Words by Max Falvey.
“This is a song that I wrote so that I could cry into my beer with my own song.” After going over two years without performing in front of a live audience, Alice In Chains’ frontman William Duvall took to The Green Room in Dublin’s Academy last night to (finally) kick off the European leg of his ‘One Alone’ tour. Stripped back from his usual routine of face-melting riffs and dark, daunting vocals, this was just one man and his acoustic guitar and an audience full of metalheads singing songs of love and loss, and it was beautiful.
Performing 16 songs in his longest setlist of any solo show to date, Duvall opened with a usual mix of his material from Comes With The Fall and Alice In Chains. ‘The 3 Wishes’ and ‘Strung Out On A Dream’ sound as stunning as ever in their acoustic forms, with a lot of Duvall’s material being quite heavy tracks reworked for this one man show. Duvall said he was ‘gonna do one little venture into Alice In Chains land’, but clarified that there would only be one song, which evoked a comedic groan from the crowd. As usual he performed ‘Never Fade’, his own written piece from Alice’s latest record, ‘Rainier Fog’. God, this song is brilliant acoustically. I always found this song to be quite generic, but Duvall’s isolated vocals ride beautifully off the acoustically shredded slidey riff.
Duvall seemed to settle once the first three songs were done, exhaling with relief and saying “Okay, we’re off and winning, two and a half years in the making!”, causing one member of the crowd to shout; “I lost my ticket!”. This perfectly sums up the vibe of this show, with William really bouncing off and engaging with the Irish crowd between songs. For example, before playing ‘The Veil Of All My Fears’, Duvall moodily prefixed it with; “This song is about betrayal”, which received a response of “Who was she?!”, which everyone including William laughed at.
Along with more Comes With The Fall material, Duvall performed a number of covers which included ‘Lady Stardust’ by Bowie, ‘Ballad Of Dorothy Parker’ by Prince, and ‘Seasons Of Wither’ by Aerosmith. I’m sure William himself didn’t expect the crowd to know the latter as after he strummed the final chord he said; “A little lesser known Aerosmith for you guys.” He also spoke candidly about the influence that Bowie and Prince had on him as a young man, but said that Phil Lynott was always his true hero. “I didn’t get to visit the Phil statue this time, but he’s here in spirit. You guys know this one?”, and he burst into ‘The Rocker’ by Thin Lizzy, and it was badass. The crowd only got to hear a single verse and chorus, but it was a nice unique moment for the Dublin show.
Then as the show was nearing the end, Duvall treated the crowd to a live debut of an acoustic rendition of ‘Blood Moon’, the hit song from his rock supergroup, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra. This received an almost shock and awe reaction from the crowd, who appreciated the rarity of such a performance. Then to close the show, Duvall finished with his brilliant original from the One Alone album, ‘’Til The Light Guides Me Home’, also sharing a quick story of how he almost gave the song to another artist but decided against it. It was a very wholesome and sweet end to an intimate show, and whether William returns to Dublin alone or in the company of Alice In Chains, he’ll be sure to be welcomed with a pint. Thank you for reading.