It was just earlier this year, on March 11th, when I had a chance to catch Shinedown, Papa Roach, and Asking Alexandria at the Target Center. After splitting up for a few months, with Shinedown having a Summer fling with Badflower, Dinosaur Pile-Up, and Broken Hands, this threesome reunited for 23 more September-October concerts for yet one more leg of the ATTENTION ATTENTION World Tour that started last October. For the 2019 Fall tour, the Shinedown & Company are visiting mostly medium-sized arenas in smaller cities. The Mankato Civic Center fit that profile perfectly and scored yet another visit by the perpetual chart topper. I also reunited the quartet that attended the March show, me, my lovely wife, and two great friends (and diehard Shinedown fans). I welcomed the opportunity to see this outstanding show once again and to see what might have evolved in the seven months since that show. Not being one who likes to watch a movie more than one time, I was a bit skeptical as to if I would enjoy this repeat performance.
SAVAGE AFTER MIDNIGHT
Extremely long entrance lines (rivaling the Armory if you know what I mean) greeted us as we turned onto Civic Center Drive shortly after doors had opened at 5:30pm. While I hoped to catch the fourth band added to the tour, Savage After Midnight, we knew that would be futile. Instead, we found one of the ample free parking spots around the Civic Center and stopped in at one of the many establishments surrounding the Civic Center while the lines cleared (please share your secret with the Armory.) Thankfully, TCM’s top-notch photographer, Fred, was there to capture Savage After Midnight with his camera.
Asking Alexandria’s performance immediately illustrated the intimacy of a 6,000 seat arena compared to a 20,000 seat version. While the English rockers seemed to race through their opening set at the Target Center, here they seemed to slow things down a bit to converse more with the fans. After touring so long with Shinedown and Papa Roach they now also seem to feel like they’ve earned the right to be an integral part of the show rather than just the opening act. They opened with a song that didn’t exist back in March, their latest single, “The Violence”. This song has fans excited that more new music from AA may be just around the corner. With this song added and more chit-chat, it meant “Run Free” and “Eve” were scratched from the Winter setlist. Singer Danny Warsnop raised a glass to thank security for keeping everyone safe and also thanked those selling “intoxicators” which make the band sound so much better. They closed with their trio of big hits, “Moving On”, “When the Lights Come On”, and then their radio hit “Alone in a Room” for which they got the crowd jumping.
The Violence / Into the Fire / Where Did It Go? / The Death of Me / Vultures / Moving On / When the Lights Come On / Alone in a Room.
While Papa Roach could easily be headlining shows like this, they are enjoying their extended tour with Shinedown. They also have changed up their setlist since March by no longer opening with “Last Resort” but instead saving it for last. They now open with “Who Do You Trust?” and play mostly the same set. “Face Everything and Rise” has been subtracted and for this show they inserted “American Dreams” and “Renegade Music”, swapping out “Not the Only One” and “Blood Brothers”. After the crowd instantly sang along to “Help”, singer Jacoby Shaddix got everyone jumping to “Elevate” before he jumped into the stands on each side of the arena while continuing to sing. The crowd roared in appreciation of this interaction. Next for “Getting Away With Murder” he asked for horns in the air for rock ‘n roll music.
Shaddix thanked Mankato for making this Sunday night feel like a Friday night after getting the place bouncing to the motivating “Born for Greatness”. He gave a shout out to the youngster holding a sign announcing this was his first rock concert. “My parents never took me to a rock show. You have some killer parents,” he told him. After “Between Angels and Insects”, the frontman told us, “Not every night is as great as this. You come out to see a great rock show. We come out each night to see a great rock crowd.” The still youthful performer twirled around to “Come Around” from Papa Roach’s 10th studio album, Who Do You Trust? and then said “Forever” was for all of the lovely ladies in the crowd. “Ladies, let me hear you,” he demanded. Being a long way from home, he thanked Mankato fans for making the band feel at home and then it was time for the ultimate sing-along song, “Scars” with the crowd finishing off the song on their own. Their new closer “Last Resort” finished with a loud roar for the impressive Papa Roach.
Who Do You Trust? / Help / Elevate / Getting Away With Murder / …To Be Loved / Born for Greatness / American Dreams / Between Angels and Insects / Renegade Music / Come Around / Forever / Scars / Last Resort.
What was different about this Shinedown show in Mankato compared to Minneapolis? The stage was a bit scaled down for this smaller arena tour. They also did away with the mid-show acoustic mini-set. At the Target Center they relocated mid-show to perform on a smaller satellite stage at center ice. This meant “Amaryllis”, “Call Me” and “How Did You Love” are not being played. There were no video screens, but the same lighted backdrop sporting large exclamation point shapes and full laser show, pyrotechnic displays and booms. Tonight they opened with the same first four songs they played in Minneapolis, beginning with “Devil”. Rock’s top vocalist, Brent Smith wore a blue blazer tonight versus the black leather jacket in March. He finished “Diamond Eyes” standing up on the drum platform and then asked who in the crowd was at their first Shinedown concert. He told them we had to take care of business before getting too far along. As always, they had fans look to their left and then their right and make friends with everyone around them. Getting the crowd ready to ramp it up, Smith said, “Are you ready for the real thing? When I say jump, why do we jump? Because it’s our moment. Everybody stand up. This ain’t no library. This ain’t no funeral. And put your cell phones away. We want you to remember this in your minds. Show us what a rock show looks like! Jump!” And with that, things were officially ramped up for “Enemies” and then their current top radio hit, “Monsters”.
Bassist, Eric Bass sat down at the keyboard for the ballad “I’ll Follow You” just like he did last show, with Smith sitting down beside him to sing for part of the song. The main addition to the October show was “Attention Attention”, the title track from the current album and tour. After fans put their hands in the air for “Unity” Smith praised the crowd saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, you have been absolutely spectacular tonight. What an incredible audience on a Sunday night.” Reminding us that in 2003 there was a debut album called Leave a Whisper by a band no one knew anything about, Smith asked us if we brought our singing voices with. “We have you right about here,” he indicated as mid-level, “But need to get you up to here. You walked in here but we need you to float out. One more time, did you bring your singing voice?” It was “45” of course, which brought me back to my first time seeing Shinedown as a opening act for Van Halen at the Xcel Center in 2004. The entire band huddled around the drum set as flame bursts surrounded them while a deep rumble rattled our bones.
“Bully” was an obvious favorite of many in the audience, especially the youngsters. Smith also discussed the album, Amaryllis, that featured “Bully”, “Unity”, and “Enemies”, asking how many had the album. “You may know with our six studio albums, there is something special with the last song. Do you know the name of the last song on Amaryllis? It’s a song called “Through the Ghost”. We don’t normally play it but it was requested heavily here so we’re playing it.” Next, Smith asked drummer Barry Kerch what he would like them to play next and if he would like to get the crowd dancing? Kerch, like any drummer with a microphone, said, “First of all, never give a drummer a microphone! While the singer and guitar get all of the focus, who holds it down? It’s the rhythm section, Mr. Eric Bass and myself. Yes, let’s get them dancing.” This meant the energetic “State of My Head” was inserted for tonight’s show.
“Second Chance”, which you may know as the Halley’s Comet Song, really showcases Smith’s powerful vocals that are the essential ingredient of any great Shinedown song. And they had to play their famous cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”, starting with just Smith and guitarist Zach Myers on stage, then joined by the full band. Even the sweetest ladies in the crowd had scowls on their face as they sang along passionately to this classic. “Cut the Cord” was yet another recent number one single the band rolled out tonight. After the song, Smith said the band wanted to give us a gift since we have given them the greatest gift. “Look around,” Smith said. “There’s no negative energy.” And he was right. That’s the underlying theme in the band’s recent music and really does bring out the positivity in the listener. Smith also inspired the crowd with a short speech, saying, “We don’t want you to lose your empathy for each other. Look around. These people are here to support you. And this rock ‘n roll is not a genre of music; it’s a style of life.” He continued, “Don’t have a Plan B. Keep going to reach your Plan A. You are important and necessary. Mankato, light it up. Let’s make some magic.” This was the lead in to “Get Up”, the band’s top hit of all time which was played while the entire arena waved their cell phone lights in unison. Never one for the staged encore, Shinedown proceed with yet another mega hit, “Sound of Madness” which really would have been enough to send the crowd home happy. Yet, the fast-paced “Brilliant” continues to be their closing song with Smith telling the crowd before departing, “It’s never goodbye. It’s until next time.”
I wasn’t sure if seeing the same concert twice in the same year would be as enjoyable the second time. When I received texts the next morning from my concert posse asking if we should drive up to Winnipeg to catch the next show, I think I had my answer.
Devil / Diamond Eyes / Enemies / Monsters / I’ll Follow You / Attention Attention / Unity / 45 / Bully / Through the Ghost / State of My Head / Second Chance / Simple Man / Cut the Cord / Get Up / Sound of Madness / Brilliant.