Who: Victorious Sky Tour: Alter Bridge, Skillet, Dirty Honey
Where: MECU Pavilion, Baltimore, Maryland
When: September 22, 2019
The skies over Baltimoreâs Inner Harbor on the premiere of the Victorious Sky Tour had zero clouds in sight. However, sunny weather couldnât keep rockâs most-diligent vocalist, Alter Bridgeâs Myles Kennedy, from falling under-the-weather himself.
Regardless of the circumstances, Alter Bridge and Skillet pushed through. The new hard rock team-up took flight on their co-headlining tour at MECU Pavilion, with radio darlings Dirty Honey as support.
The evening started off with a bang from Dirty Honey, whose debut single, âWhen Iâm Gone,â recently shot up to the top spot on the US rock radio charts! That number-one song status may sound sweet, but the Los Angeles quartetâs live performance was loaded with spice!
As drummer Corey Coverstone pounded with all his might from his drumset, his bandmates explored every inch of the stage. Singer Marc LaBelle and guitarist John Notto stood on platforms beyond the stageâs edge for howls or solos, respectively! Bassist Justin Smolian reminded everyone that bassists can also give Eddie Van Halen a run for his money, as he took the bass strings for a tap-happy joyride on the fretboard during âScars.â
Evoking the wild live vibes of Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, and the band on LaBelleâs t-shirt, Guns Nâ Roses, the tracks from the young quartetâs self-titled EP felt twice as raw and soulful in-person. âI know Baltimore’s ready to get dirty!â LaBelle shouted with excitement as the band launched into their aforementioned #1 hit. Closing with âRolling 7âs,â Dirty Honey left the stage with an atmosphere hotter and heavier than the humid leftovers of summer that hung in the harbor air.
Next up were Skillet, who, to some fans in attendance, mightâve seemed like an unlikely partner for Alter Bridge to pick for their first-ever co-headlining tour. Both bands share an affinity for metal-tinged rock, as well as the coveted title of âPRS Artistâ for their guitarists, but the pair of rock quartets differ greatly concerning spiritual subject matter. Alter Bridge, after 15 years together, still find themselves having to say ânoâ when asked if they are a âreligiousâ band. In contrast, Skilletâs double-decade-long discography is a go-to for Christian rock fans around the world.
As unorthodox as the team-up mightâve seemed on paper, it certainly made for a wild ride in-person! Skilletâs performance was a feast for the eyes and ears, leaving no second on-stage without something to entertain the crowd. Fierce growls from the guitars of Seth Morrison (lead) and Korey Cooper (rhythm, keys, synths) rang in the air! Meanwhile, drummer/singer Jen Ledger and lead singer/bassist John Cooper exchanged grooves and vocal melodies.
Visually, the band brought everything to Baltimore! While eight screens lit up the stage with strobe-like flashes and bold graphics, booming COâ cannons suddenly appeared on John Cooperâs arms during âYou Ainât Ready!,â a headbanger from their latest album, Victorious. Ledger even stepped out from behind her drumset to sing the soft, synth-and-string-backed intro to âAwake and Aliveâ with Cooper. When Ledger made her way back to her drums, both guitarists were atop platforms next of her, rising slowly towards the heavens.
Skilletâs 13-song-set clocked in at about an hour long, with every moment filled with fiery riffs and heroic themes. To those in the audience who werenât self-proclaimed âPanheadsâ before their set began, they were hungry for more by its end.
Even though Myles Kennedyâs golden vocals likely felt to him like theyâd been plated with bronze for the night, Alter Bridge still gave everything they could as the final act. The foursome opened their set with their lead single from their new album, Walk the Sky, âWouldnât You Rather,â to introduce those outside of the âArmy of 12â to the riffs and rhythms that the band had to offer.
Lead guitarist and part-time vocalist Mark Tremonti, with a shark-toothed grin, shredded on his PRS Signature Artist guitars without mercy! Kennedy, while cautiously staying in his lower register to preserve his voice, made the wise choice to put his guitar-playing in the spotlight as he slayed his solos in âIsolationâ and âBlackbird.â
The frontman also added a jazzy improvised solo before his Spanish-style intro to âCry of Achilles,â with bassist Brian Marshall encouraging the crowd to clap along. Marshall shined all on his own moments later during his âAchillesâ bass solo. Drummer Scott âFlipâ Phillips supported his thunder brother, coming in to accent key staccato beats. Alter Bridge is best known for their dueling guitarists, but without the rhythm sectionâs foundation, that bridge would crumble.
The set from AB in Baltimore ended a bit shorter than originally expected due to the lead singerâs illness. Kennedy, wearing sunglasses he typically saves for sunny festivals, explained that he woke up âsick as a dog!â that morning. He then prompted a last-minute setlist switcheroo, handing Tremonti lead vocal duties on âWaters Rising.â Fan-favorite âMetalingusâ was also cut from the set entirely.
While Alter Bridge likely felt their first flight on the Victorious Sky Tour wasnât ideal, the fans supported their efforts! The sing-alongs in âRise Todayâ and set-closer âOpen Your Eyesâ were definite highlights of the night, as the band smiled with pride in response.
The Victorious Sky Tourâs premiere showcased three distinctly-diverse flavors of American rock to the Inner Harbor. By the nightâs end, Baltimore fans had one thing left to say: âCome back!â
Post, interview, and photo by Elizabeth Owens
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The post Photos l Review: Alter Bridge, Skillet, and Dirty Honey at MECU Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland appeared first on Concert Crap.