Alice In Chains, one of the most successful metal/grunge bands from the 90’s, made a stop at the Revel Casino’s Ovation Hall on Friday, May 9th, 2014.

They are touring in continued support of their Grammy nominated album, The Devil Puts Dinosaurs Here. This is only their fifth studio album since they exploded out of the gates during the Seattle grunge movement, alongside bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam.

Their current offering is the second album with vocalist/guitarist, William DuVall. DuVall has been with the band since 1996, replacing original singer Layne Staley, who had been plagued by drug problems. Staley’s drug use was the reason the band had become stagnant for years and it ultimately lead to his death in 2002.

Their newest album, released in May of 2013 was not only well received by fans but by critics as well, garnering some nice reviews from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and other media outlets. Staley’s death wasn’t the only tragedy to strike the band, they also lost original bassist, Mike Starr in 2011. He was replaced by current bassist Mike Inez. Rounding out the rest of the group are original members Jerry Cantrell (guitar) and Sean Kinney (drums).

Tonight’s crowd seemed very restless. Cantrell and band appeared on stage to a loud roar from the crowd. The first thing I noticed when they lit up the stage was the letters LSMS on Kinney’s drum bass. I thought it was a very classy move to pay homage to their fallen players, Layne Staley (LS) and Mike Starr (MS) and I’m sure their longtime fans appreciated the gesture, as there would be no escaping Staley’s presence tonight .

The 90-minute plus set list ripped through the bands discography and the show opened up with Them Bones and Dam That River, songs from the classic album Dirt.

The audience really came to life during the song Check My Brain, a lot of them now standing at this point. Some of the highlights of the night were Man In The Box and the sing-along No Excuses.

Their newer stuff , especially Stone and Hollow were standouts. The music tonight was exceptionally loud and so was the crowd.Things slowed down when they sang Nutshell, which they dedicated to Staley and Starr.

In between songs the band threw in a few teasers by playing the opening chords to famous songs such as Black Sabbath’s N.I.B. and a handful of others.  DuVall even went as far as singing a few lines from Zeppelin’s Over The Hill And Far Away. When he stopped suddenly there were cheers and then a collective groan in the audience; we all had the same thought… if only they had played it in its entirety.

The band seemed very playful tonight and garnered some laughs from the crowd when introducing their members to the audience. They introduced their guitarist this way…”In the 154th round of the NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks pick Jerry Cantrell.”

Their three-song encore included Angry Chair, Got Me Wrong, and Would. It was an exceptionally appreciative crowd tonight, the band definitely gave them their moneys worth.

Jerry Cantrell’s solo’s throughout the night were mind-blowing and so was the punishment Sean Kinney inflicted upon his drum set. I cannot say enough about William DuVall’s performance. Obviously it’s always hard when someone has to fill the shoes of an original lead singer but DuVall is the perfect fit. I can’t imagine anyone else taking on that role.

What made this band stand out in their early years has not changed. It wasn’t just their prowess as musicians but it was their very recognizable ‘trademark’ duel dark harmonies between Staley and Cantrell. The harmonies tonight with DuVall and Cantrell were eerily astonishing. The audience really responded to DuVall’s energetic stage presence. He is the perfect frontman for the second incarnation of this band.

There is a lot of money to be made by bands on the current ‘nostalgia’ tours we see coming through our cities. Some with a few original members and some with none at all. To be clear this is not one of ‘those bands’. And why not? Because Jerry Cantrell is still penning great rock songs, as evident by the success of their last two critically acclaimed albums. Duvall has been widely accepted by fans as their new lead singer and the band is still putting out relevant music, no doubt gathering up new fans along the way.

What an awesome crowd tonight in Atlantic City and a totally memorable evening with the one and only Alice in Chains. This is a must see tour. Here are the remaining dates.

5/12/14 -– Syracuse, N.Y. -– Landmark Theatre
5/13/14 -– Reading, Pa. -– Sovereign PAC
5/14/14 -– Roanoke, Va. -– Roanoke PAC
5/16/14 -– Huntington, W.V. -– Big Sandy Arena
5/17/14 -– Cincinnati, Ohio — Horseshoe Casino
5/19/14 -– Cleveland, Ohio -– Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
5/20/14 -– Battle Creek, Mich. -– Kellogg Arena
5/22/14 -– Elizabeth, Ind. -– Horseshoe Southern Indiana
5/23/14 -– Davenport, Iowa -– Adler Theatre
5/24/14 -– Council Bluffs, Iowa -– Harrah’s Stir Cove
8/08/14 — Penticton, British Columbia — S. Okahagan Centre
8/10/14 — Prince George, British Columbia — CN Centre
8/11/14 — Dawson Creek, British Columbia — EnCana Events Centre
8/13/14 — Lethbridge, Alberta — Enmax Centre
8/18/14 — Peoria, Ill. — Peoria Civic Center
8/19/14 — Indianapolis, Ind. — Murat Theatre
8/22/14 — Hamilton, Ontario — Copps Coliseum
8/23/14 — Rama, Ontario — Casino Rama

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