Philadelphia 9/25/19 @ the Met with Skillet

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abw1987
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Philadelphia 9/25/19 @ the Met with Skillet

Postby abw1987 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:53 pm

Post your reviews here!

Just got home from this show and it's way past my boring adult bedtime so I'll have to share my thoughts tomorrow.

TheEndisHere
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Re: Philadelphia 9/25/19 @ the Met with Skillet

Postby TheEndisHere » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:10 am

My review:
Dirty Honey: I was impressed with Dirty Honey. They put on a good show without all the flash and production. The guitarist has some skill and the singer has a great voice. I can definitely see this band going places. I definitely enjoy them more then a similar band (*cough* Greta Van Fleet* cough*). My only disappointment is that they don't play "Fire Away" (my favorite song from them) even though it was 1 of their 3 singles up to this point. Highlight was definitely "Down the Road" and "When I'm gone" for me.
Skillet: They had lots of energy and John Cooper is a maniac on stage. They work a crowd well (though I could do with out the whole "Jesus Christ is my hero" speech). That said several people around me, including my coworker who is a music teacher with good ears, noticed that there was definitely a backing track for vocals and a distinct lack of bass. Guys next to me kept mockingly calling John Cooper to do a bass solo. I felt like he was just slapping randomly on bass and I still couldn't distinguish it from the other instruments. Jen Ledger is great though. I love her voice and she can play. I'd love to see her do collaboration with Myles on "Watch Over You" but knew it wouldn't happen. Skillet's music isn't nearly as intricate or complex so that can bounce around stage more.
AB: Myles was still sick but a warrior. Mark and Myles are freaking guitar gods. As much as I've seen live videos or listen to the record, seeing and hearing Mark and Myles shred in realtime is otherworldly. All the solos from both guys are so amazing and the reason to see live music. It's one thing to hear it on a record but to watch these guys play blows the other bands out of the water in terms of pure musical ability. Yes, they may not be bouncing all over the stage but damn if watching them play instruments isn't memorizing. This was my first time hearing and seeing Cry of Achilles (BMarsh FTW) , Waters Rising, and Blackbird live. Myles was so sick he really relied on the crowd for the chorus of Blackbird, Metallingus (woot Flip on this one), Cry of Achilles and Open Your Eyes. The crowd was great and Myles did a great job of getting the crowd to sing. Some of the songs were a little hard to hear the crowd, except Blackbird. Hearing the whole crowd on the chorus of Blackbird was amazing. I felt a little bad for the rest of the group because this was their first AB show and they didn't really know the lyrics. I was belting it and so was the crowd but it may not have been the best first impression though everyone did say let's see them again when they come back around and were impressed by the guys musical ability. Hopefully they do another show in Philly when they come back to the states when Myles is feeling better.

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abw1987
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Re: Philadelphia 9/25/19 @ the Met with Skillet

Postby abw1987 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:45 pm

Thanks for sharing! Ditto pretty much everything you said.

Apologies in advance for the lack of cohesion here. I think this will be more of a brain dump than a well-written article. :shrug

Venue

This was my first time at the Met. Getting in was hassle-free and the crowd was very civilized. My wife and I showed up shortly after doors and went right for the merch line. I was lucky to nab the last limited edition Pennsylvania t-shirt in my size! Usually I'd be in the pit for a show like this but my wife is 8 months pregnant so we bought seats right behind GA, which actually worked out really well. I cannot overstate how nice it was to sit down between sets. :lol The venue is gorgeous inside! A big stage, a GA area in front with seats behind, a box level above, and a mezzanine above that. We met a guy sitting in front of us who said he had been to around 20 AB shows, although he disappeared during Dirty Honey and never came back. Still, nice to meet another hardcore fan!

Dirty Honey

I was excited to see Dirty Honey, having heard their single on WMMR and listened to their EP a few times already. I was very impressed! Marc has a rare voice, with a rasp rivaling Axl in his prime, and the rest of them can really play their instruments. They're just a solid, no-frills rock n' roll band. That said, I found it difficult to get too excited during their set. Maybe it was the dialed-down production during their opening slot, or their lack of beefy powerchords. Or maybe just that they aren't really doing anything new beyond rehashing the sounds of bygone eras. To be honest they almost feel like a band thrown together by a record label trying to capitalize on the nostalgia trend, who found these four capable musicians, gave them a really slick logo, put them in the studio to record a handful of songs for radio, and sent them out on tour. That said, I do really like their sound, and I'll continue following them because they seem like a talented group of guys represending a genre highly neglected by today's popular media.

Skillet

This was also my first time seeing Skillet, and man do they have a ton of energy. I wasn't really sure what to expect because I never quite cared for John's voice, and their music just never really resonated with me. I was pleasantly surprised – they put on a great show. John in particular is pretty wild on stage – almost gratuitously so, to the point where one wonders if he's trying to damage his brain. Headbanging aside, the guy can really command an audience. It almost left me wishing Alter Bridge could step up their game in this department... if perhaps just dialed back a bit. John was also really pumped about the "Victorious Sky" name. I swear between every other song he was shouting out "Victorious Sky" as if trying to launch a brand. And I will admit it was almost shocking to hear him specifically praise Jesus on stage, although I certainly wasn't offended. Is it sad that professing one's faith is so rare these days?

Their stage production is also something to behold, with all of the screens, cryo jets, etc. Some of it borders on gimmicky, like when John was shooting the crowd with cryo guns, and the riser platforms in the back. But it seems like they have fun with it, and it does create more of a spectacle.

The band was really tight and the songs themselves were engaging. I definitely plan on making a playlist out of the set list and listening to it to see how the album versions compare. I did hear the occasional vocal backing track being used during their set, but I get that some bands feel this helps with layering, or just filling in gaps while bouncing around. Otherwise, the overwhelming majority of the music sounded live. I also liked that they seemed to be more family-friendly act. There were quite a few parents with little kids in the audience who were genuinely excited for the show. There was one particularly cute moment when Jen came down from the drums during one song to sing from the front of the stage, and pointed out this one little girl on her dad's shoulders.

Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge, of course, did not disappoint. As others have mentioned, Myles was sick and had almost no voice. That might bother some people, but I thought it just created more of a unique experience. A concert is not just about the band's performance – it's a communal event with the audience. So when Myles is sick and has to frequently turn the vocals over to the audience, it only encourages more participation. They played 13 songs, which I actually found to be a nice length – just enough to not feel shortchanged. Of course I'd love to hear twice as many, but 13 songs made for a really concise set.

After the lights went down, "One Life" played over the PA, and the band immediately went into "Wouldn't You Rather." The crowd didn't seem too familiar with the new song, perhaps because WMMR hasn't really played it, but the band delivered it with enthusiasm. This went right into "Isolation", which got a much more raucous response. Echoing their show at the listening party in Orlando, they pulled "Buried Alive" out of the vault – I was fired up to hear this one again!

After that we heard "Pay No Mind" – another unfamiliar track for the audience, but they seemed to like it. I'm still unconvinced by the inclusion of the synth/keyboard in the live version of this. Maybe it's just how prominently it's featured in the mix, or maybe they've just chosen a really cheap-sounding tone, but it sticks out like a sore thumb. Later I was delighted when they played "Take the Crown", which I wasn't sure they would include. The only new track they didn't play is "In the Deep" – a bit of a bummer as that's my favorite of the four prerelease tracks. Luckily I got to hear that one in Orlando last week.

The highlight for me was "Blackbird". At this point, I've heard "Blackbird" so many times live it's almost routine. But because of how sick Myles was, he turned all of the choruses over to the audience, and I was amazed at how loudly the crowd sang along. Even though "Blackbird" is one of their more well-known songs, I never would have thought so many people would know it since it was never a single. "Metalingus" and "Open Your Eyes" saw similar levels of participation. By the end of the set, you could really feel the AB vibes in the air.

Regarding the production, it definitely was a step up over tours past, although it's tough for them to follow Skillet in this regard. It seems like they are just using a subset of Skillet's setup, which is totally fine, but makes it tougher to stand out. The main feature was the series of vertical screens arranged in an arch shape behind the band. Unfortunately, it seemed like a lot of the visuals were not optimized for the screen layout. For instance: at the beginning, the Alter Bridge logo was displayed across the screens, but the staggered layout meant the logo was broken up into different heights rather than appearing to be continuous. There was some cool stuff, though; in particular, I liked the red waves swelling behind the band during "Waters Rising" and the old-school TVs during "Addicted to Pain". Between the tops of the screens there were also some lasers which fired up from time to time, adding some flare to the visuals. Regardless, I'm probably like most AB fans in that I'm less concerned with the production than with the music.

Overall, it was a great time and so heartwarming to hear everyone support Myles by singing along. I was delighted to have seen the guys back in my home city again. Here's to hoping they come around soon for a regular headlining tour!

Setlist:
Wouldn't You Rather
Isolation
Buried Alive
Pay No Mind
Rise Today
Ghost of Days Gone By
Waters Rising
Take the Crown
Addicted to Pain
Cry of Achilles
Blackbird
Metalingus
Open Your Eyes

TheEndisHere
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Re: Philadelphia 9/25/19 @ the Met with Skillet

Postby TheEndisHere » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:11 pm

The venue was beautiful but Merch table was horribly placed and too busy so I never got anything. I was in the pit about 5 rows of people back from the stage in the middle.
I wouldn't put too much stock in the crowd not knowing songs because of the lack of radio play. WMMR never plays AB (at least I've never heard AB or seen them on a recently played list but they do play SMKC) so if someone is AB fan in Philly it's not b/c WMMR. I at least hope they will be in 2020's MMRBQ lineup but then they would be shafted into an early slot.
I missed "In the Deep" too b/c I feel it has the best vocals of the songs so far (in the verses that is), but given Myles voice last night I can understand why.
The waves during Waters Rising were awesome.
Blackbird was amazing due to crowd participation, I posted my video on the fan facebook pages.

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abw1987
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Re: Philadelphia 9/25/19 @ the Met with Skillet

Postby abw1987 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:21 am

Agreed, the merch table was tough to access, and the direction of the line meant you couldn't really browse the selection until you got right to the front of the line, making you feel rushed once it was your turn.

Also agreed that the majority of the audience is probably there because they've discovered Alter Bridge organically, rather than having just heard them on the radio. I do recall WMMR played the crap out of "Rise Today" and "Isolation" back in the day. I think they may have played "Addicted to Pain" as well, but I haven't heard anything since. Nowadays if you request Alter Bridge, they'll almost certainly play "Rise Today" or "Isolation" (if they even play them at all). I really wonder why that is. Maybe AB's newer music is just a bit too heavy-handed, or they feel like they get enough Myles Kennedy through their Slash obsession.


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