Alice In Chains Concert Review, Austin, TX 04/28/2014
In 1990 the record store I used to frequent and ultimately worked in for a while gave me an advanced copy of a cassette called Facelift by Alice In Chains. The owner said something to the effect of, “Check out this new metal band and let me know what you think.” I had never heard of them and my buddy and I got in the car and immediately popped it in on our way back home. We heard that voice and just started laughing hysterically. I think we may have gotten all the way through the album once, It was wretched. A week or so later I gave the cassette back to Dave (the owner of the store) and said, “This is awful. These guys will never amount to anything!”
Alrighty then. I guess they did OK for themselves. A year later in 1991 I had tickets to see Van Halen on the F.U.C.K. Tour and AIC was the opener. The day of the show I went to the record store to pick up my paycheck and as I am about to leave, I see a tour bus pull up outside. It was AIC. They looked pretty rough…in that I mean like they hadn’t bathed for a while. Layne Staley was on crutches. I stopped them and asked if they were AIC and they were nice enough to speak to me for a few minutes. They asked if I was coming to the show and I said I was. “Do you have tickets already?” “Yes, but a backstage pass would be cool.” “Uh, no. Good luck with that.” Cantrell said that laughingly.
That night they came out and blew Van Halen away. Even if I wasn’t a fan of that album in the least, the band was great live. Shortly after Dirt came out, the band I was in covered Would? and I bought the cassette and enjoyed it. It’s a good album but it’s the only one of theirs that I can stomach to this day.
Flash forward 20+ years and both Layne Stayley and Mike Starr are no longer part of this world. RIP. When the listing for AIC at The Moody Theater comes out, I buy 2 general admission floor tickets more out of curiosity than anything. I almost sold my tickets a few days before the show to go see George Clinton. Glad I kept them.
Last night’s show was sold out but it didn’t feel like it. My friend and I we just off of the corner on stage right with some other friends that I ran into. AIC hits the stage with Them Bones and that new singer pretty much owned the show. He’s a likeable frontman and worked the crowd pretty good. I guess it’s easier when you have a captive audience full of fans, eh? But whatever. The guy could sing (like Layne) and had a good range. He played guitar quite a bit and even had one solo. The harmonies provided by Cantrell are still spot on. I’m sure he feels like the lucky one and/or a survivor since two of his bandmates had died of drugs.
Last night’s set was quite different than what I saw in 1991. AIC is a well-oiled machine nowadays although there was one false start on Last of My Kind. I am not sure who was at fault, the drummer or Cantrell. Seemed that one of the two was confused about which song they were supposed to play. It made for a funny moment as the band joked about it and moved on. They were tight and while I still can’t call myself a fan, I enjoyed their set for the most part. I only knew the “hits” that they played and whatever tracks were on Dirt. A lot of their stuff sounds the same to me and drones on a little too much, but that’s their sound.
I wondered how many people were there that didn’t realize that Layne Stayley was gone. I bet there was at least one! It was also a good show for people watching.
Written by The Metal Files
April 29, 2014 at 7:51 am
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