I wanted to post this over the weekend, but my previously mentioned ISP problems made doing so impossible. Anyway, last Saturday I got to check off a major goal in my concert going career. I saw Alice in Chains open for Velvet Revolver at the Ford Amphitheater in Tampa. Granted, Velvet Revolver was the headliner and they put on an absolutely great show, but I have wanted to see Alice in Chains in concert since I became a fan in the mid-1990s.
A few notes:
- When I bought the ticket, the guy at the ticket place told me new lead singer William Duvall sang just like late frontman Layne Staley. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical, but Duvall nailed it. Very impressive.
- The set list was nothing new, which also kinda surprised me. I thought perhaps they would slide a new tune in or perhaps a song from one of guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s albums. Instead I got a heaping helping of classic Alice in Chains. And there is nothing wrong with that.
- Most of the songs came off of Dirt and the self-titled album, except “No Excuses” from the Jar of Flies album and “We Die Young” and “Man in the Box” from their first album, Facelift.
- As I watched the show, I started thinking, what is Alice in Chains’ most famous song? “Would?” was probably their first major hit, and “Rooster” is definitely up there, but I would almost have to go with “Man in the Box”. It gets plenty of radio play still, and has been used in a bunch of movies and at sporting events. Opinions welcome in the comments, of course.
- Speaking of “Rooster”, the band closed by playing the song while showing an awesome montage of war footage that spliced scenes of troops in Vietnam with scenes from the current conflict in Iraq. Flashing throughout the footage were pictures of Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and President Bush. While definitely not at the level of a U2 Bono statement, AIC’s video did a good job of putting geopolitics aside and showing the traumas, stresses, and similarities of two wars generations apart.
A few notes about Velvet Revolver:
- I’ve never seen Slash perform live before and I was blown away. His guitar playing skills were better than I thought.
- Unlike Alice in Chains, Velvet Revolver mixed some other material into their set, playing songs from their members’ former bands, Stone Temple Pilots and Guns’N’Roses. Of course, these songs drove everyone in the crowd wild.
- I was really surprised they played the Guns’N’Roses tune “Mr. Brownstone”, however. If memory serves me correct, the Virginia Tech killer wrote an essay with the same name and quoted the song quite extensively. Here it is. I thought maybe the band would have retired the song in tribute to the victims.
Overall, I would give this show a solid “A”. The 60 dollar ticket and the fact that the ushers did not let people take pictures (supposedly at the artists’ request) was the only reason it doesn’t get an “A+”. Highly recommended.
(Picture acquired from the Velvet Revolver web site.)