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Crossing The Alter Bridge In Cleveland

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I’ve been a longtime follower of all things Creed, having obtained the original Blue Collar Records version of the My Own Prison album, which we got at the radio station I was working at at the time. “My Own Prison” was a breakout single for us in Cleveland, wildly popular long before the band signed with Wind-Up Records, who would eventually re-release the My Own Prison album as one of their first releases.

Through the years, I became disinterested with Creed as a whole, mostly due to Scott Stapp’s boring generic vocal style which showed little variety from album to album.

Musically, I was always a fan, but being Stapp’d out, was still a bit skeptical when I heard that guitarist Mark Tremonti was launching his post Creed project Alter Bridge featuring all of the ex-Creed members minus Stapp, with former Mayfield Four frontman Myles Kennedy joining on vocals.

After hearing the first single “Open Your Eyes”, I remained non-convinced, as it was what I expected, a song that sounded just like Creed. Pass.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks after first hearing the single, and I am listening to Detroit native and Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti do an extremely early radio interview on hometown Detroit radio station WRIF. Tremonti was careful and quick to explain that Alter Bridge was a move into new directions for him, as well as the rest of the band. “Open Your Eyes” was a single that was written to take to radio as a song that would introduce Alter Bridge to former Creed fans, without alienating that fanbase. The rest of the album, as he explained, would be nothing like that radio single. It’s appropriate that the band would start it’s early radio promotion in Detroit by the way, the band’s name is inspired by the Alter Bridge, which is a longtime and very distinctive bridge in Detroit.

It was a good setup for the band, and indeed, the album as a whole, is definitely not Creed part two. Alter Bridge is a distinctively new and fresh project, and after hearing the album, I couldn’t wait to see it live.

I finally got my chance to do that last night here in Cleveland, at the Odeon Concert Club, which is definitely one of the nicer venues in Cleveland to see a show. Official capacity is somewhere around 1,000, and the venue was very comfortably sold out, and not oversold, for last night’s show, which was a nice surprise.

After enduring 2 opening bands including local opener Solo Flyer and labelmates Submersed, Alter Bridge took the stage opening with the title track from their new album One Day Remains. One of the first things you notice about Alter Bridge both live and on record, is how insanely heavy they have taken it with this project. The band rocks hard, and while you won’t be calling them heavy metal gods(though you might think so at the show, more on that later), they have turned the guitars up on this project to 11, and Tremonti is shredding like a madman set free with the music of Alter Bridge. I had opportunity to talk to Tremonti about his increased display of guitar acrobatics with Alter Bridge, and he explained that he always wanted to shred more with Creed, but that there was no place for it in the music. Alter Bridge definitely gives him that vehicle to shine, and he exhibited what a truly underappreciated guitar player he is, with his playing throughout the night.

Vocalist Myles Kennedy can do a pretty good Stapp, as demonstrated with the radio single “Open Your Eyes”, but that’s definitely not what he is about. Vocally, Kennedy often times comes off more like Chris Cornell, and has just an incredible range, and it is clearly that vocal range increase, that has given Tremonti and crew more to run with when they are creating music. Kennedy delivered throughout the night, bringing the rock with some of my album favorites such as “Find The Real” and “Burn It Down”, and in regards to the slower material on the album, he worked wonders with “In Loving Memory”, which is the one tune on the album that I think came off better live in comparison to what I had heard on the album.

Be prepared to bring your air guitar to the show – during the encores, Alter Bridge stormed through a blazing cover of “Highway Star”, and let it be said right here, if Alter Bridge is ever looking for work, I think they might have a calling as a Deep Purple cover band!

Much like Creed, Alter Bridge absolutely deliver 110 percent on the live show, but this is very clearly a new project, and not “Alter Creed”, as I have heard some refer to this band. Not only is it a new project, but it is one that stands very fine on it’s own, and if you do go to see Alter Bridge, don’t be expecting to hear the band play any Creed songs, and for good reason – they don’t need to.

Out of all of the times that I saw Creed, I never had the opportunity to see them in a smaller venue, and that is what is nice about this current Alter Bridge tour of clubs and theaters. It’s great to be able to see 4 excellent musicians strutting their stuff in an intimate setting, so if you do have an Alter Bridge date near you, go catch ’em now in a smaller venue while you still can!

Official Alter Bridge Website

Upcoming Tour Dates From Official Website:

9/26/2004 Egyptian Room Indianapolis IN Submersed | TBA On Sale Now
9/28/2004 The Quest Minneapolis MN Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
9/30/2004 House of Blues Chicago IL Crossfade | Submersed SOLD OUT
10/1/2004 House of Blues Chicago IL Crossfade | Submersed 94.7 The Zone Fan Appreciation Show – SOLD OUT
10/2/2004 The Rave Milwaukee WI Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/4/2004 The Guvernment Toronto Ont Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/5/2004 Crocodile Rock Allentown PA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/7/2004 Irving Plaza New York NY Crossfade | Submersed SOLD OUT

10/8/2004 Avalon Ballroom Boston MA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/9/2004 Electric Factory Philadelphia PA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/12/2004 Rock Club Pittsburgh Pa Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/13/2004 The Norva Norfolk VA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/15/2004 House of Blues Myrtle Beach SC Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/16/2004 Roxy Theatre Atlanta GA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/17/2004 Voodoo Music Experience New Orleans LA Velvet Revolver | Kid Rock | Shinedown On Sale Now
10/19/2004 Concrete St. Amphitheater Corpus Christi TX Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/21/2004 Sunset Station San Antonio TX Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/22/2004 Verizon Wireless Theater Houston TX Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/23/2004 Gypsy Ballroom Dallas TX Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/25/2004 Venue of Scottsdale Scottsdale AZ Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/26/2004 House of Blues Anaheim CA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/28/2004 House of Blues Los Angeles CA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/29/2004 House of Blues Las Vegas NV Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
10/31/2004 Big Easy Spokane WA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
11/1/2004 Commodore Ballroom Vancouver BC Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
11/2/2004 Graceland Seattle WA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale 10/11
11/5/2004 Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa OK Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
11/6/2004 The Beaumont Club Kansas City MO Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
11/7/2004 Bricktown Events Center Oklahoma City OK Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
11/10/2004 Val Air Ballroom Des Moines IA Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now
11/11/2004 Riverside Ballroom Green Bay WI Crossfade | Submersed On Sale Now

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About Matt Wardlaw

  • Eric Olsen

    very nice job Matt, I am, frankly, surprised you liked them, which is why they play the games – oops, mixed metaphor

  • no one was more surprised than me Eric – I grabbed a copy of the album, and honestly just expected to file it away quickly like I did with the last two Creed albums, but it’s the real deal.

    The radio station I work for currently did an acoustic session with the band on Friday night at a local studio, and they are just fabulous, especially in the acoustic setting.

    Speaking of which, we’ll have to get you out to one of our studio sessions like that one, being that you are a fellow Cleveland resident and all…

  • Eric Olsen

    it has been many a moon since I last visited the Buzzard, probably ’95 when I was on to do an interview

  • Nice review. I lost interest in Creed, mainly because I never really cared for Stapp, although I thought My Own Prison was excellent. That AB single did sound just like Creed, so I wrote them off just like that. Maybe I should revisit them….