By: Connor Lenahan
Today is a fun day. Today I will be traveling with my girlfriend, Laura LaBrecque, to Worcester, MA, to go see Alter Bridge. This quartet of world class musicians is, without a doubt, one of the bet rock bands alive and performing today. The interesting part about this designation is how they are still, after ten years together, relatively unknown in the United States.
The individual members would be recognizable for other projects. This is indeed true of lead guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips. This trio has been together for quite some time. You would better know them as 3/4ths of Creed. After Creed dissipated years ago the three stayed together and recruited the lead singer from The Mayfield Four, Myles Kennedy, to take the microphone. They called themselves Alter Bridge. The came out swinging with 2004’s One Day Remains, a great debut album.
But I didn’t discover Alter Bridge until years later. It wasn’t until 2007 that, while watching VH1 one morning, I caught the music video for “Ties That Bind.” This furiously fast song opened my eyes wide when I was a tiny thirteen year old. I was sold immediately. I needed more. I went and picked up the album “Ties That Bind” appears on, Blackbird, and never looked back. That album has for the last seven years been firmly entrenched as one of my favorite albums in history. I still listen to every track with regularity. In fact, earlier this year when I devised my “Bracket of Me” to determine my favorite song ever the title track “Blackbird” made the championship matchup. I entirely believe that “Blackbird” is one of the most beautiful musical compositions ever conducted.
Over the next seven years Alter Bridge came out with two more albums that I love in AB III and Fortress in 2010 and 2013 respectively. These two marked darker turns for the band. A more introspective look on the lives of Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy. They remain some of the more incredible works that I’ve listened to of the past half decade. Especially when Myles makes a play for the best lead singer alive with “Breathe Again” and Mark Tremonti shows that he can really sing on “Waters Rising.”
One thing remained through my fandom of Alter Bridge, however. I didn’t have the chance to see them live. It’s not as if they were around me and I was busy or unable to get a ride. Alter Bridge did not really tour the United States much if at all for the seven years that I have been listening to them. They are a gargantuan band overseas, selling out venues that seat tens of thousands. They do not have the same draw stateside. It’s unfortunate, because of a different era Alter Bridge would be the biggest stadium rock band in the country by far.
But then this past April I finally got to see Alter Bridge in concert. In the small Royale nightclub here in Boston I got to see the quartet that has been a giant part of my life for the past seven years. The concert was amazing beyond words. I got everything I ever wanted out of an Alter Bridge show and more. The guys owned the stage like the rock stars they absolutely are.
But that wasn’t what made the night perfect.
I happened to sit up in the balcony for the show to avoid being trampled with my wheelchair. I just so happened to be sitting next to the wife of Myles Kennedy the entire time. Near the end of the set I turned to her and passed her a note via my phone. I told her about how I have been listening to Alter Bridge for years now. I mentioned that during the long days and nights I spent at home recovering from broken bones during that period that Alter Bridge was always there for me. They kept me company when I really needed it. Thanks to that I look at Myles, Mark, Brian, and Scott as heroes. They made dark days brighter. Mrs. Kennedy hugged me and talked to me about the show. She also told me that she wanted to get me a little something once the show was over. She ducked backstage only to return with this:
A signed copy of the setlist from everyone in the band and guitar picks from both Myles and Mark. I was almost in tears. This was and remains one the the best nights of my life. And tonight I get to do it again. Tonight I get to go see Alter Bridge at the top of their game in concert. Hopefully I’ll also be able to run into Mrs. Kennedy and tell her how she made me love the band even more, even though I thought that was impossible. Tonight is going to be amazing. I cannot wait.