Alice In Chains © Naomi Dryden-Smith

Alice In Chains © Naomi Dryden-Smith

Wembley Arena rocked hard on Saturday to the very special sound of Alice In Chains supported by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Sophie Sparham was there.

If I asked you to name one of the most well-loved and inspirational bands of all times, Alice In Chains might not necessarily be the first band that comes to mind. However, they’ve more than earned their place up there as one of the bands that changed the sound of modern rock and roll.

Formed in 1987, Alice In Chains have released six studio albums, won multiple Grammy nominations and sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. Their die-hard international fan base spans the globe and tonight people have travelled from Spain, Italy, America and further just to watch them play at Wembley.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club start off proceedings playing their overtly cool American rock and roll to the audience. “This is f**king weird,” says lead singer, Peter Hayes, “We’re not using to seeing so many of you!” Despite his surprise, the band play a sterling setlist consisting of Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, In Like A Rose, and finishing with Spread Your Love.

BRMC © Naomi Dryden-Smith

As the last of the fans file in to the arena, Chains step on stage. There’s something extremely special about Alice in Chain’s sound that has attracted people to their shows for all these years. Their music is a beautiful mix of blues, grunge and metal with an almost psychedelic undertone. Their trade mark harmonies are beautifully executed by lead singer William DuVall and guitarist Jerry Cantrell.

Live, the band is captivating, completely enthralled in the music. Every note is executed perfectly, every guitar change, quick. This is what its like to watch true professionals at work.

Tonight both old and new fans are treated to a brilliant setlist. Chains play a perfect mix of tunes spanning their career, including No Excuses, Down in a Hole and Angry Chair to name but a few. After a flawless set, Chain finish with an encore starting with the opening track of their latest album The One You Know from Rainier Frog, encouraging the crowd to go wild one last time. The audience scream as the band break into Would? There is something magical about watching a stadium of sweaty rock fans punching the air and screaming “If I would, could you?” in time to the end of the song.

The band finishes with Rooster, one of their biggest and well-loved hits and fans sway together, lifting lighters for one last time. Looking back, I’ve got a feeling this is going to be one of those gigs when people say “I was there, I saw Alice in Chains at Wembley”.

Alice In Chains © Naomi Dryden-Smith

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All words by Sophie Sparham. More writing by Sophie can be found at their author’s archive. Sophie is also on twitter as @SophieSparham and has a website :

All photos © Naomi Dryden-Smith. Naomi’s stuff is here: Louder Than War | Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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  1. Nice write up, saw them last time out at the Aly Paly which was also an epic set and having read this I now have regrets for not attending this one

  2. I actually think that Rainier Frog is a better name for an album.

    Strong performance, but would have preferred a few more from the latest three albums. Two thirds of the tracks were from the pre-DuVall days.


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