–by Keith Brake
So you say you want a high energy high quality rock and roll show? Well, if you did not get your tickets to 105.7 “The Point’s” Ho Ho show featuring Alter Bridge with support from All That Remains, and Sons Of Texas, you sure missed out! The Pageant was the location of the STL stop for “The Last Hero” tour and it turned out to be an evening to remember.
The night started off with a very pleasant surprise in the form of a powerful performance by Sons Of Texas. The crowd was split between those who were familiar with this group Vs. those who were not, myself being included in the later. However, make no mistake, I know who they are now. Front man Mark Morales exudes power and charisma as he takes ownership of the stage and the crowd. Flanking Morales’ full frontal display of power is lead guitarist Jes De Hoyos, These two combined with a rock solid rhythm section make for a sensational rock/metal sound that you just have to have more of. The group took a moment to remember a fallen hero of the music world during their set. Dec. 8 marked the anniversary of the tragic death of Dimebag Darrell (guitarist/Pantera) who was also a Texas metal rocker. Morales and the rest of the Texas rockers belted out a more than fantastic cover of Pantera’s “Broken” in homage to Dimebag, this performance was so powerful that it seemed that Morales was channeling Phil Anselmo (vocals/Pantera) himself. Already this evening had delivered big time, and that was just the opener.
Next to take the stage was All That Remains. Hailing from Massachusetts these guys know how to bring the noise and the power. Vocalist Phil Labonte is the visual definition of power and energy as he moves around the stage with a swiftness unmatched by many. Phil delivers in the vocal realm as well, his range and versatility allow the group to have many different feels and moods to their music. After the opening performance that had taken place I knew the Massachusetts boys would be just the group to keep the fire burning. Labonte engages the crowd and feeds off of their energy. At one point he made sure to high five a fan of the up and coming metal generation and, of course, made the young fan’s day. The group showed their diversity by performing their, as they labeled it, “80s power ballad”, What If I was Nothing and garnered immediate response from the large crowd as they sang along with performance. They also threw in a cover that has been making its way across the airwaves. “The Thunder Rolls” (Garth Brooks) is not necessarily the kind of song that you may expect to hear a band like this cover, but they do it Justice and were rewarded by the crowd in the form of a sing along session during the chorus.
Alter Bridge stepped onto The Pageant stage right on time to perform for a highly anticipatory Saint Louis crowd and were greeted with raucous applause. Since forming in 2004 this powerhouse group of rockers have been producing some of the, in my humble opinion, best straight forward rock music in the industry. Myles Kennedy fronts this band with one of the most unique and powerful voices in all of music. Because of Myles’ vocal prowess some people forget or even overlook his guitar wielding skills, he can play a guitar, and very well. When you pair Kennedy with guitar slinger Mark Tremonti, also a great vocalist, you get a one two punch that cannot be denied. The rhythm section is comprised of bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips and they hold this machine in time flawlessly.
Kennedy told the packed house that STL is one of the groups favorite places to perform and based upon the performance they gave this night, I do not believe it was lip service. These guys are full throttle every time they take the stage and when they are finished, your only disappointment is that they do not have more time to play. Alter Bridge is a rare breed of band that seems to sound more amazing live than on the recording, perhaps it’s their energy as a whole or perhaps it stems from hearing Kennedy’s voice without the constricts of the studio. Myles treated an appreciative STL crowd to a couple of intimate acoustic tunes before rounding out their set at full throttle.
The lucky fans in the front of the pit got a barrage of guitar pics and such to take home as souvenirs and memories. Kennedy took a moment to point out the same young fan that Labonte had given the high five to saying “This is so cool…that’s the next generation right there”
Even looking at the evening with the most critical eye, you would be hard pressed to find any shortcomings, but if you forced me to find a reason to complain, my complaint would be that Madison Wisconsin is too far for me to drive to see them again on Saturday. If you have never watched any of these groups live do yourself a favor and fix that ASAP. For information concerning Alter Bridge or The Last Hero tour visit www.alterbridge.com . Be sure and check out the gallery after the set list.
Alter Bridge Set:
The Writing on the wall
Come to Life
Addicted to pain
Ghosts of Days Gone By
Cry of Achilles
Shed My Skin
Ties That Bind
Crows on A Wire
Watch Over You (Myles solo Acoustic)
In Loving Memory (Myles & Mark Acoustic duo)
Open Your Eyes
Show Me A leader
Mark & Myles Dueling Guitars