How to play “Alright” without your arms dropping off

(Alex typing) I have loved this song from the moment I heard it and am seriously happy it’s on the set list. We added it during the summer and it goes down a storm every time we play it. BUT, fellow keyboard players will know this is one of those songs that should come with a warning…

When “Alright” comes up on the set list, don’t get too excited. Yes, it’s a great song, but start too fast and by the end of the second line, you will be in trouble. When the guitar solo comes round, your forearms will be screaming, your face will be locked in pain and you will be hoping – even praying – that your frontman will not jump back to the start and go for the extended version. And all the time you will know that it was all your fault. Because you started the song.

Here are a couple of ways to survive the experience. One it to do what Supergrass did (at Glastonbury in 2005, anyway) and play the song slowly. We want to keep everyone on the dance floor though, so we keep it a bit more upbeat. I play four-note chords with both hands – two notes per hand – and leave the bass part to Thierry. Using both hands gives you a nice, fat sound and it means your arms and fingers aren’t put under too much strain. Very important when you are playing for four hours or more, especially with a lead-weighted keyboard.

Here’s a clip of “Alright” from a recent rehearsal. If you’re a keyboard player, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments and mention other songs to be wary of. For example: Johnny B Goode. I injured myself playing this in September and asked Glenn to drop it from the set list. He nearly did. At the last gig, we played it in the encore. Yes – the pain.


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