Sunday, April 18, 2010

Alice In Chains!

First of all, there is no way that AIC will ever be the same without Layne.  Of course the old songs sound a little different with a new singer, but what I came to realize over the past week or so, and it was really solidified for me at the show on Friday, is that Jerry Cantrell is AIC as much as Layne ever was.  With all of that said, the show was amazing, if a little too loud at the beginning.  Okay, it was WAY too loud at the beginning, and two days later, I'm growing more and more convinced that the ringing in my ears is never going to stop, and I may need to see medical attention to determine if I did any permanent damage by standing on the floor for this show, but I digress.

The stage set-up was refreshingly simple.  A white curtain with the heart drawing from the cover of the new album hid the stage when we got there between AIC and the opening act, hiding the simple stage surrounded by similar curtains.  When the lights went down, the heart started to beat with a thunderous pounding that shook your chest, picking up pace and building momentum until the backlit silhouettes of Cantrell and William DuVall, Staley's replacement as lead singer, appeared against the curtain. As the band dropped into All Secrets Known, the lead track from the album, and a great opener IMO, the curtain fell.  I'm not kidding, it was sort of hard to even hear what they were playing for the first couple of songs, it was so loud and distorted.  I wondered whether they had forgone the soundcheck in favor us just treating the first few songs as such, because after Check My Brain, the sound calmed down a little (or maybe my deaf ears just adjusted), and the rest of the show just rocked.  Here's the complete setlist:

1.- All Secrets Known
2.- It Ain't Like That
3.- Again
4.- Check My Brain
5.- Them Bones
6.- Dam That River
7.- Rain When I Die
8.- Your Decision
9.- Got Me Wrong
10.- God Smack
11.- A Looking in View
12.- Nutshell
13.- Sickman
14.- Grind
15.- Lesson Learned
16.- Acid Bubble
17.- Angry Chair
18.- Man in the Box

19.- Would?
20.- Rooster
Some highlights for me were Your Decision, Got Me Wrong, Nutshell ("Let's do one for Layne"), Angry Chair, and Would?.  I've been trying to decide what my favorite part of the show was, and it's really between Would? and Got Me Wrong, which is a surprise even to me.  I've always loved Got Me Wrong, but it was somehow completely awesome live.  The harmony between Cantrell and DuVall's voices really is great, and it obvious on songs like this why DuVall was the obvious choice if AIC was going to continue on as AIC.  Would? just completely rocked.  Completely.  Nutshell is such an amazing song, and I wasn't expecting it to be awesome because it's so completely Layne's song, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Again, maybe it was the fact that Cantrell and DuVall have such great harmony, but DuVall really did Layne justice with this one.  Nonetheless, never was Layne's absence more tangible than during songs like this.

My other favorite part of the show was at the end, after the encore was over and the lights came up, and the band was roaming around the stage, pulling all the guitar picks of the mic stands and tossing them into the crowd.  Ditto for the drum sticks.  They were so, so grateful to the audience, and so great about that.  Cantrell kept saying how great it was, how much fun they had, how much they love doing this, and thank you, thank, you, thank you.  I LOVE bands that treat their fans right, and I love bands that appreciate their fans.  I feel like AIC is in a place now where they don't have to be doing this, but they love what they do, and that comes across so much.

Two big let-downs for me were Man In The Box and Rooster.  Again, I'm not sure I had very high hopes for a lot of the old Layne Staley standards, but Rooster was the final final song for the night, and I just would've loved one more song to close it out because as great as DuVall and Cantrell sound together, Rooster just wasn't the same without Layne.  When I say these two songs were let-downs, that's not to say that they didn't completely rock.  They just weren't quite the same.  But I mean really, if two songs were sort of a little bit of a let-down, can you really complain at all about the show?  No.  I have no complaints.  The show was great.  I wanna go again.  Like, now.  And again, and again, and again.
Search YouTube for "Alice in Chains Providence" to see a bunch of videos from the show, including the intro with the beating heart on All Secrets Known.  I was going to embed the videos here, but J told me that might be illegal.  Most of the show is up there, as individual song files, for your viewing enjoyment, but watch them now, because they might come down in a matter of days.

If you have a chance to see any of the remaining shows on this tour, go!


  1. Awesome! Glad you enjoyed the show. I saw them in Phoenix and it was amazing. I am a HUGE Layne fan so I was worried I was not going to like the new stuff. But I am just as big of a fan of Jerrys so I listened with an open heart and found...I loved it. Maybe not as much as if it was a new AIC CD with Layne, but it can not be denied this is an awesome CD!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Christie. There's a few songs on the new CD that I don't love as much as others, but I think the album is a great tribute to Layne, with all the songs that are sort of about or for him. Jerry indicated that their intention is to keep this up as long as it's fun, and I really hope that's for a long, long time.