Alter Bridge Bring Their Pawns & Kings Tour To The Hard Rock Live Orlando With Special Guest Mammoth WVH
Orlando, FL(January, 27th)
It’s Friday night in Orlando and if you were wondering where everyone was, It seemed like the entire town had piled into the Hard Rock Live. Tonight, Alter Bridge was in town, and EVERYONE wanted to see hometown guitar hero Mark Tremonti and his fellow band mates. Not only is the band based in town, but with their latest hit album Pawns And Kings fresh off the presses this made tonight’s show beyond a must see event. If anyone needed any extra coaxing, the opening act would be none other than Mammoth WVH. Yes, Wolfgang Van Halen and his talent ladened group would make this one of the most potent concerts to come through these parts in a long while.
If there is one new band on the scene that has proven they can throw down and look like they are having the time of their lives it’s Mammoth WVH. When the stage lights came up, the band was bathed in rich blue lighting and a sea of swirling spotlights. With Drummer Garret Whitlock pounding out some thunderous beats, and guitarists Jon Jourdan, Frank Sidoris, bassist Ronnie Ficarro, jamming away, guitarist and lead singer Wolfgang Van Halen joined in on the extended intro. He walked up to the mic and yelled “Orlando!! Let’s have some fun!!”. The band immediately launched into “Mammoth.” The band was clearly fired up and feeding off the energy in the crowd.
With barely a second to waste Van Halen lit up the fretboard of his guitar with harmonics and two had tapping that would make his dad proud as the band played a great version of the upbeat “Mr. Big”. Right hand man Jon Jourdan provided some great harmonies throughout the song. Van Halen took a second to thank everyone for showing up and that he feels like Orlando is almost a second home as he is there so much. The next song “Epiphany” found Van Halen behind the keyboards where he was doing double duty playing them as well as his guitar.
The concert was full of great performances so far. Then they pulled out the emotion when Van Halen said that the next song was his father’s favorite. The pride and emotion that knowing his father felt that way just radiated into his performance of “Think It Over”. Of course their arguably biggest hit was really tugging at the audiences heartstrings. Yes, his heartfelt performance of ”Distance” had everyone singing along as well as holding their cell phone lights up high. They ended their performance on a high note with a rollicking high energy version of “Don’t Back Down” and indeed they never backed down for a second as they gave it their all.
As the changeover was happening, the capacity crowd was catching their breath. With what was coming up it would definitely be needed. Finally the moment everyone had been waiting for was upon us. The stage lights dimmed, and the intro music was pumped through the PA. As the lights came up singer and guitarist Myles Kennedy, guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips made their way on stage. Without hesitation they launched into “Silver Tongue” from their latest album Pawns & Kings. This was a great choice to kick things off with. As the song is one of the new singles, it has a great edge to it and combined with the driving guitar work by Mark Tremonti absolutely pumped up the energy level of the Hard Rock Live. They kept the gas pedal full to the floor when they ripped into “Addicted To The Pain”. Of course Tremonti’s guitar work throughout the song was fiery as ever and Myles Kennedy was sounding phenomenal.
Breathlessly they leapt right into “Ghosts Of Days Gone By”. While it might have not had the driving tempo of the two previous songs, its clearly a massive fan favorite and it was well placed in the set to get the audience involved as they were singing along throughout the song. The band kept up with the vibe by playing “Before Tomorrow Comes”. Throughout the song Kennedy would encourage the fans to sing saying things like “I can’t hear you Orlando”. Which had the desired effect of having every voice in the audience join in. At the end of the song Kennedy said “You are a rowdy bunch” which had everyone cheer.
Up to this point the show had been going flawlessly. The band was tight, and everyone was sounding great. The energy level was through the roof, and everyone was having the time of their lives. As they were getting ready to launch into the next song things got quiet on stage for a bit too long and the guitar tech’s seemed to be doing double time on stage getting Myles Kennedy’s gear in order. While they were trying to get everything working Mark Tremonti was noodling on his guitar, but that quickly built into an impromptu jam session with him and drummer Scott Phillips entertaining the audience with them just going for it and showing everyone just how talented they truly are. Finally Myles Kennedy came out with an acoustic guitar and said to the audience “Have you ever seen Spinal Tap? Sometimes the real thing is more embarrassing than fiction. But that’s part of the joy of live rock n’ roll”. With just Myles on stage, he played a beautiful rendition of “Watch Over You”. During the song the audience had their phone lights held up high creating a nice effect that even Myles said he liked.
Myles grabbed his electric guitar and said “fingers crossed lets see if this works” As he started to play the intro riff to “Cry Of Achilles” it came through his amp perfectly and everyone including his band mates cheered. The crew definitely got things straightened out. As Kennedy and Tremonti dueled it out with their guitars throughout the song everything sounded flawless. In a bit of a change up, Tremonti took over on vocals for “Stay” another new song from Pawns & Kings. For those that haven’t heard any of his solo work, or his Tremonti Sings Sinatra album which he did for charity, the guy really can sing. When Kennedy would join Tremonti on the vocals it really was a great moment in the show.
The show would continue on chock full of memorable gems. They played a hauntingly beautiful version of “Blackbird” that had everyone singing along. As Kennedy was introducing each member of the band Starting with drummer Scott Phillips, each member started playing. When they were all introduced, each part they were playing was the introduction of “Metalingus” which was another huge fan favorite. They closed out the night with even more fan favorites “Rise Today”, and “Open Your Eyes”. Of course with those two songs once again everyone in the venue was singing along. Even Myles Kennedy commented that everyone sounded beautiful.
This was definitely a concert for the ages. Both bands clearly brought their “A” game. You couldn’t help but be entertained by the youthful exuberance, talent, and well-crafted songs that Mammoth WVH bring to the stage. Then there is the incredible catalog of songs and immense talent that Alter Bridge has. Of course, when a band can even make the technical difficulties entertaining, it just adds to the fun and makes the night that much more memorable. So when you combine both bands on the same bill it’s no wonder that this tour is selling out everywhere it stops. Do whatever you can to snap up a ticket for this one, it really is that good of a show.
Hard Rock Live Orlando: