All credit must go out to whoever put this bill together because, as far as value for money tour packages goes, this tour certainly packs together three great and very different support acts together with one class headliner something very few tours do these days.
Sadly, New Zealand band Into The Fire have been and gone before we're even close to getting into the Arena so our first port of call is classy progressive French metallers Gojira who, despite admitting they might be a little heavy for a good slice of the crowd, most definitely have a good smattering of fans within the arena. It's technically flawless with not a note dropped as the band pummel the earlier fans with their brutal, hypnotic metal. A day later the band "officially" announced a Leeds date for their headline tour next March, on this evidence you'd be a fool to miss it.
Danish rockers Volbeat just love being on stage. Outside the arena, Christmas parties are going on all over the country while, here, at the First Direct Arena, the Danes are guaranteeing this Friday night has the party to end all parties. They blast through the likes of "Sad Mans Tongue" with their Johnny Cash meets rockabilly brand of metal most definitely having more than a few fans in attendance while inviting Napalm Death frontman Barney Greenway up for "Evelyn" before raging through Napalm Death's "You Suffer" is a stroke of genius. Their night ends with the band bringing up a good few fans on stage as they sign off the final night of this UK tour in chaotic style.
Earlier in the day we asked Scott from Alter Bridge if he felt the band were ready to step to the next level when the big hitters of the hard rock genre (Aerosmith etc.) called it a day. Freshly announced as special guests to Aerosmith at the 2017 Download Festival, Scott said he didn't feel they were just yet but, on the evidence of tonight, we beg to differ. Alter Bridge are a class act and, judging by this arena show, surely festival headline slots are just around the corner.
In Myles Kennedy they have a frontman who oozes class and has a great voice to match while in Mark Tremonti they have a guitarist who can just shred. Unsurprisingly, the Leeds crowd goes batshit from the moment the band hit the stage but, judging by social media reports, this has been the case across the country so why expect anything different here in Yorkshire on this December Friday night.
Supporting new album The Last Hero, Alter Bridge brought the tour to a fantastic finale as the likes of crowd favourite such as "Blackbird" brought the roof down while acoustic renditions of "Wonderful Life" and "Watch Over You" sent a shiver down your spine as Myles Kennedy brought the kind of intimacy to proceedings that you simply don't get in Arenas.
The night ended with a thumping rendition of "Rise Today" with Myles Kennedy and Co again raising the roof as they signed off their latest UK tour in superb fashion. If you didn't have a ticket this time around, make sure you're there in June when the band make Download Festival their own.