Guitar builder extraordinaire Paul Reed Smith joined hard-rock titans Alter Bridge onstage at a recent performance to lend his licks to PRS artists Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy.
At the February 4 show in Silver Spring, Maryland – just under an hour’s drive from PRS HQ in Stevensville – Smith was introduced by Kennedy, who proclaimed, “I just want y’all to understand the gravity of the situation: in my opinion, this guy is a legend. I mean, he is one of the great guitar gurus of all time.”
Fan footage shows what happened next, as the band launch into anthemic show closer Rise Today, taken from 2007 opus Blackbird. Armed with a Paul’s Guitar model, Smith wastes no time in embellishing the track’s intro with a handful of bluesy bends that really sing – so much so that Kennedy is compelled to dash over to the mic and comment, “Listen to that sustain!”
The superstar luthier continues to add some sweetly phrased call-and-response solos in an exchange with Kennedy’s vocals, but really lets those power chords fly in the chorus.
The ante is upped in the middle eight, which finds Smith and Kennedy trading licks over a pounding bass drum before Smith takes a final solo over the track’s closing chorus. In fact, the leads are flying so thick and fast that Tremonti doesn’t manage to muscle his way in until the finale, which finds him opening up a can of blistering legato to send the set home.
PRS has been the Alter Bridge guitarists’ builder of choice since Tremonti’s early years in post-grunge juggernauts Creed, and his single-cut signature guitar remains a staple of the company’s affordable SE line.
In the years since, the virtuoso has worked on an Explorer-style model with the firm – which, sadly, sounds like it won’t see the light of day – while Kennedy has been leaning on a Tele-style model that provided the bulk of the tones on the band’s latest record, Pawns & Kings.
This isn’t the first time Paul Reed Smith has made a guest appearance at a PRS artist’s show – last year, he hopped onstage with DragonForce to solo with Herman Li and co.