Orlando, FL (April 15th, 2023)
Brent Smith, lead singer of Shinedown is standing center stage at the Amway Center in Orlando Florida. He looks out into the absolutely packed to the rafters crowd and says “This ain’t a funeral, this ain’t a library. This is a rock show in 2023. I implore you to get on your feet”. The tone of his voice says this is a command, not a request. In a flash, everyone in the arena is on their feet as if a drill sergeant barked out orders. Such is the power that multi-platinum recording stars Shinedown has on its fans. With the release of their latest hit album Planet Zero, when the inevitable tour finally made its way to Orlando Florida this instantly became THE hot ticket.
With the arena packed, the crowds pent up energy was primed to explode like a bomb. With the dearth of great rock bands that can pull off a proper arena show, its no wonder the crowd was amped for this one. Finally the house lights dimmed, and the anticipation heightened. But instead of the concert starting, two giant screens started playing videos of the guys in Shinedown and their backstage antics. When the video ended the two screens opened up and the band walked out side by side, a nice touch for sure. They waved at the crowd, then the guys dashed into their respective spots, grabbed their instruments, and launched into “Diamond Eyes(Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)”. Mere seconds into the show and the fireworks and pyro started. Between the high energy performance of the song and the explosions accompanying things, this set the tone for the evening.
With the crowd whipped into a frenzy due to the over the top beginning to the concert, the band kept the pedal to the metal with “The Dead Don’t Die” the latest single from their impressive new album Planet Zero. For a band that has been doing this for some twenty plus years, two songs into the night and its incredibly obvious that Shinedown is at the top of their game. Between the intensity and powerhouse vocals of Brent Smith, to the tight musical performances of guitarist Zach Myers, bassist Eric Bass, and drummer Barry Kerch these guys were giving a no holds barred performance.
So far they had given the fans what had to be the most powerful opening to any of their shows ever. But instead of decimating the crowd with their boundless energy, they decided to give everyone a breather. At the end of the stage that jutted out into the crowd, a grand piano was lowered down onto the stage, and Eric Bass set down his bass guitar and took a seat at the piano for their performance of “I’ll Follow You”. Brent delivered the goods lyrically and Eric sounded great backing him up. When it came time for the guitar solo, Zach Myers hopped up on the piano and let his PRS wail and cry. While the song doesn’t have the same energy as the previous ones, it is more than a match in intensity and emotion.
Shinedown continued on taking the crowd down a musical journey of the bands catalog. While they have a new album in Planet Zero, they didn’t neglect the rest of their impressive catalog. “Bully” and “Unity” were represented from Amaryllis. Attention Attention featured the hit songs “Devil” and “Monsters”. During “Enemies” the band found a whole other gear with and delivered a knockout performance of the song. Between the full on pyro, flames, explosions, and Brent Smith’s commanding the audience to get up and get into the show this was easily the moment that the band and the crowd needed. The release of energy by the fans and Shinedown adding fuel to the fire with their electric performance this was everything and more anyone could ask for and showed that Shinedown is the standard bearer of the rock arena show.
When it came time to introduce “Symptom Of Being Human” , Brent gave an impassioned speech on the importance of mental health and how we should be free to have this conversation and get the help that people need without any stigma. He also said that they were setting a side a portion of every ticket sold and it would be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If there was any questions as to whether this band cares about their fans, this clearly answers that question with an emphatic yes.
After playing some of Shinedown’s biggest hits in “Sound Of Madness”, “45”, and “Second Chance”, Brent Smith stepped off stage leaving the rest of the band on stage . For those that have had the chance to catch Zach Myers taking charge of one of their shows, he brings a lighthearted side to the show with his snarky humor. Tonight was no exception. He had new nicknames for his band mates (apparently, they change nightly) as well as what he calls the levitating piano when referring to the instrument that gets lowered on stage. While he is clearly having fun, he also let his talent shine with a great acoustic rendition of the Oasis hit song “Don’t Look Back In Anger”.
As all good things must come to an end, so did this evening. For the final song of the night Shinedown chose “Cut The Cord”. As they were getting ready to launch into the song Brent was commanding everyone to get up, everyone seemingly had no choice and got up. As they started into the song the pyro kicked in hard. After nineteen songs, the band was still loaded with energy as Zach and Eric were still launching themselves off the stage . This was the perfect ending to the night as it left everyone spent and breathless.
It seems as though the age of rock acts delivering dominating arena level performances has come and gone, but Shinedown has clearly bucked that trend. Tonight’s performance was a masterclass in how to deliver a shock and awe level arena concert. From the boundless energy that the members of Shinedown have to the use of pyro and flames, to Brent Smith’s being the consummate front man, the band delivered the knockout show that their fans were craving. Indeed as the crowd left the Amway Center, everyone was spent, satisfied and one in the cathartic release that only a well-executed rock show can deliver.