I never got to see Alice In Chains. I had tickets to see them with Metallica in 1994 and Layne got ill and the tour was cancelled. After these cancellations, AIC played 4 more shows (3 opening up for KISS on their 1996 reunion tour) and the fourth was their haunting and epic Unplugged show. That was the end.
I was lucky enough to see Jerry Cantrell twice on his Degradation Trip album cycle: Once on his self-funded tour to get the record released and one opening for Nickelback...I left directly after Jerry hit his last note.
So, when I saw that I would be moving to Seattle the first of the year and AIC was playing at The Paramount, I had to go. I LOVE Black Gives Way To Blue. It's a stunning and incredibly dark and moving album. In typical Alice fashion, there isn't one filler track...The band has never written a filler song, ever. I'm also in awe of "new" vocalist William DuVall. I dig his band Comes With The Fall, my favorite track on the new record is one he takes lead vocals on and co-wrote ("Last of My Kind") and his voice and stage presence are a glove-like fit for Alice. He never tries to be Layne and for that, I was able to be open-minded enough to finally go see them...In their hometown, no less.
Holy hell they were amazing! It was a truly incredible setlist and performance. Jerry really commands the stage, but his ego is never in control...William is the frontman. He's also a great guitarist (rhythm and lead), something Alice only tampered with live in the past. Set highlights included opener "All Secrets Known" (fucking stellar way to open the show!), "Last of My Kind", "Them Bones", "Dam That River", "Rain When I Die" and one of my favorite AIC cuts, "Sickman".
The moment of the night was after a ripping version of "Man In The Box", Jerry told the crowd to scream so loud that Layne would hear us. Gave me chills.
Amazing show and night out with my lady. Thanks to Alice In Chains for maintaining their dignity and being able to come back as strong as any band I've ever seen.
"All Secrets Known" (2/4/10 Seattle):
"Last of My Kind" (2/4/10 Seattle):