Back in July, Shinedown in combination with radio station WJRR announced they would be playing two intimate “An Evening with Shinedown” shows back to back at the House of Blues in Orlando, FL, on December 28th and 29th. The two shows sold out within a couple weeks and due to such high demand, Shinedown decided to add an additional date for December 27th.
Although the band didn’t officially confirm anything, they hinted that each show would be entirely different. Well, after this weekend, we can confirm the rumors were correct!
Night 1: Sound of Madness
Fans were clearly anxious for night one. In fact, the House of Blues itself was hardly visible through the massive line of people that wrapped all the way around the back of the venue. Showtime was scheduled to kick off at 8:30 PM, but the line was so long that the venue was still filtering people in by that time. Thankfully, start time was delayed to ensure all fans were in before the music got going.
Curtains hid the stage, but the crowd was ready for a rock show the second they were drawn open. A familiar drum cadence hailed the entry of Barry Kerch, who took a seat behind a drum kit featuring nostalgic artwork from the 2008 album Sound of Madness. Eric Bass (bass) and Zach Myers (guitar) followed, taking up their places across stage. Vocalist Brent Smith walked out behind them, ready to command the stage from the first opening note of “Devour.”
“Sound of Madness” came next on the setlist, and “Second Chance” as the third song squashed any doubts of this show being anything other than a 10 year anniversary celebration of Sound of Madness. Shinedown ripped through the full album flawlessly, including “Cry for Help,” “Sin With A Grin” and “Breaking Inside,” which haven’t been played live since 2010. There was very little fluff between songs and the album seemed to end as soon as it started.
Thankfully, Shinedown had a lengthy second portion of the set in store. The majority of part two turned the focus to the latest 2018 album release Attention Attention, with the album’s first single “Devil” being a heavy hitting and well received kick off into the encore. A few fan favorites including, “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom),” “Enemies” and “Cut the Cord” were also tossed in, and no Shinedown show would be complete without their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.”
Shinedown closed on an upbeat note, with the anthemic song, “Brilliant.” Brent graciously thanked everyone for being there, reminding the crowd to, “Always and forever, remain Brilliant.” Setlists, guitar picks and drumsticks galore were tossed into the crowd, making one of a kind tokens to remember an absolutely one of a kind show.
Night 2: An ACOUSTIC Evening with Shinedown
The second evening with Shinedown started off similarly as the first with another line of excited fans wrapped all the way around the venue and show time was delayed a bit to give time for everyone to get through the doors. A chitter-chatter about what the night’s setlist would be was heard from all corners of the room, some speculating guesses and others discussing the previous night’s show.
When the curtains peeled open, the stage set up may have brought on more questions than answers. The usual mic stands were there. Barry’s drum kit was there, this time displaying a bright yellow drum head and black exclamation point, representing the album artwork for Attention Attention. It was the addition of a second, scaled down drum kit and three wooden stools that had eyebrows raised. Nonetheless, the audience was largely made up of devoted fans, some that traveled hundreds of miles to attend, and it was unlikely that anyone was going to walk away disappointed regardless of what was played.
Cheers erupted at the first glimpse of the band. Eric and Zach took seats at their stools. Zach was wielding an acoustic guitar and began strumming the notes of “Fly From The Inside.” Brent followed them out on stage, promptly picking up his stool and relocating it to the back of the stage to give him room for movement as they still packed plenty of energy into the acoustic rendition.
The audience responded with a generous applause and Brent exclaimed, “It feels good tonight!” Relentless cheering prompted him to continue, “What an absolutely outstanding audience. Seriously, take a moment, look around everybody.” The atmosphere almost immediately felt more intimate than the night before. Brent continued to engage the crowd explaining, “These shows are very important to us. These are going to be, for us, of the year 2018, these are the last three shows of the year before we embark on all of the things we have in store for you in 2019… This show is going to be a little bit different than last night, but it’s all about the music, so let’s get right to the songs. You ready for some more?” Eric had moved over to his keyboard and promptly keyed out the opening melody to “Unity.”
Shinedown emitted a light-hearted mood that resonated throughout the House of Blues. Brent looked down at the setlist and glanced at Eric stating, “That’s an interesting choice.” Eric responded, “Well, I was going to pick something else, but I couldn’t remember how to play it. So we’re not doing it.” Band and audience alike erupted in laughter, but Brent gave kudos to Eric stating, “That’s a sign of a true professional, admitting that he cannot remember how to play a song.” Then he turned to Eric directly and added, “A song that you probably wrote!” The laughs continued until Zach got things back on track, “This song got requested a lot at the meet and greet today, so this works out better, actually.” The acoustic twist on “Through the Ghost” sounded hauntingly beautiful.
The remainder of the show went on with a mix of some lesser played songs, “In Memory,” “Pyro,” and “Misfits,” sprinkled amongst the Shinedown staples, “I’ll Follow You,” “Second Chance,” and “Simple Man.” By final song of the acoustic set “Cut the Cord,” Eric and Zach had abandoned their stools and were back to bouncing around the stage as if it was a normal, plugged in show. Turns out that was just a lead in to a full on electric encore. “Devil,” “Diamond Eyes,” “Enemies,” “Get Up” and “Sound of Madness” were played in all their glory for those that hadn’t gotten to attend night one.
The second evening closed out with a gracious Brent saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re Shinedown. Thank you so very, very much. It has been an absolute privilege and a pleasure. Thank you so much! Be good, be good to each other. It’s never goodbye, it’s just till next time.”
Night 3: Shinedown Request Live
The final night of Shinedown’s stay in Orlando started out much the same as the previous nights, with one little twist. Earlier in the day, Zach announced via social media that the final night was to be “Shinedown Request Live.” He stated that the setlist was all on the fans and requested everyone come prepared with signs. Even at the venue, blank pieces of paper and markers were available to create last minute posters while fans waited in line.
Once everyone was inside, it was fun to look around and see signs raised everywhere. Some of the posters were straightforward song requests while others were humorous – like “CALL ME (867-5309)” and one person had even sharpied a song title on their forehead. The setlist taped to the stage was also a testament to the uniqueness of the show. It was labeled 1-15, but each line only contained one letter that spelled out “WHO THE HELL KNOWS?” Needless to say, this was about to be a one of a kind show and everyone was visibly excited for it.
Zach was the first guy on stage this time, immediately taking place at an acoustic guitar and catching everyone by surprise when he strummed those unmistakable chords of “Simple Man” again. Though it was one of only a handful of songs to be played all three nights, it received the loudest sing along by far on the final evening. Brent concluded the song by greeting the crowd, “Good evening! What’s going on O-town, how we feeling?” After a roaring cheer, Zach announced, “Now that we got that outta the way. We don’t have a setlist!” The band explained that each member would take turns selecting a sign/song to play and Brent was first at bat. After a quick scan around the room, he confirmed his choice with, “I Dare You. Let’s do it.” And it was the only live performance of the song in the entirety of 2018.
“Black Soul” was the next selection, followed up by “Burning Bright.” The song was a throwback to Shinedown’s 2003 debut album Leave A Whisper and hadn’t been played live since 2012. While Eric was trying to make the next song selection, Zach took to entertaining the crowd. “Our monitor tech over here has a dry erase board, and he’s doing the same shit you guys are doing. He’s taking our own song titles, so one side says “Devil,” then he flips it and the other side says ‘Went down to Georgia.’ The next one said “Sound,” as in the Sound of Madness, except the other side said, ‘of Music’. And now he just did “Call Me” and then he flips it and it said, ‘Maybe.'” The crowd cheered and laughed before Zach returned to the mic, this time to tease Brent who was standing at the back of the stage reading something. “You must have anxiety about this.” Brent retorted, “I don’t have anxiety, I’m already over here reading the lyrics.” Zach responded to the crowd, “It’s true, we printed out the lyrics to this song. This is the only one we printed.” While Brent shrugged it off and returned to the front of the stage, Zach said, “I think he’s got it though. I think it’ll be good.” Brent joked, “And if I don’t have it, I’m gonna go back there and read it!”
The song played ended up being “Monsters,” off the new album. It was only the second time being performed live ever and first time in the states, so having a lyric sheet to reference was understandable. At the conclusion of the song, Brent walked around to each band member and got them all to sign it, saving it as a memorable token for a lucky fan.
Unlike most concerts that have just a couple standout moments, this show was a non-stop highlight. Anytime one of the guys was trying to decide on a song, the other members filled the air with jokes and playful banter. The song selection bounced from classics like “45” to the Sound of Madness bonus track “Her Name Is Alice,” and even to the live debut of, “Miracle.” After a full set of 14 unpredictable songs, Shinedown left the stage for a brief moment to switch gears.
Similarly to the first two nights, Shinedown returned to play a length seven song encore consisting largely of crowd favorites for any audience members that didn’t get to attend the previous nights. They ended with a positive message in the form of the song “Brilliant,” showering each other in hugs, taking a bow and bathing the crowd with guitar picks, drum sticks, setlists, wristbands, shirts… pretty much any object they could get their hand on to send fans home with a little piece of memorabilia from an undeniably memorable show.
Shinedown have become a staple in today’s rock music, and there’s no questioning why. The band has built their name on powerful and anthemic rock songs that inspire and encourage their listeners. They’ve mastered their live show with top notch stage presence and sound, and the three nights of sold out shows in Orlando were a testament to their talent.
Although these shows were one of a kind by any standard, Shinedown has announced a follow up limited run of ‘An Evening With Shinedown’ shows to kick off in May. If these shows are anything like the ones in Orlando, you won’t want to miss them.