Sometimes there are shows that are hyped and you wonder if the show will live up to the expectations. That is never a problem when Alice in Chains comes to town. It was a very nice night in Anaheim, and the crowd came out to welcome AIC to the House of Blues.
Immediately as I entered the venue, I knew this would be a ruckus night. The line for merch was insanely long, and the entire joint was a buzz. That was good and not so good, because the opener was Atlanta-based Royal Thunder.
As they took the stage, concertgoers rushed in to take their places, but because of the mega-merch line, some were not able to catch their entire set. Fortunately a good number saw them by way of the video monitors set up throughout the HOB. The band sounded great, looked great, and kicked it into gear with their progressive psychedelic rock sound.
The band is touring in support of their June 2023 album, “Rebuilding the Mountain,” and the crowd that did make it to the main room was treated to a very dynamic performance that was more than appropriate for a band of the stature of AIC.
Surprisingly, the road crew went to work, and it did not take long for the stage to be ready for Alice in Chains. With a great light show in tow, the silhouettes of the band became evident, and the crowd went off.
The spotlight shined on lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell and then rhythm guitarist William DuVall as they opened to “Again,” followed by “Check My Brain.” I have been fortunate enough to have seen AIC in the past, and these Seattle juggernauts of rock were amped for this show. They sounded more electric, or maybe it was just the electricity in the air, as all I could think to myself was, “Wow, wow, wow! They sound great!”
As the lights dimmed for a second, DuVall expressed the band’s gratitude to all that attended as they segued into “Them Bones,” then “Dam the River,” before they pumped up the crowd for “Angry Chair.”
A surreal spotlight moment hit us all as the bass and guitar riff for “Man in a Box” overtook us all, and the crowd lost its mind. DuVall and Cantrell were masterful, as were Sean Kinney on drums and Mike Inez on bass.
The band did a great mix of classic songs and new ones. The onslaught of their epic catalog included “Down in a Hole,” “The One You Know,” “Your Decision,” “Never Fade,” “Nutshell,” “Hollow,” and “Sludge Factory.”
The entire night was filled with electrifying music which was supported by Cantrell and DuVall’s engagement with the crowd and brought their sound to life.
Then again, no AIC show would be complete without the soundtrack to our ‘90s life. The crowd could not restrain their excitement once the notes hit us that we were taking in “Would!”
Oddly, even as the show was over, there was still a good-sized line for merch. That tells the story right there.
This band means a lot to so many for so many different reasons, and being able to touch their greatness, even for an hour and 38 minutes was worth the wait in any line, before or after the show.