The Setlist: Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains

Originally printed in Guitar World, December 2007

Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre - August 18, 2007 - Long Island, NY

“The set list that night was a little different from usual,” says Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, “and we didn’t realize it until we were onstage. When we got to ‘Would?’ we all looked at each other, because it’s usually the second-to-last song. But we just rolled with it, and it turned out okay.”

1. "Again"
“It’s just a good opening song. It kicks right in and gets the blood pumping.”

2. "Grind"
“I revamped the solo and came up with something I might like even better than what’s on the record. It’s actually a lot simpler, but I think it goes well with the song.”

3. "Them Bones"
“I always look forward to the solo, because it’s compact and has a lot of punch to the delivery.”

4. "Would?"
“This song has that restrained, in-the-pocket feel to it, which I think is the power of this band. It’s hard keeping tempos back for anything live, because you’re got your adrenaline flowing and you’ve got the crowd yelling at you, but if you rush through a song like ‘Would?’ you definitely lose something. Sometimes it’s more powerful to walk than run.”

5. "Angry Chair"
“Layne [Staley, original vocalist] wrote ‘Angry Chair,’ and we were used to him leading that song out on guitar, so it’s great to have Will [Duvall, vocals] play guitar on it.”

6. "Man in the Box"
“Even though we’ve been playing it for nearly 20 years now, ‘Man in the Box’ is always a fun song and solo to play.”

7. "Rooster"
“Ending the set with this and having everybody sing at the beginning and end of the song is always a cool thing. It’s a powerful song, and it connects with a lot of people. When it was written, it touched on a war that was long over [Vietnam] but still affected my life personally and a lot of others, too. And with the two subsequent wars in the Middle East and the one that’s still going on, it’s just as relevant today.”

8. Set List Box
“Our lighting guy came up with the idea of a backlit set list, which I think is great. The backlight makes the white paper glow, so there’s not much chance of missing it. We’ve always used darker tones in our lighting to keep the mood equal to the music, and that often makes you as good as blind, because the stage is so dark!”

9. Dunlop Jimi Hendrix signature wah
“It’s a really expressive vocal-like pedal. I remember having a heavy discussion with Kirk Hammett a long time ago about how a wah is the only pedal you really need.”

10. Dunlop Rotovibe
“I use this pedal minimally, but it’s nice to hit it once in a while just to get that warbly, Robin Trower kind of thing going. I’ll use it at the end of a tune sometimes to get a 'rolling' kind of effect."

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