I had been looking forward to the end of March since I heard that Alkaline Trio and Against Me! were touring together. Took off early from work and go on I-40 West towards Las Vegas, after dealing with traffic over Hoover Dam and finding my way through the schtzophrenic inhabitants of Las Vegas, I arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino about 45 minutes before the show started. There was a ton of people already standing in line in between slot machines and poker tables; having never been to "The Joint", I had no idea where to go, so I wandered around the casino like a lost puppy and finally saw a 21+ line and made it into the hall. This place is probably one of the biggest venues indoor venues I've ever been in. Making my way to the cavernous back bar, I picked up a beer and headed down near the stage and impatiently waited the 25 minutes before the 8 P.M. start time (a word of advice, if you are planning on attending this show, Against Me! goes on right on the scheduled start time).
A barricade was set up, and this was the first time I've seen AM! from behind one of these. The stage setup was standard for AM!; however, they had a pretty cool horse/bird banner hanging behind the setup (also a first for me). As soon as the lights went down, there was a loud response from the crowd; I noticed however that the peeps around me seemed to have taken a valium before the show, and stared vacantly as Tom, Jeff, James, and Warren came on stage to the sound of "A Brief Yet Triumphant Intermission." Without a word of introduction the band launched into their set. Against Me! has never been a band to dissapoint me, so it was great to see them play a really long set -- around 45 to 50 minutes. During the first couple of songs, Tom seemed to be getting pissed about some technical difficulties and not being able to hear the bass in the monitor. After the tech issue had been resolved, the dudes continued with their set. The band sounded incredibly tight, despite the fact that it looked like James was pretty sick and in some pain. Their set consisted of a smorgasboard of all their released material, but it leaned towards their recent two full-lengths, which was really nice to hear. But like always, there are more songs that I wish they'd played. A simple "thank you, and goodnight" signaled the end of a great set.
In no particular order, here are most of the songs from Against Me!'s set; I apologize if I forgot a couple of songs, but I didn't get a setlist:
- Cliche Guevara
- Unprotected Sex With Multiple Partners
- Don't Loose Touch
- From Her Lips To God's Ears
- Even At Our Worst, We're Still Better Than Most
- Sink Florida, Sink
- Cavalier Eternel
- You Look Like I Need A Drink
- I Still Love You Julie
- Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious
- Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
- (An un-named new song that sounds really strong)
After a 30-minute set change, the house lights went down and the red stage lights went on as the Alkaline Trio banner was unfurled. I was holding towards the back of the front level, but as soon as the first chord of "Cringe" came on, I rushed forward...and the rest is fuzzy in my mind. This was the best set I've ever seen Alkaline Trio play. Matt and Dan's voices held on during an almost hour-and-a-half set. The band just sounded on top of their game, and it was really good to hear, since the past few times I've seen them has been hit or miss. The Alkaline Trio that I saw play on Friday is the band I've wanted to see live ever since I first heard them. It was an incredible set, and even songs off of Crimson
sounded really good. The show dynamic followed this path: playing Goddamnit
in its entirety, an acoustic interlude of about 6 songs shared between Matt and Dan (and Derek even played some acoustic guitar as well), and then a bunch of other stuff picked from the rest of their albums. The crowd interaction was really good, and Matt was constantly saying hello to people he knew that had made it to the show, at one point even having the the crowd sing happy birthday to someone named Jerry. The notorious 4th to the trio came out and Matt introduced him as being Irish, but for the life of me, I can't remember his name. The band just seemed to be having a great time, and it was great to watch. Towards the end of the show, Matt was talking a bunch, and he seemed to be in a really good mood. He thanked the crowd for the best show that the band had ever played in Vegas, and he dedicated "This Could Be Love" to "each and every one of you."
The first part of the set list is pretty easy, but I'll try and tell you most of the other songs in no particular order; I think I got most of them, but then again it was a fuzzy night:
- San Francisco
- Nose Over Tail
- As You Were
- Enjoy Your Day
- My Little Needle
- Southern Rock
- Message From Kathleen
- Trouble Breathing
- Sorry About That
- Blue in the Face
- Good Fucking Bye
- Private Eye
- She Took Him to the Lake
- Mercy Me
- This Could Be Love
- Dead and Broken
- All on Black
- If You Had a Bad Time
- Back to Hell
- Radio [closer]
One final observation/suggestion if you go see this tour: Don't yell "PLAY 'RADIO!'" The band is going to close with it, don't worry.
This is an awesome tour package. Alkaline Trio and Against Me! are both on top of their game and I definitely recommend seeing it.