It’s been a long wait for Alter Bridge fans in The 6ix as it’s been over twelve years since their last headline gig here in Toronto. The now shut down Guvernment venue was the last stage to host Alter Bridge during their debut album tour in October of 2004. Now touring for their fifth album, The Last Hero, the four-piece from Orlando, Florida were received with open arms on Wednesday night at Toronto’s latest venue, REBEL nightclub.
The impressive 105-minute set opened with the brand new “The Writing on the Wall” off of The Last Hero, but featured an eclectic mix of all five AB albums. Early set highlights included favourites like “Before Tomorrow Comes” and “Ties That Bind” which included many slick and quick guitar riffs, pounding drums, signature piercing vocals, and of course some proverbial metal poses such as the one foot propped on the amp.
Alter Bridge sports an impressive line up fronted by the baby-faced vocalist, Myles Kennedy and acclaimed lead guitarist, Mark Tremonti, who has been championing the hard rock game since his early days in Creed (like them or not). Midway through the main set, Tremonti got to show off his impressive chops (and signature scowl) as he performed “Water Rising,” making it seem very unfair that one man could have so many talents. This was followed by awe-inspiring solo performance of “Watch Over You” by Kennedy, who’s echo penetrated every corner of the venue.
However the climax of the set came during Alter Bridge’s magnum opus “Blackbird” from their sophomore album of the same name. A song that boasts an epic chorus anthem and masterful guitar solos, but also wins with the substance of powerful lyrics and emotion undertones. A song that will truly send shivers down your spine.
It was pleasing to hear Alter Bridge’s first ever single “Open Your Eyes” from their debut album, One Day Remains, still receive one of the biggest pops amongst their fans as it closed out the main set. The band returned for an encore which included their first single from The Last Hero, “Show Me a Leader,” a song that is more relevant given today’s political atmosphere than ever. And it was no coincidence that this was followed by “Rise Today” as the finale of the show.
It was evident that both Toronto and Alter Bridge had missed each other over their extensive break. Both Kennedy and Tremonti made it vocal how much they were feeling the love from the fans on Wednesday night. Kennedy asked, “If we come back, will you come back?” To which he received a resounding cheer – just hopefully he doesn’t mean a decade from now.