals provided an unforgettable performance of Nutshell (a song he originally covered in 2013).
And last but very not least, the time had arrived and I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer to hear two of my undeniable favourites: Would? And Rooster. The songs were perfect and it felt like all of us were all hanging by a thread waiting for them to be played in their glory and not one of us left disappointed. Rock still lives!