Alter Bridge + As Lions @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh

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Alter Bridge + As Lions

@ Usher Hall, Edinburgh

October 5, 2017

Review & photography by Gavin Lowrey

This evening the mighty Alter Bridge park their extremely well oiled machine triumphantly at the front door of the Usher Hall in Edinburgh to deliver their sleek anthem heavy show in support of their “Live at the O2 & Rarities” album.

The Usher Hall in Edinburgh is an excellent choice of venue due to the fact that as with the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, it has the best acoustics of any venue in the city

The venue is just about sold out with the only thing letting it down is the Phileas Phogg distances it takes to get fed an watered along with the over officious security at every door around the circular extremely grandiose venue

Opening for Alter Bridge as London based outfit As Lions who kick things off after a pretty low key entry to the Stage

The sound is loud and heavy and they try their best to get the crowd going with singer Austin Dickinson using his tourretts sufferers showmanship.

I’ve seen the band before, and their music is not bad, however the sound is awful and this is a real disappointment, given the venue’s extremely favourable acoustics.

Its a bit like rolling up to play a football team you know you can beat, you’re in form, their star player’s injured, everything’s going your way… then your team forgets their boots. 

Loud is not always best and I think this was certainly the case here.

That aside, the performance won over the crowd by the end of their set and gave a decent account of themselves on their first visit to Edinburgh.

Dickinson was lively, covering every inch of a reasonable (for a support band) sized stage and hats off to bassist Stefan Whiting who also did the same.

They crammed 9 songs into their 35 minute set to showcase themselves and I think that there will be more to come from the English outfit.

After a quick turn around, we have the main event with Scott Phillips sneaking behind the elevated drum kit, followed by Tremonti and Brian Marshall before Miles Kennedy struts out onto the stage like a rooster surveying his coop from in front of the drum riser.

The chat was that this would be a different set to that on the previous festival jaunts and the Hydro visit, and this is immediately confirmed as they open with “The End Is Here”.

The return of “White Knuckles” is welcomed with open arms buy the raucous Edinburgh crowd who were previously chanting the band’s name in unison.

There’s a great energy and the aura of a well oiled machine as the band rip through song after song.

As we are treated to “Crows on a Wire”, “One Day Remains”, “Ghosts of days Gone By”, “Isolation” and a particularly intense version on “Ties That Bind”, it’s hard to wonder if things could get any better.

But yet they did!  Despite some idiots in the crowd kicking off during the intro of “My Champion” which caused the song to be stopped, the Alter Bridge juggernaut is something that can’t be halted.

“Wonderful Life” and “Watch Over You” are the evening’s acoustic renditions and really show off the favourable acoustics of the venue.

After the acoustic interlude we are (metaphorically) given a right old ear bashing with brutal versions of “Come to Life”, “Addicted to Pain” and “Metallingus” that includes the obligatory audience participation.

Every band has an epic song, AC/DC have “For Those About to Rock”, Led Zep have “Stairway to Heaven” and Queen have “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and for me Alter Bridge’s epic is “Blackbird” – and what a delivery of it we get.

By the end of it we are left with a crowd that is ready to burst with emotion, something that many bands strive for but never achieve.

The Duo of “Open Your Eyes” and “Show Me The Leader” bring the main set of the show to a close.

The crowd know there’s more but there’s always that 0.0001% chance that they might not, but the screams inside everyone’s head from their inner self are silenced as the epic “Cry of Achilles” is unleashed on the crowd.


Miles’ epic vocals in “In Loving Memory” are a highlight and certainly has the crowd in the palm of his hands before they conclude the evening’s festivities with “Rise Today”.

Alter Bridge certainly don’t have to “Rise Today”, they are already there and will be for some time to come.