Alice in Chains Kicks Off U.S. Tour at Fillmore Miami Beach, April 25
Photo by Sayre Berman Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell.
Alice in Chains
Fillmore Miami Beach
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Better Than: Well, The Essential Alice in Chains.
"C'mon, it's the first gig ..." Alice in Chains axe man Jerry Cantrell deadpanned when he and his band screwed up the opening bars of "Down in a Hole," a 20-year-old top ten hit. "Fuck."
Last night, Cantrell and crew kicked off their latest U.S. road trip at the Fillmore Miami Beach after a few years away from the rock circuit, following the release (and subsequent tour) of 2008's Black Gives Way to Blue. And aside from the "Hole" miscue, there weren't any "big mistakes."
-Alice in Chains at Fillmore Miami Beach: The 28-Photo Slideshow
-Alice in Chains Talks Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, a "Jab at Ultra-Right Religious Conservatives"
Photo by Sayre Berman
Every seat in the house that Jackie Gleason built had been sold. And with the mood set by a rock radio mix of Audioslave and other early-2000s alt-lite sorta stuff, several thousand Alice in Chains superfans were slobbering for some "real fucking rock," as a guy in a Dirt t-shirt could be heard hollering.
So when Cantrell, founding drummer Sean Kinney, longtime bassist Mike Inez, and new-ish singer William DuVall emerged from the Fillmore's shadowy backstage, the assembled mob saluted them by throwing devil horns and raising lukewarm beers.
Photo by Sayre Berman Alice in Chains lead screamer William DuVall.
Now, stating the obvious, original Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley is dead.
But admittedly, even 11 years later, it's tough to watch (and listen to) Cantrell and crew, live in concert, without drifting off and dwelling on Staley's slow, sad spiral into death. Especially because the most compelling songs remain those alt anthems written, recorded, and released at the apex of the grunge era, when he was still alive.
The band endured a six-year hiatus, from 1996 to 2002, while Staley did speedballs and played video games till he slipped into the grave. And even though the new Alice in Chains has made nearly as many albums (2008's aforementioned Blue and the new Devil Put Dinosaurs Here) as the original Alice in Chains, it was obvious the Miami fans had bought tickets to hear the Alice classics.
Photo by Sayre Berman
Appropriately then, the band led with "Them Bones," "Dam That River," and "Rain When I Die," all off 1992's Dirt. It was an honest concession to the reality that Alice in Chains has "seen better days."
Sure, talking recently to Guitar World, Cantrell has argued: "In my opinion, [Black Gives Way to Blue] stood up to anything else we've put out in our career. And this new one [The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here] is right up there as well."
But all night, newer songs like 2008's "Check My Brain" or even 2012 mainstream rock number-one "Hollow" still simply served as buffers between '90s hits.