Alter Bridge, Shinedown and Halestorm – Nottingham Arena – 16th October 2013

Tonight was a gig I’d been looking forward to since tickets first went on sale – three great bands any of who would be worth seeing alone, playing together on one bill.


The night kicked off with Halestorm, who despite the early start (they were on stage at 7pm) played to an almost full arena.  They really got things off to a flying start with powerful versions of “Love bites (so do I)” and “Mz Hyde”.  With only a 25 minute set they didn’t spend much time chatting to the crowd but instead kept up a fast pace as they rocked their way through their set.  They included one cover version – “Dissident Aggressor”, a Judas Priest song, and surprisingly also included a drum solo, and although they kept it short it seemed an odd inclusion in such a short set.  Having said that, Arejay Hale has to be one of the most entertaining drummers around – he never stays still and is great fun to watch.  Ending with the slowest song of their set , “Here’s to us”, they closed their short but superb set on a high note.

Halestorm setlist:

Love bites (So do I)
Mz Hyde
Freak like me
Dissident aggressor
I miss the misery
Here’s to us

CZ2J3766Next up was Shinedown.  Halestorm were always going to be a hard act to follow, but Shinedown didn’t do themselves any favours – there were long pauses between songs, and they failed to keep a good momentum going.  Fairly early in the set Brent Smith jumped down from the stage and climbed up onto the crowd barrier where he shook hands with fans which was a nice touch.
They did a couple of acoustic songs starting with “Second chance”.  Then they played short bits of a couple of songs and after each singer Brent Smith gave a reason not to play that song before they eventually played a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” – and about time too given the shouts of “Play the bloody song” that were erupting from various parts of the crowd.  I’m sorry but this was not a good version of the song, and although I think Shinedown are a great band, the sooner they drop this awful cover version from the set the better.  Towards the end of the set they did pick up the pace a bit, ending with a great version of “Bully”.  Overall it was a good set and they went down really well with the crowd, but in my opinion it just failed to live up to the high standard set by Halestorm.


Shinedown setlist:

Sound of madness
I’ll follow you
Diamond eyes
If you only knew
Second chance
45/Simple man

Alter Bridge
Alter Bridge

Finally it was the turn of tonight’s headliners, Alter Bridge.  With a new album (Fortress) having been released I was hoping to hear some of the new material played live as it’s heavier sound seems perfect for a live show, and I certainly wasnt disappointed tonight – they kicked off with “Addicted to pain” from the new album, the first of five songs from the new album to get an airing tonight.  Right from the start they impressed musically, and their performance on stage was equally impressive.  They were very good at moving around the stage, but doing so without making a big deal of it like some bands do – here they just did it naturally.  Myles Kennedy had microphones set up both centre-stage and also to one side of the stage and used both regularly.  The set flowed smoothly with no delays or pauses other than the occasional bit of crowd interaction.

This really was a masterclass in how to put on a great rock show to keep an arena packed full of fans loving every second of it – they just made it look easy as they played great song after great song.

I’d expected tonight to be a good night, but it was better than I could have hoped – Shinedown were very good, but were outclassed by Halestorm, and then Alter Bridge just blew them both away with an outstanding performance.  One of the best tours of the year.

Alter Bridge setlist

Addicted to pain
White knuckles
Come to life
Before tomorrow
Farther than the sun
Brand new start
Cry of Achilles
Ties that bind
Broken wings
Cry a river
Rise today

Slip into the void
Open your eyes

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.