Rising (to change this world) with Alter Bridge at The Wiltern
They played Cry of Achilles, which was a surprise: it's a really difficult song to pull off live.
They played Blackbird and Ghost of Days Gone By, both of which are favorites.
They put the slowly-building and apocalyptic Slip to the Void into the setlist, for the first time in ages. In a previous tour, they had begun concerts with it. It's even more unsettling just inserted into the middle of a show.
And they played their first single (from 2004), Open Your Eyes, which I think was part of a larger narrative they were telling with the setlist: a narrative that begins with the first song of the night being the anti-Trump tirade The Writing on the Wall, released at the end of 2016:
Don't tell us this is normal
Don't tell us there's no change
So selfish and immoral, you're to blame
For you're the great disrupter
So crass and out of line
Now tell me: who will suffer for all your crimes?
We are running out of time
There was a strong anti-Trump subplot through the whole show. I am sure they dropped in the rare Open Your Eyes for this stanza, because of how Myles stressed the vocals:
It's hard to walk this path alone
Hard to know which way to go
Will I ever save this day?
Will they ever change?
Will they open their eyes, and realize we are one?
At one point, Mark sang lead on one of the two songs he sings for the band, Waters Rising. It contains a stanza that has always resonated with me:
This is the season we tear our rivals down
This circle of tyrants will end us all right now
The earth has provided the means to burn it down
Well, don’t you see it now? Don’t you see it now?
But Mark turned the last line into a plea, in a way he's never done before: with anguish, he sang "Well, don't you see it now? Don't you see it NOW?!"
And instead of closing out the show with The Last Hero (which I expected, given that it's the title track of their most recent album and this is their "Last Hero Tour"), they closed with Rise Today. At the end, Myles led everyone in a chorus of repeating lines, letting the audience sing the lyrics:
Yeah, oh yeah, I'm gonna rise today and change this world!
Over and over we sang that line, and the subplot was complete. Everyone felt motivated to rise. Everyone felt motivated to change the world.
It was masterful and beautiful and I'm so glad we went.
Here is a bonus video that I took from my seat at the theater: