Shinedown brought their 2019 ATTENTION ATTENTION World Tour to the Target Center on Monday night as part of the 93X Brotherhood Beer Anniversary show. The evening celebrated three years since the beer was launched by 93X and Lift Bridge Brewing. Meanwhile, Shinedown has now been playing for over 17 years. I figured out when I first saw them in concert. It was in July 2004 opening for Van Halen at the Xcel Energy Center for their Best of Both Worlds tour. That night in St. Paul they played just five songs: “Crying Out,” “Simple Man,” “Fly From the Inside,” “45,” and “Left Out.” Six studio albums later they have released 24 singles, and if you can believe it, they all have reached at least top-ten in Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. Thirteen of those reached #1 with six others getting to #2. How different would they be in concert now compared to 2004? I’m thinking the setlist will be a bit different. And slightly longer.
First we had two quality opening bands to enjoy. Kicking off the evening was Asking Alexandria with Danny Warsnop wearing a red jacket that matched the large ASKING and ALEXANDRIA name plates adorning their stage. It was a surprisingly elaborate set for an opening band that even offered some limited special effects. Warsnop didn’t confine himself to the main stage but roamed across the walk way and onto the stage protruding into the audience. The band raced through a nine-song set in under a half-hour starting with “Into the Fire” and ending with the song getting plenty of airtime on 93X, “Alone in a Room.” After they finished, Wappel from the 93X Half-Assed Morning Show took the stage to say a few words about Brotherhood Beer, including, “I don’t know if you know this but you drink it and it makes you drunk.” Words of wisdom that the crowd loved.
One complaint I had with their stage set-up was the intensity of the band’s effects lighting. It was difficult to look at the band while avoiding the blinding flashes of their bright white lights. While luckily I escaped triggering a migraine, I still felt snow-blind and in need of sunglasses for the indoor show. The band presented five songs from their 2018 album Who Do You Trust?, including their new single “Elevate.” During this song Shaddix wandered out into the audience and up into the stands to sing and dance with fans just one row behind us. He then raced across to seats on the other side of the arena to do the same before the song ended.
Shaddix dedicated the next song, “Not the Only One,” to his five-year old son Brixton who he pointed out sitting back at the sound table with his mom. “Brixton likes it because he can dance to it.” After playing one of my favorite songs, “Forever,” the frontman said he had to say a few things about that song. “We were in town and the label wanted us to use another song as our next single but 93X’s DJ Pablo was playing “Forever” a lot on the radio and it had become really popular here so we chose that instead of the other. Looking back we are really glad we didn’t choose the other song.”
Papa Roach dedicated another song, “Scars,” to Chester Bennington and Prodigy’s Keith Flint. This was the climax of the set for the band with the crowd singing along emotionally with Shaddix and then on their own the lyrics “I tear my heart open just to feel.” The newer “Born To Greatness” also proved to be a fan favorite with those gosh darn white lights again burning our retinas. “Before we go, we just want to say we love you,” said Shaddix as the band finished with “…To Be Loved”
Setlist: Last Resort / Help / Who Do You Trust? / Getting Away With Murder / Face Everything and Rise / Renegade Music / Between Angels and Insects / Elevate / Not the Only One / Forever / Come Around / Scars / Born for Greatness/ …To Be Loved.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. The show is about to begin,” was the recording played to announce the start of main act. It continued, “Attention! Attention!” but had the opposite effect causing all of the fans to jump out of their seats as Shinedown launched into “Devil” as shooting flames reminded everyone we were at an arena show. The stage featured multi-tiered ramps and a background made up of various rectangles, including those that formed exclamation points.
The thumping bass of “Diamond Eyes” reminded me of another feature of an arena show in that you can feel the music with its stomach-vibrating, heart-stopping bass. After the song, Brent Smith ran out on the protruding stage wearing a black leather jacket with an exclamation point on the back. Merchandising is what I think they call it. He told the audience that they have a tradition at their shows. “Everyone look to your left. And then your right. Now give a high five to those people you just met at the show.” Something I found refreshing and very professional about Shinedown was the avoidance of swearing in their songs and also when speaking between songs. Many bands feel the necessity to swear repeatedly (even Papa Roach) to sound cool I guess. Shinedown doesn’t seem to need to. And it certainly broadens their audience.
For the ballad “I’ll Follow You” bassist (really multi-instrumentalist) Eric Bass sat down behind the keyboards to impressively play. Then the intensity picked up with Smith asking fans to put their hands in the air to “Unity.” Next was their current hit single “Get Up” which fans wanted to hear live after hearing so much on 93X. But the next song, “Bully” certainly rivaled that.
The arena darkened and the four band members walked out onto the smaller mid-arena stage lighting their path with large flashlights which they planted at the four corners of the stage. Smith explained that they had the idea for this type of stage to make some of the show feel more intimate. They first played “Amaryllis” before explaining the next song of the night is chosen by a different band member each show. Tonight it was guitarist Zach Myers’ turn to choose. He chose the final song off of Sound of Madness, “Call Me.” Remaining on the remote stage they played “How Did You Love” and then asked everyone to use their cell phone lights to light up the arena to honor Prince like a bunch of Halley’s Comets for “Second Chance.” As Myers slipped on a special Prince-night Timberwolves jersey he said he could never be disloyal to his NBA team but could certainly honor Prince by wearing that special jersey and by also playing the guitar he made famous.
I was brought back to that concert in 2004 at the Xcel Center when a long-haired Brent Smith sang “45,” the popular radio song back then. It sounded just as great with Smith and Myers playing it on the small stage. Smith then asked the fans to all yell out the song they hadn’t heard yet tonight but would like to hear. Somehow he claimed he heard a clear consensus choice and after having the crowd count down 3-2-1 Smith and Myers began the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover “Simple Man” to roaring approval. The two walked back to the main stage during the song to be joined by Bass and drummer Kerch for a full-band finish to the song.
“Cut the Cord” was the perfect high energy song for their return to the main stage and featured a colorful laser show. Smith begged the crowd one more time to put their hands in the air and this time make a fist and punch the sky to “Sounds of Madness” after which the stage went black with Smith saying, “Good night!” But almost instantly the band reappeared to play one final song, “Brilliant,” from the new album. As they finished, Smith said, “It’s not good bye, it’s until next time.” Before leaving the stage the band threw fistfuls of guitar picks and handfuls of drum sticks out to the crowd as a nice gesture.
Shinedown has certainly come a long way since their simple beginnings back when they could barely scrape together five songs to play as an opening act in 2004. It’s really impressive to have witnessed the successful path they have taken to become one of the most successful rock bands of all time. And doing things the right way.
Setlist: Devil / Diamond Eyes / Enemies / Monsters / Black Soul / I’ll Follow You / Unity / Get Up / Bully / Amaryllis / Call Me / How Did You Love / Second Chance / 45 / Simple Man / Cut The Cord / Sound of Madness / Brilliant.