Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Five years ago Brian Marshall, Mark Tremonti and Scott Philips were plying their trade in one of the biggest bands on the planet...Creed. 2008 now sees them, not only in my eyes, but also to a packed Academy as one of the best bands on the planet.

Some judge bands purely on record sales, but in Alter Bridge's case they have two albums under their belt which are as good as any I've heard. Especially their latest, (Blackbird) which was the album of 2007. It's (very) rare for a band of this outstanding quality to be unrecognised in their native USA. Alter Bridge have gone out successfully and toured the areas of the globe that has given them the support they richly deserve. This is the third time I have seen them in the last three years, and to my knowledge they played Manchester on at least five occasions in support of their debut album, One Day Remains

To the gig! Alter Bridge ooze style and class in abundance and all four band members are at the top of their tree. Since they acquired the excellent Myles Kennedy, Alter Bridge have grown into a band producing quality songs whether it be, anthemic, soulful, melancholic, and passionate.

In taking to the stage AB walked into a roar akin to a stadium band. ‘Come to Life ‘ epitomises the band, heavy as f**k with the audience all bouncing as one. Having Myles Kennedy in the band gives Alter Bridge more options. With Blackbird he took on writing responsibilities which have resulted in a much stronger set. Also he is one mean guitar player, at times taking the lead from Tremonti to great effect. He is also one of the best singers in the business. I hate talented people!

Alter Bridge now have such a back catalogue to pick from (even though it's only two albums) that you can’t please everyone. But those that followed were damn good, New songs 'Buried Alive', 'Brand New Start', 'One By One' intermingled with 'Find The Real', Metalingus' and 'Find The Real'. Tremonti's continual head banging, almost smug in its application, saying 'I know we've got great songs'. They seem to enjoy themselves as much as we do. Alter Bridge paint a tapestry of sound, none more so than the epic 'Blackbird'. When I first heard this song I knew it was something special, and this delivers live in droves, quiet, sad, driving metal, it has it all.

The band all too soon left the stage are appeared to a wall of sound, playing the now standard for their UK gigs, 'Whole Lotta’ Rosie', a Robert Johnson Blues number 'Travelling Riverside Blues' before departing with the final song and new single 'Rise Today'.

On the sad 'Watch Over You' Myles wails 'You Long to Hear My Voice, But I’m long gone', yes I do, and don’t be long in coming back.

I wish I could have made it to the acoustic set in Manchester Arndale the following day as I gather Myles sang the stunning 'Hallelujah' solo. You jammy bastards! Gig of the year (yes I know it’s only January, but it will still take some beating)

01 - Come To Life
02 - Find The Real
03 - Buried Alive
04 - Brand New Start
05 - White Knuckles
06 - Broken Wings
07 - One By One
08 - Before Tomorrow Comes
09 - Ties That Bind
10 - Blackbird
11 - Watch Over You
12 - Metalingus
13 - Open Your Eyes


14 - Whole Lotta Rosie
15 - Travelling Riverside Blues
16 - Rise Today