We had pit tickets so we immediately made our way to the front. Mark definitely saw us walking in and shot us a grin, as I was probably one of the only people there in an AB shirt and I'm sure he will forever remember my wife as the "sausage lady" (for those who get the reference).
This has to be one of the funniest AB shows I've been to. Aside from a few folks in the pit, basically no one cared about Alter Bridge. The guys seemed to have accepted that fact and were just up there having a good time. They were all goofing around with each other, smiling all over the place, Mark was squealing his guitar to an almost gratuitous level, and the whole thing just felt very casual. It all seems very low-pressure for them -- they only have to play 35 minutes, they are playing their staple songs which they are very comfortable playing now, I'm sure they're getting a decent-enough paycheck given the size of the tour, and it's a chance for them to win over 10k+ American fans every night.
They ended up playing 7 songs as opposed to the usual six:
- Come to Life
- Farther Than the Sun
- Ties That Bind
- Addicted to Pain
- Rise Today
Obviously they dropped the longer songs like "Blackbird" and "Cry of Achilles" so they could play 7 instead of 6. I think that's a good thing because these crowds don't have the patience or attention span for tracks like that. Everyone's been tailgating all day, and they're just there to party and rock out. AB had might as well try to win them over with the simpler, more rockin' songs. I didn't realize how many people would be there, so this tour is a great exposure opportunity for the guys.
Anyway the band sounded great of course. Myles's voice is in top form (and I totally forgot to listen out for any strange pronunciation). The only potential mistake I noticed is that they played "Rise Today" really slow. You could tell Mark was struggling to "keep down" with the slow tempo. I'll have to check videos of previous shows to see if they've been doing this all tour, but I suspect Flip might've set it click track at the wrong tempo or something.
All-in-all it was a great show. I felt like it was totally worth driving 5+hrs round trip to see them, even if only for 35 minutes, just to be there and support them. I felt like I was playing that "stronger than all" YouTube challenge because I had my arm in the air the entire time. I was wearing my Blackbird shirt, and I know for sure both Mark and Myles noticed me and my wife in the pit supporting them.
After that we just got some beer and casually enjoyed the rest of the concert. Breaking Benjamin were really good. Ben struggled a little bit vocally, but his band is really tight and they played basically all of their biggest hits. Ben is a really strong frontman -- very charismatic and able to run the crowd.
Disturbed were great too. David has a totally different take on showmanship, the way he just slowly walks around stage singing. His vocals actually surpassed my expectations because he's sometimes slightly off-pitch on their albums, but live he sounded great. Their stage setup was cool -- really minimalistic (like where are their amps?) and lots of pyro. They also do this really cool thing during "The Light" where whenever he sings those words, the audience turns on their cellphone flashlights. (Check out my video here, taken from the edge of the audience as we were trying to beat the traffic at the end of the show.)
And there's my unintentionally long write-up. Here are some pics:
The whole band:
Cropped for your convenience:
Cropped again for your convenience:
Huge crowd - apparently it was sold out:
The crowd after sunset:
Video of the aforementioned crowd participation during "The Light" - pretty neat: