REVIEW: Alice In Chains at Beacon Theater

Seattle-based grunge-rock pioneers Alice In Chains took to the stage at New York City’s famed Beacon Theater for the final show of the first leg of their US tour on Tuesday, July 26th. Performing in front of what would ultimately be a packed house after a clown named Puddles departed, Alice In Chains belted out hit after hit for a good 90 minutes, with William DuVall, Jerry Cantrell and company sounding like it was opening night.

Now, let me preface this by saying I grew up with Alice In Chains during the hight of their popularity in the early 90’s, and for me, AIC will always be Layne Staley. There is absolutely no substitute for that man, and I wish I had been able to see them while he was alive; alas, my first concert experience came 5 years after Layne’s death, so I never got the chance to hear the man outside of the band’s CDs. That’s not intended to as a knock on William DuVall, though, because the dude can definitely belt out AIC’s classics, especially killing it on Them BonesMan in the Box and Would?

AIC kicked off the show with Hollow and Them Bones before playing their more recent hit, Check My Brain, a couple songs later.Halfway through their set or so, AIC went into a three-fer of some of my favorite songs ever, playing Angry Chair, Man in the Box and Heaven Beside You in succession, which was of course met with a massive ovation by the sellout crowd inside The Beacon. After playing a couple of their lesser known tracks (I say that because everyone knows their most popular songs, but only the most hardcore of fans would know their other material), they finally got the song that first got me into Alice In Chains way back in the 90’s, We Die Young off of 1990’s Facelift.

Of course, the band would play Got Me Wrong shortly before leaving the stage for a few brief moments only to return for an encore, but not before bringing their stage crew out to thank them for a job well done on this tour. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, AIC’s three-song encore consisted of Rooster, which will forever be my favorite Alice In Chains song, along with No Excuses and finally, Would? to close the show. The guys in Alice In Chains sure know how to squeeze 18 of their best tracks into 90 minutes of ass kicking rock, I’ll give them that.

I’ll also give them a nod for reviving the band after Layne’s death, and continuing to kick ass both in the studio and on stage. There are absolutely no theatrics in their show, it’s all about killer guitar riffs and almost non-stop hits, and they still do it well thanks to DuVall, who, for a guy who looks like he belongs in a funk band, has a surprisingly powerful voice and can definitely handle rock and grunge. There’s a reason he’s standing in for Staley, and Alice In Chains will continue in good hands. I only wish I had been able to see them years ago, but what I did get the chance to see on Tuesday night was one of Seattle’s best exports putting on a great show.

Check out the photo gallery below. Photos by Sean Murphy: