Alice in Chains - European Tour 2009, Vienna, Austria

by Wintertale

image - see following caption
Photo: Wintertale / StudioRock

Three years passed since I saw Alice In Chains for the first time live. Though I did not have the luck to see them with Layne Staley and I knew their music only from CDs I must say I was really nice surprised how good William DuVall managed to perform the songs that influenced the grunge in 90's. On that time they had no new songs and also the future of the band was very uncertain. When I realized they are coming to Vienna to support their new album “Black Gives Way To Blue” with William as ordinary band member, I could not resist and went to see them again full of expectations.

The gig that was completely sold out took place in Gasometer, huge building that was in the past used as storage for gas. From there seems to come the name of the place :-). When you enter inside there is huge wardrobe on the right side of the main entrance and little bit more far are starting round corridors with bars around the hall where the gigs are taking place. In these corridors are several gates that look like are being used to enter to the hall including one with screen above where you can find out what and when is happening inside. It's natural a lot of people that were there never before are expecting this is the main entrance and are gathering in front of it waiting the gig to start. This is really confusing because there are two entrances to the hall on each end of the round corridor down the stairs without any sings to tell you this. On the first look you can think it's exit to garages or something like. Like this we missed first two songs of the gig with a lot of other people that were there for the first time as we did.

The hall itself is big enough to host such an event. It has round shape with two long bars on both sides. Lights and sound the in hall are very good only if you stay on the edge, close to the bar, the sound is becoming not very clear due to position and alignment of the reproducers on the sides of the stage that is smaller than the hall. Although you can enter with small compact photo camera for the professional one you need accreditation. What surprised me a little was that after third song (first for us as we missed two songs due to issues with orientation in the new terrain :-)) I was guided from the photopit directly to the wardrobe where I and all other photographers had to leave cameras.

Alice In Chains started exactly on announced time without any support band before them. They started their great vortex with “Rain When I Die”, “Them Bones” and “Dam That River” without any break in-between. The band seemed to me relaxed, confident and really enjoying their performance. It's a pleasure to come to see the band that really likes and enjoys what is doing. From the very beginning they proved very clear they do not need any support band to warm-up the audience as they managed it from the first tones. The playlist was very well balanced between new and old songs. Maybe some orthodox fans will not agree but for me they created the atmosphere like there were no seven or eight years break or even major change in the line-up.

Except the excellent sound and professional performance of William DuVall, Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez and Sean Kinney the atmosphere emphasized with a great production that was running on the stage during the gig. After the vigorous “Again”, “Your Decision”, “Check My Brain”, “Love, Hate, Love”, “A Looking In View” and “It Ain't Like That” came a small break when three chairs appeared on stage and we could enjoy an acoustic versions of “Down in a Hole”, “No Excuses” and “Black Gives Way To Blue”. Not only to praise all I have to mention that also some technical problems appeared right after the acoustic part of the performance. That reminded me their gig I saw three years ago because also then Jerry was the “lucky” one with the technical stuff. Fortunately William managed to turn it to a joke so at the end it was not a big deal.

The final part of the gig belonged to classic “Sickman”, brand new “Acid Bubble” followed by “Angry Chair”. After last “Man in the Box” the band disappeared from the stage to enjoy pretty long and quite loud encore break to return back on the stage for a while with two more classics “Would?” and “Rooster” and left the stage for good with promise to come back soon. Let’s hope the guys will keep it and we will be able to see them again much earlier than in another three or even seven years :-).

Playlist: Rain When I Die/ Them Bones/ Dam That River/ Again/ Your Decision/ Check My Brain/ Love, Hate, Love/ A Looking In View/ It Ain't Like That/ Down in a Hole (acoustic)/ No Excuses (acoustic)/ Black Gives Way To Blue (acoustic)/ Sickman/ Acid Bubble/ Angry Chair/ Man in the Box/ Would?/ Rooster/