al­ter bridge

Metal Hammer (UK) - - News -

royal al­bert hall, LO NDON

If you’re go­ing

to put on an or­ches­tral show, do it in style. And the Al­bert Hall is the per­fect venue. As soon as his band step on­stage to be greeted by 5,000 ar­dent fans, Al­ter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy looks awestruck. “This is such a spe­cial place,” he says at one point dur­ing their two-hour set.

The clas­si­cal-rock mash-up of­ten looks bet­ter on paper than it is in re­al­ity, and count­less bands have used orches­tras as lit­tle more than sea­son­ing rather than prop­erly in­cor­po­rat­ing them into their sound. Al­ter Bridge and the Par­al­lax Orches­tra’s Si­mon Dob­son and Will Har­vey en­sure that these two op­pos­ing el­e­ments are fully in­te­grated. AB sta­ples such as Ad­dicted To Pain and Fortress are given ex­tra depth and grav­ity by the 52 ad­di­tional mu­si­cians on­board tonight, and they dig out In Loving Mem­ory for the first time since 2008.

It’s not with­out its quirks. The venue’s rules in­sist on a 25-minute in­ter­val af­ter just 40 min­utes, which Myles apolo­get­i­cally an­nounces. It in­ter­rupts the mo­men­tum, though it will take more than a posh toi­let break to kill the at­mos­phere. The sec­ond half sees them play Words Darker Than Their Wings for the very first time, while Myles and Mark trade lines. The gui­tarist steps up to the mi­cro­phone for Wa­ters Ris­ing (com­plete with sly ref­er­ences to Mark’s beloved Celtic Frost in the line ‘Cir­cle of tyrants’), and the epic Black­bird takes wing and doesn’t touch down un­til eight min­utes later.

In­evitably, the stripped-down songs are the most nakedly mov­ing, though it’s to Si­mon Dob­son’s credit that the or­ches­tra­tion en­hances rather than swamps the acous­tic med­ley of Won­der­ful Life and Watch Over You. It’s even more ef­fec­tive when both band and orches­tra pull out all the stops, as on the cli­mac­tic Open Your Eyes. “Thank you, this has been an amaz­ing night,” says the typ­i­cally self­ef­fac­ing Myles Kennedy when it’s fin­ished.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to ar­gue with him.

Nerves for­got­ten, Myles trans­ports us to an­other world

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