As trips for music go, sometimes it can turn out to be quite unexpected… like to travel to the other side of the world even. I am quite sure most of you know at least someone who is this kind of crazy. During the weekend of the 23rd of November, it was a small trip to Warsaw instead of the other side of the world, but it still turned out to be worth all the money, time and sleep.
Ever since Alter Bridge announced new album coming out, I was excitedly waiting for tour to promote the new masterpiece they put together. Personally, I had many favourites already that I was hoping for to hear live. Thankfully, November came around pretty quick and with it also the first concert of the tour that I attended. The fact that they were taking the mighty Shinedown on the road was also another reason why I could not miss out on this opportunity.
The cold Warsaw welcomed us warmly, have to say. The venue itself was not something crazy big, but just perfect to fit in Alter Bridge and Shinedown fans from all over Europe. Some crazy blokes came even from UK, but this is something that people knowing AB fanbase already got quite used to. The evening started with first band on the list, The Raven Age, which are not so unfamiliar among the mentioned Alter Bridge fanbase as they already supported Mark Tremonti on his last tour with solo album. As I knew what I could expect I was hoping to see that their form got better since the last year. To my slight disappointment their performance was a bit underwhelming. The sound was not so good, guitars were getting lost in the overall sound while the rhythm section was dominating. The fact, that the singer was standing with his back to the crowd during the songs when he was not singing and interaction with the audience on his part was pretty much not-existing was also a bit off-putting. But while focusing on the guitars instead I have to say I was nicely surprised as the riffs are really catch. If the mix will be balanced out better for the next time, I am sure that the overall impression will get also much better.
With the first band of the evening closing their set, the audience started to buzz with anticipation for the next band performing, Shinedown. If someone is wondering how one band should get their fans on music craze, they would just have to look on Shinedown. The guys didn’t have to come to the stage yet and you could already feel the energy. Maybe it was the anticipation or the way they were announced, walking in one by one as voice from the speakers called for our attention. The set might have seemed a bit short, but it made up with the energy that was bursting out of all members of the Florida quartet. Starting off with Devil from their last studio album Attention, Attention, they played nice cut through their discography. Monsters and Get Up made it to the list together with Cut the Cord from Threat to Survival or Sound Of Madness and Second Chance.
The appreciation of every single fan was very visible, it seemed as if they are speaking directly to every single fan out there. During the set they were throwing out some shirts from bazooka as part of their act, encouraging the fans to lite up the whole venue with their phones during Get Up, making sure we felt how thankful they are. As Shinedown finished their last song Brilliant, I was still longing for more. The whole concert was brilliant from the beginning to the end.
Alter Bridge were still yet to come up on the stage to play out their hearts. Just a bit after quarter past ten the first notes of One Life resonated through the venue. Hitting it off with Wouldn’t You Rather, the first single from their latest album Walk the Sky, they stepped up the game of brilliantness. All in all they gave us seventeen songs together with the encore and as it became a tradition on this tour, they also gave us something quite unexpected.
When in the first half of the setlist they hit the first notes of Burn It Down from One Day Remains, I was in complete awe. But it was just when the lead vocals took Mark Tremonti when my jaw completely hit the floor. Sure, he normally sings the backing vocals in this song, but this was just perfection on totally different level. The guitar mage made such an amazing progress vocal wise on this last album and I wished that they would include Forever Falling into their setlist. But Burn It Down, as unexpected as it was, was just as amazingly fitting for his vocal range and the colour of his voice. It gave the song a bit more metal feeling, it was more rough and heavy.
Even though I was a bit gutted that we didn’t get the full band performance of Watch Over You, we cannot have just all, right? Burn It Down as great surprise was more than worth the trip. And the rest of the set was just as amazing as the beginning. The small intro leading to one of the songs of the set was just like cut out of Wembley and I swear I could see the realization in all of the guys standing around me. Even in the smile that Myles flashed to the other guys on the stage. During Metalingus Myles of course made us kneel down as always, which is the fun part that cannot be missed in their set. A bit of a singing here and there to warm us up for the bigger parts, but it was never something that the guys had to ask for. The crowd was chanting “Alter Bridge” and singing along with pretty much every song, even the new ones from the last album. Pay No Mind, Native Son, Take the Crown and Godspeed made it to the list while the last mentioned one teared up the guys a bit. Dedicating something like this to their late friend is always great way to tell how damn much someone could be missed.
Alter Bridge always makes sure that the fans know how much the band appreciates all the love that they are giving to them. And the feeling is absolutely mutual. I do not know any other fanbase that is so dedicated. Not just being fans but being a family. As the big flag of Alter Bridge Poland appeared over the crowd It was so obvious what it meant to the guys on the stage. And even though everyone would just love if the concert could go on for weeks, listening to Myles hitting notes perfectly, Mark nailing the riffs and Brian and Scott dominating the rhythm section making everything much more vibrant, the set was nearing the end. Closing up the set with Addicted to Pain it was time to thank everyone and just promise to see each other again very soon. Next year will be dedicated to festivals but there is also huge hope that as during The Last Hero tour, they will make a stop in Europe again. And I will for sure not miss it.
Text by Zuzana Tomkova
All photos by Niwy Kovacova