This past Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing the Carnival Of Madness tour with Hard Rock Hideout’s own Rob Rockitt. With some great bands on the bill and ticket prices being very reasonable, how could we say no? We got to witness: We As Human, In This Moment, Skillet, Papa Roach, and headliners Shinedown, for less than the price of a trip to the movies. Now that’s what I call bang for your buck!
And while all of the bands were exceptional in the live setting, headliners Shinedown really stood out for me. I had not seen Shinedown since 2004 when I watched them open for Van Halen as part of the Van-Hagar reunion. At the time, I barely knew who the band was, but I thought that they were good enough to learn more about. Flash forward almost ten years and I got to watch them as headliners for one amazing bill.
Shinedown’s current album, Amaryllis, is their best album yet and I ranked it as the 5th best hard rock album for 2012. And while their album is phenomenal, it is nothing compared to their live show. In short, Shinedown kicked my ass all over Cincinnati. From the opening notes of “I’m Not Alright” being played behind the curtain, I knew this was going to be a special night. When the curtain came crashing down, we were witness to a circus act of fire jugglers, some on stilts, some on unicycles, and some just walking. The flames lit up from the back of the stage and we could feel the heat in our seats. Rob and I simply started at each other slack jawed. It was one of the coolest openings to a concert I had ever experienced. And that was only the beginning.
Shinedown really worked hard to keep things upbeat and to keep the crowd involved. A huge video screen was the backdrop to their stage, and it frequently played all different sorts of videos as the band performed their hits. For “Enemies,” the band’s video to the song aired in the background, for “Adrenaline,” it was a whip riding drive through city streets at night, and for “Bully” it was the saddest and most touching moment of the night (more on that in a little bit).
Nothing but the hits were performed (and Shinedown has a lot of them), but it wasn’t just the hits that made their performance so memorable. It was the energy that the band performed them with. Every song they played came with an urgency like this was their only chance to win fans over permanently. There was no stopping Shinedown for this concert. Their passion, their energy, their desire, and their hunger were all evident and greatly appreciated.
When “Sound Of Madness” was performed as the first song of the encore, I was quite surprised. I was certain that it would have been the last song of the night. However, Shinedown saved that honor for “Bully.” The band’s performance of Bully was as strong and solid as the other 14 songs they played prior. However, it was the video on the screen that really jolted me and made me take notice.
I am not sure if anyone is familiar with the story of Amanda Todd (I certainly wasn’t). The quick rundown is that Amanda was a teenage girl who made the mistake of allowing herself to be seen topless online. From that moment on she was bullied and tormented by one disgusting man and several ignorant teenagers. Ultimately, it led to her suicide (after several attempts).
Prior to her suicide, she made a You Tube video, telling her story through handwritten cards that she then filmed. As Shinedown played Bully at maximum volume, the Amanda Todd video played on the screen. It was a touching, heart wrenching, amazing moment that left me breathless and near tears. It was Shinedown’s final act of a spectacular night. (If you would like to know more about Amanda Todd and her story, there is a Wikipedia page that you can check – just look up Amanda Todd on Wikipedia or Google).
I will admit that I am a little jaded with concerts in general. I attend a lot of them every year and tend to take some shows for granted, especially bands that I have seen several times. But every now and again, I see a band for the first time (or their first time headlining) and I am so amazed that I immediately want to see them again. That was the case this past Saturday with Shinedown. They immediately leaped to my top 10 bands list and I will be seeking them out in concert again. If Shinedown is heading to your town, I highly recommend that you purchase tickets for their show.
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