Alter Bridge “Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities” Review


Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge “Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities” Review

Review by ~Maggie Wright

On September 8, 2017, Alter Bridge will release their first live album in five years, “Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities” via Napalm Records. While “Live in Amsterdam” (2008) and “Live at Wembley" (2012) both had live DVD’s, this audio CD release includes not only the live concert in its entirety, it adds what fans for years have been chomping at the bit for… previously unreleased tracks. The eleven songs, most of which have never been heard before, beg the question: why has it taken so long! Alter Bridge have been touring continuously since the Listening Party for their fifth studio album, “The Last Hero”, back in July, 2016. Having established a huge fan base in the UK, London seemed the perfect setting for a live CD, and it certainly proved to be. The recording of “Live at the O2 Arena” took place on November 24, 2016 in front of their largest ever audience at a headline show; a huge milestone for the band. Having been there to experience it live makes hearing the concert in its entirety again a real goosebump experience, taking me back inside the packed arena with thousands of fans.

Selecting songs from their five album discography couldn’t have been an easy task, and the resulting set list was genius. The breakdown of songs by album is: 2 songs from One Day Remains, 5 from Blackbird, 2 from AB III, and four each from Fortress and The Last Hero. Opening with Writing on the Wall was a superb choice; the intensity and power of this song will make those listening at home feel instantly transported right smack in the middle of that crowd. The set list included both massive favorites like Metalingus, one of Alter Bridge’s most played live songs, and Isolation, which was only ever released as a single in the UK. The sound quality is insane, and you’ll will find yourself joining the crowd shouting, “Don’t forget we’re here to stay!!” during Come to Life. Addicted to Pain, from Fortress, gets a huge cheer from the start and rightfully so. It’s a ferocious song with a wicked bass line bass line and an insane guitar solo that are meant to be heard loud and live. One of my favorite moments is the performance of Waters Rising; the opportunity to hear Tremonti on lead vocals, sung with a fierceness we only get through his guitar playing. In addition to the powerful and heavy songs, Alter Bridge acknowledges the appreciation for their softer side by including both Blackbird and the acoustic Watch Over You, both of which receive a mammoth reception from the fans.

Rise Today, the anthemic song which has been a regular closer for Alter Bridge, might be where the O2 concert ends, but the decision to add additional live recordings from the same UK tour is bound to satiate the fans who are always ravenous for more. Two extra live tracks, Poison in Your Veins and My Champion, both from "The Last Hero" album, although not recorded at the O2, were recorded on the same UK tour, and are the icing on the cake! Kennedy’s vocals are impeccable. After thirteen years with Alter Bridge, it is still hard to find fault with his performances, and who would want to. I remember the first time I heard Alter Bridge perform in 2004 thinking that vocals don’t get much better than this. Yet he continues to push the limits of what he is capable of. The same can be said for all the band members respectively, as Alter Bridge continue to rise to be one of the best rock bands of a generation. Crank the volume up, close your eyes and you can imagine yourself there. If you were there, you will want this release to relive that night! If you weren’t, you’ll want to experience what you missed. And if you have never seen Alter Bridge live, this indeed the next best thing! Alter Bridge deliver possibly their best performance of their career. Now you can experience the brilliance of this concert without the sweat drenched tshirt!

Fortunately, the incentives to buy this release don't stop there. Fans have been begging for years for these tracks to be released and now they have it! Breathe, Cruel Sun and Solace, were all originally recorded during the "One Day Remains' sessions, and only Breathe was ever released (as an exclusive bonus track in the U.S). Breathe has an intriguing start and was well chose to be the opening track of the rarities. If you weren't one of the lucky ones to be able to get the Best Buy (U.S.) exclusive. It has a hypnotizing quality that consumes your attention. By the time the final chorus is repeated, the vocal harmonies will have you completely hooked. Cruel Sun starts off with a sultry and haunting tone, then expands into a huge song that would have been well received had it been released at the time. It could easily become a fan favorite worldwide. It follows Breathe perfectly, and precedes Solace seamlessly. The only clue fans have ever had to Solace was a brief snippet on a Mark Tremonti instructional DVD, and now their curiosity can finally be satisfied. Solace is a huge song, that is as powerful as Rise Today, and I would love to see it be a regular on the set lists. The next three tracks, from the "Blackbird" sessions, bring a completely different sound. New Way to Live (a U.K. bonus track) and The Damage Done and New Way to Live (both exclusive bonus tracks through Best Buy stores in the U.S.) follow the chronological progression laid out for these rarities. The Damage Done starts with that intense Marshall bass, making you want to sit up and take notice; a vehemence that reaches into your soul, and guitar work that seals your fate. One of my favorite tracks from this release is We Don’t Care at All, an up-tempo track that I've found so addictive I find myself singing it even when I'm waking up in the morning. Powerful and defiant, it's a take charge, give 'em the finger, I'll do it my way type of song that will be a regular on my playlist. Zero, Home and Never Born to Follow, from the AB III sessions, show more prominent vocals from Tremonti. Zero and Home were released as bonus tracks in the U.S. while Never Born to Follow was only released as a bonus track in Japan. Zero and Home were later released in Japan as bonus tracks on "Fortress". Never Say Die (initially incorrectly listed as Outright by the label) another anthemic song that should be performed regularly live. Previously an exclusive bonus track in the U.S. on "Fortress", Alter Bridge continues to prove the ability to deliver songs that connect with fans on every level. Symphony of Agony (also incorrectly named The Last of Our Kind by the label) was released as an exclusive bonus track on "The Last Hero", but is now getting worldwide release. This song is hands down the best track of the rarities. It has the most intriguing melody, combined with a killer rhythm that makes you want to move. Knowing that there is a possibility that some of these rare songs could be played at the upcoming sold out Royal Albert Hall shows in London is incredibly exciting, and I expect I am not the only one anticipating how they could sound with a 52-piece orchestra. And that is indeed something to look forward to. And that makes this release all the more significant! For those who were lucky enough to get their hands on one of the deluxe editions, there is a documentary style DVD full of behind the scenes insights and interviews with the band, their crew and family. This concert meant an incredible amount to them and this is your opportunity to hear their thoughts and impressions.

Live at the O2 Arena + Rarities is available now in cd, vinyl and digital formats through all major outlets.

Limited Edition bundles are available at:

Track Listing:

Disc One

1. The Writing on The Wall (Live)
2. Come to Life (Live)
3. Addicted to Pain (Live)
4. Ghosts of Days Gone By (Live)
5. Cry of Achilles (Live)
6. The Other Side (Live)
7. Farther Than the Sun (Live)
8. Ties that Bind (Live)
9. Waters Rising (Live)
10. Crows on a Wire (Live)
11. Watch Over You (Kennedy solo acoustic, Live)

Disc Two

1. Isolation (Live)
2. Blackbird (Live)
3. Metalingus (Live)
4. Open Your Eyes (Live)
5. Show Me a Leader (Live)
6. Rise Today (Live)
7. Poison in or Veins (Live)
8. My Champion (Live)

Disc Three

1. Breathe
2. Cruel Sun
3. Solace
4. New Way to Live
5. The Damage Done
6. We Don’t Care at All
7. Zero
8. Home
9. Never Born to Follow
10. Never Say Die (Outright)
11. Symphony of Agony (The Last of Our Kind)

Alter Bridge is:

Myles Kennedy on vocals and guitars
Mark Temonti on vocals and guitars
Brian Marshall on bass guitar
Scott Phillis on drums

For More Information Visit:

Tour Dates:

Sep 15 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sep 16 Buenos Aires Argentina
Sep 19 Curitiba, Brazil
Sep 21 Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sep 22 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Oct 2 London, England (SOLD OUT)
Oct 3 London, England (SOLD OUT)
Oct 5 Edinburgh, Scotland
Oct 7 Dublin, Ireland
Oct 8 Belfast, Northern Ireland
Oct 10 Paris, France
Oct 11 Groningen, Netherlands
Oct 12 Stuttgart, Germany
Oct 15 Hanover, Germany
Oct 16 Oberhausen, Germany
Oct 18 Vienna, Austria
Oct 20 Warsaw, Poland
Oct 22 Budapest, Hungary
Oct 24 Dubendorf, Switzerland
Oct 26 Barcelona, Spain
Oct 27 Madrid, Spain
Oct 29 Lisbon , Portugal

With further U.S. dates expected for the end of the year

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