My birthdate is March 18th in the year of nineteen hundred and seventy-eight. At the date of this concert I was a 15 year old rock and roll loving male in Kennewick, WA. I was about 225 miles Southeast of the “Grunge” music scene going on in the famed Seattle, WA. The first song I heard from Alice in Chains that really caught my attention was “Would?” I don’t know if I heard it on the radio or saw it on MTV back when they used to play videos. Once I did see the video with Layne Staley looking like a complete badass I was done. I got into the album Dirt first and then went back and explored Facelift. They are both amazing albums but I think Dirt took it up another level. This was the album they were touring for at this point and I couldn’t believe they were coming to my town! We did have a thriving local music scene going on in our area and that is how I first became hooked on seeing live music. We had great shows out at the fairgrounds including bands such as Small, Black Happy, and even Green Day before the world knew who Green Day was. There were also various shows held at people’s houses, the Hoedown, and Shane’s barn. Pretty memorable times, but Alice In Chains was to be my first major rock concert. Everyone in the “wrong” crowd I was hanging out with liked Alice In Chains too but the concert happened to fall on the same night as the homecoming football game for our high school. They chose the game and have regretted it ever since. For me it was never a choice. I talked my neighbor Craig into going to the show with me. He was about 2 years younger than me and we had become friends when I moved in a few houses down about 3 years before this. The Tri-Cities Coliseum was the biggest place to play in town.
What I do remember is the moment Alice In Chains took the stage. There was a cargo net much like the one you used to climb in elementary school that ran the whole distance of the front of the stage. What an entrance and what a setlist! The only other distinct things I remember about the show is that when they played “Godsmack” Layne Stayley kept putting his face in the cargo net while he was singing and this was the first concert I had ever crowd surfed at. They worked their way through the setlist with a fury and I feel lucky to have witnessed this magical event, especially now that Layne Staley is no longer with us. In fact this was their last major tour even though they released two EP’s and another album after this. The saddest part about Layne Staley is that it didn’t seem to surprise many people when he passed away because of his known struggles with heavy drugs. The super ironic part is that that his estimated death was April 5th, 2002, which is exactly 8 years after the estimated death of Kurt Cobain. The irony for me is that this was my first major concert and my next wouldn’t be until after Kurt was found dead. This was a particularly traumatic event for the world of music and me since Nirvana was my favorite band. I never had the opportunity to see Nirvana because at this point in my teenage years my friends and I didn’t really have cars or our driver’s licenses yet. It made me realize that I better see every band that I have the opportunity to see because you never know when one of the band members may die or if the band will break up. In short, life is short and this is the event that I can credit for making me first realize this.
SETLIST – Rooster, Godsmack, Junkhead, Angry Chair, Man in the Box, Hate to Feel, Bleed the Freak, It Ain’t Like That, Dirt, A Little Bitter, We Die Young, Dam That River, Them Bones, Would?, Sickman