Video: Alice in Chains Perform Man In The Box Live Sao Paulo, Brazil

Comeback kids of grunge, Alice in Chains, still put on a hell of a rock show in 2014. They released Black Gives Way To Blue in 2009 and the 5 years on tour have done them wonders. Lead singer William DuVall is coming into his own as a performer and vocalist which compliments the rest of the *almost* original AIC line-up of Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney, and Mike Inez.

It has been 21 years since I last saw Alice in Chains perform live (geez, I’m old), and obviously circumstances have changed since that time. The band went quiet for a number of years as Layne Staley continued to battle his drug addiction, and when he died in 2002 the dark and depressing Dirt became all too real to listen to. Fuck, we lost another great musician.

Cantrell went off and released a few solo albums with help from Kinney and Inez, and they played the odd reunion performance as Alice in Chains. It wasn’t until 2008 that there was talk they were working on a new album with a permanent new singer of DuVall in tow.

Black Gives Way To Blue was a respectable album release featuring the droney Check My Brain and the melancholic Black Gives Way To Blue which was dedicated to Staley. 2013 saw the release of Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and the second DuVall album received further acclaim with tracks like Stone and Hollow.

I had been quietly reserving my judgement about AIC mark II as I hold Dirt up as classic and neither of the new releases come close for me. I don’t even rate Facelift and Alice in Chains (aka Tripod) as coming close to Dirt. Jar of Flies/SAP – yes sir, you pass the test.

So, how was I going to enjoy Alice in Chains 2.0 live? Well luckily, my hopes weren’t set too high. I did see Alice in Chains circa 1993 and while I hadn’t been to many gigs by that point, the band came across as good, but not great.

Not only did their support act Suicidal Tendencies blow them off stage, but Staley seemed to be affected by whatever he had taken that evening so his voice and timing weren’t that amazing. We seriously doubted he would make it to the end of the hour plus show as his voice broke up as the show continued.

Kinney left the stage in a huff towards the end of the show, and it was obvious some in-fighting was going on with the band. There was a long pause before the band returned on stage for an encore and Cantrell pushed them through by playing Rooster. Despite the cries of the entire crowd, we didn’t even get to hear Would? 

Anyway, returning you back to 2014, nuevo Alice in Chains are shit hot. They played at the Palace Theatre on 27 February 2014 to a very appreciative crowd, similar to the fans in gay abandon in the Rock in Rio clip above, I personally haven’t heard a live sing-a-long of this fashion for several years.

They opened with Them Bones for godsakes, that takes balls. Dam That River straight after. By Man in the Box I realise how impressive DuVall’s voice is sounding since he first was released into the grunge wild. You try power singing the “Feed my eyes” chorus and see how long it takes your lungs to conk out. Unless you are Mike Patton and you don’t know it, I give you until the third chorus (my iron lungs died at the second).

Check My Brain, Hollow and Stone were able to show DuVall and Cantrell as a formidable team. But No Excuses and Nutshell (upon request from Phil Anselmo’s of Pantera/Down rocking out sidestage) allowed the team of their melodies to really shine.

Could the reformed Alice in Chains have more energy than the one I witnessed in their heyday 21 years ago? Yes, indeedy.

Bloody hell, Cantrell turns 48 years old in a few weeks time (followed soon by Kinney and Inez)! With a sprightly DuVall at 46 years… they have clearly found the fountain of youth that Michael Jackson was trying to get a hold of.

And they weren’t too tired to play Would? this time around. I must look up what superfoods they are eating…

Alice in Chains Setlist:

  • Them Bones 
  • Dam That River 
  • A Little Bitter 
  • Man in the Box 
  • Check My Brain 
  • Hollow 
  • Phantom Limb 
  • Nutshell 
  • No Excuses 
  • A Looking in View 
  • We Die Young 
  • Stone 
  • Rooster

Encore:

  • Got Me Wrong 
  • Again 
  • Would?

Did you enjoy the Spanish translation of Man in the Box? Si, senor! Go forth and see them live in US and Europe before July!

Alice in Chains Live at Brisbane Soundwave Festival 2014, Source: https://www.facebook.com/aliceinchains

Alice in Chains Live at Brisbane Soundwave Festival 2014, Source: https://www.facebook.com/aliceinchains

Further Exploration:

Previously on Sampling Station:

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About noisynoodle

I am a noisy noodle hailing from Melbourne, Australia who loves listening to noise in all forms, but preferably in music, TV and film. I’ve moonlighted on community radio at SYN-FM many years ago when I was still a “youth”. My mission is to promote live music (get off your bum and see something!), highlight interesting TV shows that are ignored by the ratings, expose some cool films and to not go deaf trying!

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