Just when our fair nation needed a shot in the arm, Alter Bridge have announced seven UK arena dates in November and December, a most welcome return for the band who gave post-millennial rock back its mojo.
Twelve years have passed since Mark Tremonti and the Creed rhythm section neatly swapped out their divisive frontman Scott Stapp for the iron-lunged, octave-straddling unknown Myles Kennedy – the kind of inspired substitution that Roy Hodgson could have done with at Euro 2016 – and the quartet haven’t looked back since. Four albums down the line, the Florida-based band are firmly established as one of America’s most successful exports, with songs to make arenas shout, mosh, throw horns, reflect on our failed relationships with our fathers and leave with ears whistling like kettles.
But they can’t play them all. And so, without wishing to tell the AB boys how to do their job, we’ve delved into their expansive catalogue to select our fantasy setlist, a set of songs guaranteed to bring down the house each night.
Of course, there are shoo-ins and no-brainers. It’d make sense for the ‘Bridge to leave the blocks with a rabble-rouser like Slip To The Void, the song that opened their raging Wembley Arena show five years back, and still their ultimate call-to-arms. Early doors we’d want the quartet to keep energy levels high, so we’d look to them to keep heads banging with the juddering Metalingus, then power through Isolation, whose double-time sections are mosh heaven. By the time they’ve cranked out the chunky rhythms of Find The Real – which comes with added chest-hair live – we should be dripping.
After their opening blitzkrieg, a few gearshifts would be nice. There should be a run of reflective Zippo anthems to stave off cardiac arrest, preferably involving the crystalline balladry of In Loving Memory and the widescreen Open Your Eyes, which is a howl-along highlight of any AB show. We’d need at least one unabashed weepy, so we’re calling out Wonderful Life, a delicacy at the heart of AB III, to get a live acoustic makeover so sweet that it’d even squeeze tears from even the blokes with spiderwebs tattooed on their faces.
Obviously, they should save the career-best Blackbird until last, partly to whet our appetite for that astonishing tag-team guitar solo – but also to make sure that nobody tries to beat the traffic. But we’re fantasists, too, which means we can’t help throwing in a few curveballs and cameos from famous associates, that almost certainly – probably – won’t happen. It’d be great to hear Kennedy’s underrated original band, The Mayfield Four, represented by their scabrous almost-hit Sick & Wrong, while Tremonti has to sneak in the vicious My Last Mistake from his solo catalogue. And who doesn’t want to hear instrumental curio Ahavo Rabo Taco Salad?
You’ll notice that we’ve thrown in a few guest appearances in our dream setlist too, because why not, eh? Whatever happens though, Alter Bridge’s British invasion look set to provide some of the most essential arena rock shows of the year. We’ll see you down the front.
This is our fantasy Alter Bridge setlist: now tells us yours…