An intimate evening with Myles Kennedy barely a couple of weeks after his debut solo album is out, led to one of the most sought-after tickets of the year. Selling out in minutes with only the lead single in the wild, the promise of hearing songs from most (not all) facets of Kennedy’s career in a stripped-back format meant it was going to be a good night.
With doors opening earlier than usual, it’s not long before Glasgow’s Garage is already full. After proceedings are opened by Holiday Oscar, Kennedy takes to the stage with “Devil on the Wall”’s ethereal opening playing over the PA before he launches into the song itself. Immediately after, Kennedy shows how diverse he’s intent on making the set, digging out “Standing in the Sun” from Apocalyptic Love, its acoustic rendition given extra groove and showing how much he’s tinkered with it but still recognisably being the “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators” song from its intro. “Before Tomorrow Comes” shows the power and inspiration Alter Bridge lyrics have, again, not one which is played all that often nowadays. However, it’s the next song which stuns Kennedy and indeed, the rest of the room.
The Mayfield Four’s “Eden (Turn the Page)” has a portion of the crowd singing the chorus back to Kennedy and he can’t believe it by the end of the song. From the first four songs, it shows how diverse Kennedy’s career has been and how this tour was for die-hard fans, not only by going into the archives like The Mayfield Four (songs I never thought I’d hear live) but by hitting deep cuts and favourites side-by-side. By the time the half-way point is hit, barely any Year of the Tiger has been aired but given what he’s played so far, they’re not overly missed. However, “Haunted By Design” and the slide guitar-heavy “Blind Faith”, the latter powered by his resonator guitar after doubling up as lap steel.
The second and final song from The Mayfield Four comes with “Mars Hotel” and as Kennedy explains with his effortless charisma how it wasn’t his finest moment lyrically, he gives a look halfway through the song. Whilst it would have been good to hear something from Fallout such as “Suckerpunch” or “Forfeit”, beggars aren’t about to be choosers. “Show Me a Leader”, Alter Bridge’s snipe to the lack of inspirational leaders in the world right now, is given a funky makeover and one of their most metal moments has been transformed into a completely new version of the protest song. It also speak volumes about his ability to capture an audience, even when speaking, he can talk about being a drum major in a high school marching band (“Cut your fucking hair”), that people are willing to listen to his lengthy banter.
Meanwhile “Watch Over You” is acted out just as it would at an Alter Bridge gig and with that Robert Johnson song (you know the one I mean), Kennedy follows it with “World on Fire” on his resonator once more. Whilst not the breakneck pace delivered on the album of the same name, it still has the crowd roaring their approval and singing it with Kennedy word perfect. “Open Your Eyes” and “Year of the Tiger” signals the end of the night (pre-encore) and with the latter’s borderline Zeppelin feel, it’s a raucous end to the night despite the acoustic nature of the evening.
Grandiose “Love Can Only Heal” brings Kennedy back to the stage and “Addicted to Pain” closes the show. The night is a perfect portrait of Myles Kennedy’s prowess as a frontman that without flinching, he can command a crowd of 700 with just himself and a couple of acoustic guitars. It also speaks volumes of his material that it manages to hold the attention of all those people for more than an hour and a half and the fact he can still hit the notes of his early career, shows how his voice has ripened like a fine wine, handling the early 00s material with as much finesse as when he recorded those songs.
Whilst it would have been great to get an even earlier Mayfield Four song or even teased something from Citizen Swing, everything else was well serviced. Naturally, some of the songs found on the solo album are hard to replicate in a live environment, the fact he didn’t go heavy handed with it and say “Fuck it, I’ll chuck in some old stuff,” it spoke to the most die-hard fans in the room. Revamping older material brought fresh life to songs I’ve lived with for years, a grin never far from my face and during the most sombre moments, I’m sure I can’t be the only one with goose-bumps (for me it was “Eden…”).
The tour may be half-over now (and a Ramblin’ Man appearance in the summer) and sold out but those who are still to go are in for a treat and I’m sure those who will be lucky enough to go will agree, it’ll take something on a whole other level to top what Myles Kennedy managed on this night.
Photos (c) Moshville Times