I am to write this review, with conviction of being a super fan, without flaunting appraisement. However, it is quite difficult from being one of the first people in the world to see this great band perform live for their very first concert on September 8th, 2004 at a very small House of Blues venue in Orlando, Fl. I’ve seen them four times in concert, met them countless times, and had the pleasure of buying them a beer and just talking. These guys are the most friendly, down to earth rockers I’ve ever met.
If you had told Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips back in 2004, that in 8 years that would be playing a headlining gig at Wembley Arena, they would think you were crazy. They would probably say that it’s a dream gig.
On November 29th, 2011, that dream came true as they rounded out their European Tour. Not only did they play at Wembley, they down right sold it out.
Daniel Catullo III returns to direct and orchestrate an epic concert for the quartet. In 2009, he filmed their first ever concert film at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. “Live From Amsterdam” was overwhelmingly successful. On it’s release date, it raised 15,000 spots on Amazon’s “Best Sellers in Music Videos and Concerts” and became #1 in eight hours, raising ahead the like Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi. This feat was done without promotion for the dvd.
“Live From Amsterdam” was a very good first effort for a concert film. All four members have been in the music industry for at least 15 years, and none of them ever had dozens of cameras filming them for a live concert film. Yet, they produced a high-energy performance, which is what you’d expect from an Alter Bridge concert. That concert, however, Myles Kennedy was sick, and vocally was not par for his 4-octave range. He sang nasally and low to try to preserve his voice (this was revealed in the documentary for “Live At Wembley”). The production of the actual concert film was excellent. All the high quality shots made this a very appealing concert film.
Whatever negative things happened in Amsterdam is non-existent for “Live At Wembley.” This is a near perfect Alter Bridge concert. The only one that tops is when I saw them at the Jannus Landing venue in St. Petersburg, FL. And I only top it because I was there. Dually note my selfishness, because I really wish I had experienced their show at Wembley.
The concert starts with the eerie vocals delivered by Myles Kennedy, with an echoing keyboard intro to “Slip To The Void”. The band kicks into over drive from there on out with the wail of Mark Tremonti’s guitar. See performance of Slip To The Void: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-Ghkqw6ViY
And you know that nasally thing I was telling you about from Amsterdam show? Forget about it, because Myles is spot on, hitting all his high notes and showing off that 4-octave range, especially on their performance of “Ghost of Days Gone By”. He holds a note that was just as long as it does on album. He shows that he the best singer in rock and roll today.
Some of the highlight performances include “All Hope Is Gone”, which is probably my favorite song off the film. Everything meshes perfectly on this one. Myles starts the song by getting the crowd to join him in some “Oohs”, and then Mark begins that clean tone pirate riff. What makes the song my favorite is just the tone of musicianship from these guys. This epic from AB III is just the perfect song for this band to perform live.
Speaking of epics, you cannot go wrong with their best and most beloved song, “Blackbird.” Every performance I’ve seen them do of Blackbird, it’s like the planets align. The band embraces the moment; the emotion of the song encompasses each band member, and delivers a song to remember to those attending the concert.
Mark Tremonti’s guitar playing is ridiculous. He performs with such intensity, and you know he’s having a good time. His solo on “Brand New Start” to me is his best solo, and he does it live just as good or better than on record. His solo in “Coeur D'Alene” is pretty amazing with improvisation to go along with it. His “Open Your Eyes” solo is almost legendary; it’s the solo that made it ok for radio stations to air the guitar solo portions of songs that disappeared in the 90’s. Boy, that solo. Blistering fast, and humbling balanced and controlled. And on this night, he improvised with a new ending. He does get carried away in a few songs where he’s shredding way too fast, specifically the dueling guitar solos between him and Myles before they play their final song. No slam against my favorite musician, but Myles kicked his ass in that solo contest. I’ve seen Mark shred and solo to perfection live, and he can do much better than how he did that night. See performance of Coeur D'Alene: http://youtu.be/8zabKw3X1L8
Scott Phillips drumming is fantastic. He’s one of the best pocket drummers in the business. He doesn’t have a specific sound. He doesn’t have the chops to be technical or to stand out. However, he plays for song, and he does well. He shines in “Metalingus”
And let’s not forget the most underrated bassist today. Brian Marshall shows off his chops in this concert and stands out. Alter Bridge is a very guitar driven band, but Brian has excellent bass lines. It’s very apparent on “One Day Remains”, but I blame this on the mixing on “Blackbird” and “AB III” and on the producer, Elvis Baskett. The one thing I don’t like about the last two albums is the mixing. It simply does not justify Alter Bridge's rhythm section. Brian’s performance on “I Know It Hurts”, “Metalingus”, and “Rise Today” are awesome. See performance of I Know It Hurts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsB0YR5gz6I&feature=relmfu
One of the magical moments of the show is when Myles grabbed an acoustic guitar and sang “Wonderful Life” and “Watch Over You” in front of 10,000 people with their cell phones lit up. It was a fantastic performance vocally by Myles. Acoustics compliment his soulful vocal style (Go and find his BoFest performances on YouTube).
The concert ends with “Open Yours Eyes” and “Rise Today”, which is fitting not because those are their two most successful songs, but because they are fueled with inspiration and adrenaline. The crowd is into it. They are singing on top of their lungs with Myles.
The concert film comes in two forms: There’s a 3 disc CD/DVD package, which comes with the audio cd, the concert dvd, and an hour long documentary called “Road To Wembley.” The other form is a 2 disc Blu-Ray/CD package that includes everything listed from the prior version.
I urge you: To those who own a blu-ray player, it would be a disservice to you not to buy the blu-ray, especially if you own those fancy LED/LCD tvs. The quality is amazingly clear and precise, with great fine detail, contrast, and solid black levels.
The documentary is a fun and informative feature about the band while they are on their European tour. Fans get to learn some things about Alter Bridge that we may not have know before. For example, Myles Kennedy gets sick. Very easily. He explains that when he gets sick, his voice loses all power and it gets the sound you heard on Amsterdam, which is why he changes the melody.
I don’t own or watch a lot of live concert films, but “Live At Wembley” is probably going to be my favorite. This is what Alter Bridge is all about. The level of musicianship that band shares with the fans is unbelievable, and was giving out so much energy. Better still, if you are still new to Alter Bridge, or heard of them and wanted to dig into their stuff, you can watch this concert film and be completely seduced by it. This was a special night for both Alter Bridge and their fans, and they show once again they are one of the best rock artists with this concert film
1. Slip To The Voidhttp://www.amazon.com/Alter-Bridge-Live-Wembley-Blu-ray/dp/B00792EGES
2. Find The Real
3. Ghosts Of Days Gone By
4. Before Tomorrow Comes
5. Come To Life
6. All Hope Is Gone
7. White Knuckles
8. Brand New Start
10. Broken Wings
11. I Know It Hurts
12. One Day Remains
13. Cour D' Alene
14. Buried Alive
16. Wonderful Life
17. Watch Over You
18. Ties That Bind
20. Open Your Eyes
21. Rise Today