05.22.2006 Alice In Chains Avalon, Boston, MA
Opener: Blind By Noon
When I heard that Alice In Chains was touring again, it was a no-brainer to see them in Boston, one of only a handful of club dates they were playing this summer. While Layne Stanley passed away in 2002, the band songs were indelibly imprinted in my brain right up until about 1995, when they stopped producing new material. Jar of Flies is still on my list of top ten best albums ever.
So who goes to a concert, the band reformed 10 years after the last album and after the death of its signature vocalist? The answer, just about everyone. The audience ran the gamut of looks, age and temperament. I saw two kids in the 10 year old range with their parents, as many late-twenty jocks as middle-aged metalheads with sagging skin and beer bellies, and college students who were in elementary school when Alice in Chains released its last self-titled studio album. Their fans had aged right along with Alice in Chains.
The thing is, though, this crowd knew the music. AIC, as they now encourage us to call them, kept mostly to their first two albums, arguably their two most popular, with the exception of the show’s opener “Sludge Factory” which despite the name is a haunting and gorgeous melody, and “Again.” The music was smoldering all night, simply gorgeous harmonies and searing melodies, some of the best early in the setlist – “Rain When I Die” inspired the crowd to join in on the chorus like a heavenly lament. “Junkhead” had the crowd sing along in confession, “What’s my drug of choice? Well what have you got?”
William DuVall did was a great stand in for the late Layne Staley. His voice matched the intensity and howl of Staley without being a carbon copy or a caricature. Lead guitarist and AIC founder, Jerry Cantrell, looked healthy and relaxed during the entire set. He spoke little to the crowd, at one point coming up to the mike and then after a second of staring out into the crowd, he simply laughed it off and played a riff. He did encourage the crowd to give warm applause for each band member individually.
The show’s highlights came straight off Facelift. “We Die Young” was simply awesome and set a wicked tempo for the concert, with barely a pause for breath during the war ballad “Rooster.” Straight through the main set closer “Them Bones” to the show closer “Man In the Box” the band mesmerized, continually appealing to the audience to soak in the moment and recall the band’s glory days.
Dam That River
Rain When I Die
We Die Young
Love, Hate, Love
Down In A Hole
Man In The Box