I left my house on Friday morning preparing myself for the long drive on Route 33 where the speed limit is criminally low in parts. I first stopped by my cousin’s house to pick him up for the weekend festivities. We stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s because we wanted the highlight of this trip to be the concert. The drive was pretty straightforward except I did take the wrong exit one time in Columbus. I blame Google Maps because apparently “turn right” meant “turn slightly right but you’re still going more left than the far right lane that you just moved into and now it’s too late to move back into the correct lane because traffic sucks downtown.” Once I got to the venue, parking was a breeze thanks to the huge parking garage complex directly across the street from the venue (just giving Kev a heads up if he ever comes to a show there).
At first I assumed these guys were joining the list of 21st century Led Zeppelin soundalikes, but they actually had their own unique sound as the show went on that I liked. One of their band members wore those small-lense glasses that screamed “70s stoner” which was pretty fitting because I think there’s a good chance he was stoned last night. I would highly recommend this show if you like some throwback 70s rock where the band members look like different variations of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Now, my cousin is a huge classic rock fan, so he really seemed to get into these guys. Heard him playing a single of theirs on Spotify this morning in the hotel. I think they may have been his favorite band of the night but I really was too afraid to ask.
The wait between the end of Dirty Honey and the beginning of Alter Bridge felt like forever, partly because I haven’t seen AB headline/co-headline since 2011...Even though I knew Myles was sick, I didn’t care, I was super pumped for this one. I didn’t take time to write down the set because I figured it would be the same as the rest of the tour, and at the time I’m writing this you can find the set online elsewhere anyways. Myles talked to the crowd about trying to conserve his voice by not going for all the high notes. He then said he was going to pass the next song over to Mark, and as I was mentally preparing myself to hear Waters Rising...
I heard the opening notes to Burn It Down.
And I almost fainted over the balcony rail.
You’ve all heard this one by now because I’m pretty sure Jared got his video online before the song was actually finished. I think he logged into the venue WiFi and used the Time Stone for that one. All joke aside, I became lost in the moment of this performance. As Mark was singing, I thought for a second how I was that 15 year old kid wondering who that different voice was in that one part of My Own Prison. From that CD, to One Day Remains, to all the Tremonti albums, and to last night, it just felt like such a surreal moment to hear how far Mark has come as a singer after writing those ODR songs all those years ago.
I had tons of fun singing along and rocking out to the rest of the show. The Columbus crowd seemed pretty active for Alter Bridge even though I saw a lot of Skillet shirts in the crowd. I could hear the crowd singing along to the biggest choruses in Isolation, Addicted to Pain, Rise Today, Blackbird, and Open Your Eyes. I usually see AB at festivals, so it was awesome hearing a crowd respond to knowing their music so well.
I also had a pretty cool moment to end this show with during Open Your Eyes. I found this video on YouTube that catches it.
If you skip to 2:58 and watch for a few seconds, you’ll see Myles point up to someone in the balcony singing along to the bridge in Open Your Eyes. That was me.
Last night marked my 8th time seeing Skillet. This was the smallest crowd I’ve seen them play in front of, but it was just as energetic of a show as they’ve always put on. Their show had about 5-6 crowd surfers including one woman in a wheelchair that had light-up wheels in green LEDs. A mosh pit also started during their last song, The Resistance. As always, the band was full of energy and put on an incredible show. I thought the new songs from Victorious went over very well (I LOVED the title track). John also attaches smoke cannons to his arms now for You Ain’t Ready which got some good laughs from the section I was in.
I think my favorite Skillet show ever will be when I saw them on New Year’s Eve in 2009, but this show was definitely in the top 3 of the 8 times I’ve seen them over the past decade.
I’ll keep this short and sweet. I had a wonderful time last night. Seeing my two favorite bands play on the same tour was a surreal experience. The surprises with Mark just made the night even more special. Glad I was able to be at a show that’ll always be a bit special in the Alter Bridge community.