In 2006, Alice in Chains were beginning the current phase of their legendary career. During their second appearance back from hiatus, the grunge icons appeared on VH1 with Pantera’s Philip Anselmo and Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan to perform a rousing rendition of “Would?.”
The death of Layne Staley seemed to put the final nail in Alice in Chains’ coffin back in 2002, but in 2005, a tsunami benefit concert brought Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez onstage together for the first time in nine years.
“It was no grand plan,” Jerry Cantrell recently told Lars Ulrich about the benefit. “It was just something that kind of like we did a thing and then we thought, well, let’s take another step. And then we did another thing and then, all right, we’ll take another one. And it was just that sort of incremental things strictly going by feel, which is how this band has always operated.”
Thus, Alice in Chains slowly began to resurrect, and by the end of 2006, the Seattle legends had performed a total of 84 reunion gigs in North America, Japan and Europe. Performance No. 1 of 84 took place on March 10, 2006, at VH1’s Decades Rock Live television special. The show was booked to honor Heart, but Alice in Chains’ return quickly became its top story, bringing Anselmo on vocals and Duff McKagan on guitar into the fold.
The weight of this landmark performance seemed to manifest in Anselmo’s facial expressions. Instead of his tough onstage persona, Anselmo can be seen bracing himself and holding on to his earpiece to make sure his vocals were perfect. The rare vulnerability of Anselmo speaks endlessly to the otherworldly talent of Layne Staley and the challenge any vocalist would face by filling his shoes.
Of course, some backlash came as Alice in Chains continued with a “replacement” for Staley, but the band members later explained their decision. “What is this ‘You can’t replace Layne’? We’re not replacing. We’re playing our songs, man,” Kinney said, while Cantrell added, “Who’s somebody else to tell us we can’t be with somebody? You get divorced and what — you can’t be with anybody else? Somebody dies in your family, you can’t continue to live on?”
Watch Anselmo and McKagan perform “Would?” with Alice in Chains in the video below.
Alice In Chains – Would (Ft Phil Anselmo , Subtitulado al español ) Live HD
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