Layne Staley’s Final Tour With Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains Opened for Kiss in 1996

In 1996 Alice in Chains would play their final set of shows with frontman Layne Staley before he passed away in 2002. Check out the full story behind the tour below

It was shortly after Alice in Chains completed their MTV Unplugged that the group’s future seemed uncertain. While the performance was powerful and incredible, frontman Layne Staley was in the throes of drug addiction and it showed. Alice in Chains would get an offer to open 4 shows for Kiss in the summer of 1996 after Stone Temple Pilots turned down the tour. Ironically STPhad to bow out after frontman Scott Weiland’s addiction problems halted any tour plans. Initially guitarist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean kinney agreed with the proposal, but Layne kept turning it down until he changed his mind. Kinney for his part was a member of the kiss army as a kid. Since Layne was still dealing with his addiction, rehearsals for the tour, which only included four shows proved to be challenging. The band spent three weeks at the Moore theater in seattle in rehearsals, with the band members coming at different times. Ken deans who helped susan silver co-mange Alice in Chains recalled that tour saying to author david de sola in the book alice in chains the untold story “it was really challenging.

Mike inez would show up around 3 or 4 o’lock in the afternoon. He and i would hang out and then sean would show up and then jerry would show up and then layne would show up around nine ‘clock, maybe they’d go through a couple of songs and then take off. Deans in the same book revealed he sometimes waited eight hours a day for the members to show up. Adding ‘by this time it was becoming pretty evident that both layne and jerry were having some problems, not Jerry so much at that time, but Layne was definitely starting to. You could see that his years of drug use were starting to affect him. I hadn’t seen [Layne] for a while until i saw him at rehearsals. There was a part of him that was gone at that point. The opening night of the tour took place at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium on June 28th, 1996. It would be there first proper concert since 1993, Alice In Chains got a good response from their 10-song set which included a bit of Kiss’ including Sean Kinney singing Beth acapella and Jerry playing some kiss riffs including Detroit Rock City as Sean Kinney and Jerry Cantrell told Eddie Trunk.

The band would play four shows opening for Kiss including, The Detroit concert was also notable because The Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan was in attendance and years later he would recall ‘i saw alice in chains at one of their final performances, opening for kiss at tiger stadium. They played outside in the sunshine and thehy were awesome’ going on to call layne and i quote ‘a truly beautiful man. Gifted almost beyond compare. My fave singer of the 90’s. The band played three more shows including on in Lousville, Kentucky in which future frontman William Duvall was in attendance. The band’s final show at the Kempera Arena in Kansas City Missouri would prove to bbe the final concert the band played with Layne fronting the band. By this point the band’s camp knew this was the final bow with Layne fronting the band. The tour would end on a low note when Layne overdosed after the final show in kansas city. Kinney would tell author greg prato “They went great (referring to the shows) – they were fun, it was nice being out there…and by the end it was cops, ambulances and ‘get on the plane! Hide the drugs! The same shit was going on. It became more apparent that unless things seriously change, we can’t go out and play to our potential – at this level. We can’t even get through a week and a half without drama and scary shit going on. That’s about right when i mentally started preparing like ‘it’s done. It was after the tour the members started to focus on their own lives and whaat would come after the band. With inez adding in the same book “we will be brothers for life. I don’t think it was ever about saying ‘we’re going to break up’ or ‘jerry’s going to do a solo record.’ it just wasn’t healthy for us at that time. It wasn’t ike alice in chains was one of those bands that had a big blow up…We just realized it wasn’t healthy.