You know those moments when you realize you underestimated the situation? Those times when it clicks a little too late that you may not have taken all the factors into account. Recently, I had the pleasure of a moment just like that – arriving to see Alter Bridge on “The Last Hero Tour,” supported by Nonpoint, at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD on February 10, 2017. As I exited the parking garage, with the venue just a block away, my eyes fell upon a line which stretched all the way down and around the corner…5 minutes after the venue doors had been scheduled to open. Taking my place at the rear of the crowd, myself and others joked that we wouldn’t all be able to get in and would be turned away when we finally arrived to the door. We inched forward in spurts, others still filing into line behind us, keeping the queue wrapped well to the opposite side of the block from the venue entrance. I found out then that there was a band, Weapons Of Anew, scheduled to start playing at 7:20. Halfway around the block and it was already 7:25. By the time I made my way inside the concert hall it was about 7:50, with the first band finishing up their set and packing their equipment. I’m not sure any photographer arrived in time to shoot that first set. Needless to say, if the show wasn’t sold out it certainly felt like it!
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I’m a pretty recent Nonpoint listener. I had heard of them for several years, but never gave them a listen until guitarist B.C. Kochmit joined the fold. I followed his work with another fine band, Eye Empire, and knew his addition to this act would be something to witness. If you’ve heard their latest album, The Poison Red, you know I’m not mistaken. He brings talent to an already bustling band, infusing his sense of groove with their own. The result is amazing! While I wasn’t familiar with all the songs performed that evening, a few caught my ear. Perhaps what astounded the audience most, outside of the band’s extremely energetic stage presence, was their rendition of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” Unexpected, to say the least. The other thing that caught my attention was the consideration each of the members gave to their fans. Towards the very beginning of their set, bassist Adam Woloszyn noticed two small children in the front row (right behind where I had planted myself to begin photographing) and handed them both a guitar pick, followed in turn by Kochmit, and a drumstick apiece from Robb Rivera. The look of enthusiasm in those children’s eyes and the pleasure it brought to the band set the stage for the rest of their awesome set.
I used to get made fun of by my friends because, while I didn’t find the entire catalog to be of interest, Creed had certain songs that really hit me. I found that it was more the rhythm section that captured my interest than anything else. So years ago, when I discovered that same rhythm section had gone on to form Alter Bridge, I was ecstatic to check them out. Five albums later, I’d certainly glad I did. This was my first time seeing the ensemble in concert, but boy, did they deliver!
Drawing on from the full power of their catalog, they reached all the way back to One Day Remains; then spent a good bit of time on Blackbird, including the lengthy title track; hit my favorite from AB III, “Ghost Of Days Gone By”; and made deserved stops on Fortress, answering the written request to play “Cry Of Achilles.” Of course, given the nature of the tour, they wowed us with tracks from The Last Hero, opening their set with “The Writing Is On The Wall” and making room for “Show Me A Leader” during the encore. What astounded me most though, was the guitar duel between Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti, as I hadn’t witnessed a full-on solo battle live for years. I know I wasn’t the only one stunned by the ferocity of the playing, and everyone left that night feeling quite sated.
Don’t miss your opportunity to see either of these fine groups tear up a stage near you.