by Sean Maciejewski
Alter Bridge played The Vine Showroom at del Lago Casino in Waterloo, NY on February 10th, 2023. This was stop number eleven, of the bands thirty date “Pawns and Kings” tour, in support of the newly released album with the same name. Joining them on this tour was the band Mammoth WVH. As I entered the casino, I saw a long line of fans eagerly waiting to see the show. The doors promptly opened at 7:00 pm and a rush of fans filled into the venue. While I was waiting for the opening act, I spoke to venue staff and learned that the show just sold out! The house lights dimmed at 8:00 pm and 2400 enthusiastic fans erupted in frenzied cheer in anticipation for the start of the concert!
Opening the show was the band Mammoth WVH. Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2015 by Wolfgang Van Halen (son of the late, world renowned Eddie Van Halen). The band solidified its current line up in 2021 after the release of “Mammoth WVH”. The band played a forty-five minute, eight song set. The band put on a great show! With a blend of classic/hard rock and a touch of metal, the band’s sound is unique. What you won’t find is a clone of Eddie Van Halen. Hats off to Wolfgang Van Halen for finding his own sound and way. I did see some homage to his late father on the stage, with racks of amplifiers and guitars with EVH logo proudly displayed. Wolfgang is an accomplished multi-instrument musician, that plays a mean guitar and has a voice as equally impressive. With a backing band that was extremely talented, Mammoth WVH was fun to watch. The audience was truly into the performance. Some of my favorite songs performed were “Don’t Back Down”, “Epiphany” and “Distance”. A neat moment was when Wolfgang introduced his band members. This was a homecoming show for his bass player, Ronnie Ficarro, who grew up in the nearby (50 miles) Rochester, NY! This band is greatness in the making and I highly recommend seeing them if you get the opportunity.
Mammoth WVH are; Wolfgang Van Halen – vocals, guitar, keyboard; Frank Sidoris – guitar,backing vocals; Jon Jourdan – rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Ronnie Ficarro – bass; Garret Whitlock – drums
Set list; Mammoth, Mr. Ed, Epiphany, Stone, Think It Over, Distance, You’re To Blame, Don’t Back Down
Alter Bridge stepped onto the stage with a deafening cheer from the audience. This was the band that most fans came to see, and they showed their appreciation for the headliner! Formed in Orlando, Florida in 2004 by three members of the band Creed(Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall,Scott Phillips) and the addition of Myles Kennedy, the band has enjoyed a lengthy career. It showed as the fan base present were young twenty somethings to silver haired rockers sporting vintage Alter Bridge T shirts! From the opening song “Silver Tongue” the crowd was engaged and cheering. The band responded to this energy and gave a show that didn’t disappoint. Myles Kennedy showcased his multi-octave vocal abilities, effortlessly going from sweet high notes to smooth lows. Mark Tremonti flashed impressive guitar solos and crunchy rhythms. Brian Marshall added his own gritty bass lines to the show. Several times throughout the show, the three would shred away at their instruments together at center stage. Not to be forgotten was drummer, Scott Phillips, providing a solid foundation for the songs. Not all moments were high energy, though, as about halfway through the set, Kennedy played a solo acoustic performance of the song “Watch Over You” singing in a melodic voice while playing tender notes on the guitar. It was followed by a duo acoustic performance (Kennedy/Tremonti) of “In Loving Memory” with the audience singing in unison. It truly was a special moment! Kennedy engaged with the audience throughout the show. He reflected on the band being together for almost twenty years. He then asked who had the newly released album, which most of the audience responded they have it. He then replied that he is “amazed by the appreciation and support from fans after all these years”. Alter Bridge played for over an hour and a half, playing a mix of sixteen songs from their seven album arsenal. The entire show was rock solid and entertaining. They closed with a very special song that Kennedy explained was the very first song the band released “Open Your Eyes”. The entire venue sang along with the band! As the last note was still resonating through the sound system, the band took a bow and showered the audience with gifts. Many guitar picks and drum sticks were thrown out into the crowd and grabbed by smiling fans. Alter Bridge rocks!
Alter Bridge are; Myles Kennedy – vocals, guitar; Mark Tremonti – guitar, vocals; Brian Marshall – bass; Scott Phillips – drums
Set list; Silver Tongue, Addicted To Pain, Ghost Of Days Gone By, Before Tomorrow Comes, Dead Amongst Living, Burn It Down, Achilles, Watch Over You ( Kennedy Acoustic Solo), In Loving Memory(Kennedy/ Tremonti Acoustic Duo), Blackbird, Pawns & Kings, Waters, Isolation, Metalingus – Encore; Rise Today, Open Your Eyes