On the evening of October 27th, Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios Orlando CityWalk was the site of the much-awaited return to Central Florida of Alice in Chains, and it was an incredible night.
The opening act was The Pink Slips from Los Angeles. The band consists of lead singer Grace ‘Grave’ McKagan, Keyboard/ back up vocalist Trent Pelz, Drummer Keenan Bevans, Guitarist Desi Scaglione and Bassist Charlie Anastasis. The sound is a self-defined mixture of ‘synth-pop, punk, dance, and vintage rock n’ roll.’ McKagan had so much energy, it was hard to keep up with her on stage. The music itself flowed very nicely and did remind me of an 80’s punk band except with a keyboard.
We waited excitedly for the main event to hit the stage. The band: rhythm guitar/vocalist William DuVall, Bassist Mike Inez, Drummer/Co-founder Sean Kinney and Lead guitarist/vocalist and Co-founder Jerry Cantrell. The stage set up is simple: three microphone stands with amps and effect pedals at front stage and in the middle of the back is a two-step riser that help the drum kit. To either side of the drum riser are two double sided walls of lights/video screens.
Overhead, strobe lights flashed to the beat of the opening songs. As the crowd chanted, Alice in Chains opened with a cover of an instrumental composition by Gyogry Ligeti. This flowed into “Check My Brain” and “Again.”
By now, the sold-out crowd is on their feet singing to every song, including the new ones off the current CD, Rainier Fog.
The show continued with old favorites sprinkled with new songs. “Down in a Hole” sounded as good as it did when first recorded. The main show ended with “Man in a Box.” But, I always wait for the house lights to come up before I leave a show, for there will be an encore.
And what an encore it was; “The One You Know,’ “Got Me Wrong,” “Would?,” and finally, “Rooster.” After the house lights did come back up, the band stayed on stage and threw of cups of picks and about a dozen drum sticks.
This show reminded me that concerts are not always full of pyrotechnics and theatrics. This was a simple stage and simply a musical show. Each member of the band brought their love of the songs they are known for and gave it everything they had.
They seemed to enjoy the show as much as the 5,500 fans that were there to share their Saturday night with one of the truly great bands of our time.
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