By Dan Potter
Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver BC
April 10, 2019
Switching up the classic Alice in Chains live experience by demoting the monster stacks of guitar and bass amps in the background for huge lighting rigs instead was the defining choice of the evening. Mirroring their recent venture into the sci-fi realm, this light show at times made it seem as if the band were performing in the upper chambers of an alien spacecraft.
Bathing in orange radiating from the massive floodlights, the audience would witness an Alice in Chains still in a state of growth. The fire within to perform was on full display as Mike Inez made an example out of his bass, pummelling it just inches away from faces in the front row. William Duvall, who never stayed in the same place twice, strode the stage reaching skyward as if to rip inspiration from the heavens to use in his wailing vocal performance.
From the opening dissonance of “The One You Know,” the emotional heaviness of AIC’s vast catalogue came alive in spirit. The atmosphere would only get heavier as the glaring light boxes flipped around mid-set to reveal massive video screens. As oblique images swept across the stage an emotionally riveting tribute to Layne Staley and Mike Starr played out in the form of “Nutshell” where Jerry Cantrell cooked up some heartfelt guitar solos.
Nearing the end of a lengthy encore the venue seemed transformed into a giant intergalactic beer hall. As everyone screamed, “If I would, could you?” it was made conclusive; the gravitational pull Alice in Chains music still elicits is undeniably heavy.alice in chains, Queen Elizabeth Theatre