By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Live Review: Alter Bridge – Pawns and Kings Tour with Mammoth WVH and Red – Seminole Hard Rock & Casino, Tampa, FL – January 25, 2023
Alter Bridge was riding high in February 2020, on tour in support of Walk the Sky, when the world came to a halt due to the pandemic. The band took an unplanned break but began recording their 7th studio album Pawns and Kings, last spring. After releasing the album on October 14th, the band headed across the pond, where they have a huge fan base, touring the U.K. and E.U. with Mammoth WVH as support.
On January 25th, 2023, Alter Bridge kicked off its North American Pawns and Kings tour at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Florida. The concert at the event center was sold-out, as fans squeezed in tightly on the floor while others were comfortably seated at the rear. Fans were in for a triple treat—and a very long evening—as bands Mammoth WHV and Red were on hand to warm up the crowd.
Starting promptly at 7 p.m., the band Red came out of the gate playing their brand of heavy, melodic metal–and the crowd was digging it. The charismatic frontman Michael Barnes must have been already doing warm-up exercises before the show because he belted out the lyrics with fury. The concertgoers were head bobbing and moving closer to the stage as this band engaged the crowd.
Mammoth WVH began at approximately 7:45 p.m., with Wolf Van Halen starting with “Mammoth” off their debut self-titled debut album. If you haven’t listened to the album, please put it on your Spotify list. Multi-instrumentalist Van Halen impressed the crowd with his voice and easily moved from the guitar to the keyboard. Before forming Mammoth WVH, he played bass with Tremonti and played every instrument in the video for “Don’t Back Down.” My favorite in the set included “Mammoth” with its uplifting message.
At 9 p.m., Alter Bridge came out on stage, performing “Silver Tongue,” a heavy metal song with its scorching dual-guitar riff. Myles Kennedy’s voice soared, showing off his high tenor range. I was mesmerized during the evening as Kennedy’s voice sounded operatic at times, with his sense of control and length of note-holding. His rock screams are on par with Glenn Hughes but yet can display deep and silky like the late Chris Cornell. His voice was in proper form and hypnotic during the live performance.
After performing “Addicted to Pain,” “Ghost of Days Gone By,” and fan favorite “Before Tomorrow Comes,” Kennedy announced the band would perform a “new, never played live” song. Also, he said, “We are featuring Mr. Mark Tremonti on the vocals this time.” Tremonti is an excellent singer, and I was hoping he would perform “Burn It Down” during the evening. However, the new song “Stay” was a catchy rock song and I am sure gained new fans.
The highlight of the evening was the acoustic portion of the concert. Kennedy stood alone on the stage with a guitar and sang the touching “Watch Over You.” The pureness and emotion in his voice stirred tears as the crowd sang the chorus, “Who is gonna save you when I’m gone? And who’ll watch over you when I’m gone?”
Tremonti and Kennedy sat together with guitars for “In Loving Memory” before ending the acoustic portion of the set with the soulful “Blackbird.” Tremonti and Kennedy’s guitar tones were unbelievable, as was the synchronicity between the two as they played.
Next, the concert revved the pace with the scorching “Pawns and Kings” before continuing with fan favorites like “Metalingus.” The encore for the evening was “Rise Today” and “Open Your Eyes.”
Considering this was the tour’s first concert, the show was punctual and delivered impeccably. The new tunes from Pawns and Kings show why Alter Bridge has endured for almost 20 years and has a rabidly loyal fan base, especially in the U.K. Whenever I interview metal bands in the U.K., they cite among their influences Alter Bridge. Considering the power and elegance of the band’s Tampa performance, that should be no surprise.
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