Live Reports   

Chains to Heaven

Artist : Alice In Chains
Venue : Bataclan, Paris
Date : 04-12-2009
Crowd : Around 1 500 people

This concert is an absolutely amazing event since it is the first time Alice In Chains have promoted an album since… 13 years ! That was in spring 1996, when they supported Kiss for four major concerts in American stadiums.

As a result, the Bataclan is of course sold out for this astonishing return to the stage by the band that pioneered grunge. It is three years since the first tour with their new singer, William DuVall, front man of Come With The Fall. He is the man who must succeed the absolute icon Layne Staley, who died of an overdose in April 2002.

William DuVall : now he has got class !

In order to reflect how big an event this is, the band decided that they wouldn’t need a supporting act for this tour. As a result, after over an hour’s wait, the four members of Alice In Chains arrive on stage and take it away with three tracks from Dirt: “Rain When I Die”, “Them Bones” and “Dam That River”. Definitely an efficient entrance!

On the last raging track, the pit goes completely insane. The sound is perfect, as it is powerful and clear at the same time. A huge screen displays images from behind the drums throughout the show, reinforcing the combo’s visual impact. As for William DuVall, for which the fans had very high expectations, he is doing an amazing job. There is no point at all in comparing him with Staley, because the late singer possessed a unique singing voice and charisma. Either way, DuVall is quite a singer. You can tell simply by listening to the way his vocals align during the difficult “Love, Hate, Love” from their first album, Facelift.

DuVall is also an energetic frontman, who seems at ease with the crowd and displays total support of his fellow band mates: Jerry Cantrell, vocals, guitar and brain for the band for the last twenty years, Mike Inez on bass (who is also great at singing the choruses from time to time) and Sean Kinney on the drums. Cantrell is omnipresent on vocals, especially on the tracks from the new album, during which he often takes centre stage with the mic stand, whereas DuVall stays behind, strumming his guitar and joining in the choruses.

It seems that Alice In Chains has become a band with two front men. This means that the stage is successfully occupied to the optimum and in various ways. The band then take a break for an acoustic set: Inez, DuVall and Cantrell take place on some stools to play “Your Decision”, the incredible hit “No Excuses” from their EP Jor Of Flies and “Black Gives Way To Blue” before which Cantrell introduces all of the band members and dedicates the track to “another Alice In Chains member”. We understand that he is referencing Layne Staley… of course.

Alice In Chains 2009 version

Slight disappointment for the hardcore fans, the great song « Down In A Hole » which was played on the previous nights, fails to make an appearance. It is clear that the band are refusing to be considered as a “revival” type band since they play a total of seven tracks from their latest, “Black Gives Way To Blue”. This is proof that Cantrell wants to look to the future nowadays and strongly believes in his new album. It’s hard to argue considering how good the album is.

Alice then get back to their electric instruments. Before coming back for the encores and playing two more major hits, they play “Would?” and “Rooster” also from Dirt. During the latter, images of Cantrell and his father, a Vietnam veteran, appear on the screen as they were his prime inspiration for “Rooster”.

It’s amazing to see just how happy Cantrell, Kinney and Inez appear to be on stage during each of the tracks. It has to be taken into account that for the last 15 years, the band have been moping about the death of Layne Staley, disabling them from getting on stage.

Staley is dead. But Alice In Chains are as alive as ever and Layne’s memory lives on today thanks to the music of this fantastic band.

Setlist :

Rain When I Die
Them Bones
Dam That River
Lesson Learned
Check My Brain
Love, Hate, Love
A Looking In View
Your Decision
No Excuses
Black Gives Way To Blue
It Ain’t Like That
Acid Bubble
We Die Young
Last of My Kind
Angry Chair
Man in the Box

Encores :


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