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ALTER BRIDGE/Black Stone Cherry/Theory Of A Deadman
Wembley Arena, 29 November 2011

A three band bill and judging by the packed crowd a strong line-up, with a healthy turn out for Theory Of A Deadman who were onstage at the early time of 6:45pm.

Now this band have until their recent album failed to impress me much being too much in the mould of fellow Canadian's Nickelback. However, their latest album is a corker and they played a set heavily favoured to the album including 'Lowlife', one of the better songs to come out in this year and the charmingly titles 'Bitch Came Back'.

They had half an hour so it seemed a bit wasteful to include a cover of 'Cocaine' and a snippet of Guns 'N' Roses 'Paradise City'. Sound issues plagued them early on with a Lemmy approved bass feedback that shook the seats! That is the only downside to Wembley Arena the sound is never as atmospheric as the Apollo sized venues of this world. A good, solid opener and they warmed the crowd up nicely.

Black Stone Cherry have released three fine albums and this was my first chance to see them live after good reports of their live show. I have to say they were the band of the night as the set flowed well and in vocalist/guitarist Chris Robertson they have someone who can work an audience despite hardly moving around the stage. The energetic side of things he left to bassist John Lawhon and guitarist Ben Wells, who spent the whole night bouncing all over the stage!

'Change' started the set of nicely and saw a mini-moshpit develop which carried on right through the night. 'In My Blood' and 'Things My Father Said' were performed with real emotion from the band, both having a rapturous reception from the crowd. The single 'White Trash Millionaire' was a bit of fun and they even had a blues workout with a bit of Muddy Waters' 'Hoochie Coochie Man'. 'Lonely Train' closed their all too brief 45 minute set.

Black Stone Cherry have so much talent and good songs yet they are only in their 20's, you can't but admire them and think what they will be coming up with in the years to come. Good news is they are back for their own headlining tour in the UK next March.

Alter Bridge were filming tonight's show for a future DVD release (due next March I believe) so it was fitting the crowd were on fine form vocally.

From the opening strains of 'Slip To The Void' the band had the crowd up and joining in. Myles Kennedy I last saw in the summer at High Voltage with Slash and he seems to take the arena sized venues in his stride, although he did say this was what he had always dreamed of being able to say 'Hello Wembley' at a concert.

Great to hear 'When Tomorrow Comes' one of their finest songs for me and a moving 'Broken Wings' off their first album.

Guitarist Mark Tremanti is a perfect foil for Myles Kennedy as both trade solos off each other including a duel in the encore which I would say Myles Kennedy won tonight on points!

Live you realise how much of a metal band Alter Bridge really are albeit with the odd slower number to give the audience a breather. Encore time 'Open Your Eyes' and 'Rise Today' rounded off a noisy and enjoyable set.

Interestingly, Myles Kennedy seemed much more at ease when freed of his guitar duties (at one stage they have the band's guitar tech on guitar), like he is when fronting Slash's band. He is undoubtedly a talented guitarist but the show really moved up a notch when he can concentrate on singing and interacting with the audience.

A fine night of rock and metal music and with three bands who all put on a good show you can't complain.

Alter Bridge set list:

Slip to the Void/ Find the Real/ Ghost of Days Gone By/ Before Tomorrow Comes/ Come to Life/ All Hope Is Gone/ White Knuckles/ Brand New Start/ Metalingus/ Broken Wings/ I Know It Hurts/ One Day Remains/ Coeur D'Alene/
Buried Alive/ Blackbird/ Wonderful Life/ Watch Over You/ Ties That Bind/ Isolation/ Encore: Open Your Eyes/ (Duelling guitar solos) Rise Today

Review by Jason Ritchie

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