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Alice In Chains at The Pearl
in Las Vegas, NV
July 18, 2015

It has been twenty-four years since I last laid eyes on Alice In Chains. A lot has happened in this amount of time. The death of Layne Staley and Mike Starr, Jerry Cantrell’s solo project, and reforming AIC with vocalist/guitarist William DuVall. I was heartbroken by the loss of Layne and Mike, whose bass playing is an inspiration to me. It took some time to get used to the fact that the show must go on. As Metallica carries on without Cliff Burton, Alice In Chains carries on without Layne Staley and Mike Starr.

DuVall has been driving the powerful vocal duties since ’06 and Inez (who has played for Ozzy and Black Label Society) has been slinging the bass for AIC since ‘93. Tonight, at the Pearl Concert Theater inside The Palms Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, the boys who helped shape the grunge movement bring that slow burn to an inferno and “The Three Stooges”, my two older brothers and me, are here to enjoy it.

No opening band and no introduction, Alice In Chains casually walk onto the stage as the techs hand Mike and Jerry their guitars. Everyone is electrified as they punch through the first few songs. I wish I could tell you the titles, but as I was in the photo pit it’s hard to keep track of what’s playing when you’re dodging photographers trying to get the perfect shot.

I will say that we didn’t have to wait long for “Man in the Box.” I was on my way to my seat when I heard the opening chords. Luckily I made it before the guitar solo and got to enjoy the jazzy overtones, before they leaned into the violence of “Them Bones.” If you haven’t heard the DIRT record, you need to immerse yourself in these rhythms.

When it came time to play “Rooster,” they let the crowd die down to a dull silence before going into the soulful intro. This is one of their most powerful and emotional songs on the DIRT record. Cantrell wrote it about his dad who is a Vietnam Vet, and all the crap he went through in and out of the service. My hat is off to all the men and women in the service, many, many thanks.

“Everyone is electrified as they punch through the first few songs.”

This was a very emotional show for me. When my friend Danny died, I played the DIRT album over and over, it fit my mood and my anger. So if you know this record, you know my angst and what I felt when they played the songs ‘Down in a Hole,” “Angry Chair,” and from Jar of Flies, “No Excuses.”

It was a little over two hours of hit after sullen hit. Some people tend to say that the grunge movement was songs mainly about, “poor me” and “I’m so down I wanna kill myself.” What they don’t know, is that’s what the blues are all about. Bands like; Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney, just did it with a different sound.

Ending the show with another classic from the Facelift album, “We Die Young” drove the crowd into a frenzy. DuVall channeled his inner Layne on this one because it sounded just like the Alice In Chains of 1991. My brothers and I, after standing all night, lost our minds during this last song. From the lyrics to the songwriting, this was a great song to end with.

No curtain call, no encore, and no overdrawn good-bye. Alice In Chains simply meandered their way across the stage tossing guitar picks and waving as they disappeared behind the back drop.

Special thanks to Mr. Michael Moses at Alice In Chains management and Alissa Kelly at PR Plus for the photo pass, and my big brother Art for scoring us the tickets to this awesome display of melancholy madness.

Tim Duran, HMS

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