Shinedown: A High-Energy Evening on the Revolutions Live Tour REVIEW+PHOTOS: Shinedown, Three Days Grace & From Ashes To New at Mountain Health Arena 4/12/23
HUNTINGTON, WV- Shinedown brought the spring leg of the Revolutions Live tour with a stop at the Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, West Virginia. They’re out supporting their latest album, “Planet Zero” with support from fellow Alt-rock vets, Three Days Grace and show opener From Ashes to New. It was a high energy evening all the way thru. I expected it to be good, but wow, it was a really great show. I was blown away. The stage was set up with a thrust configuration which brings the action out more to the audience. The house was packed before the bands even started and the excitement level was at a dynamic peak even before the show had started. We weren’t disappointed as each bands set was explosive.
From Ashes to New came out first with the energy of people possessed, opening their 7-song set with, “Nightmare.” They were all over the stage jumping up and down off the risers and each other. The band played with such spirit and vigor that the crowd could do nothing but respond in kind. Lance Dowdle the guitarist was all over the stage jumping, waving and headbanging while shredding on his guitar. Matt Brandyberry hypnotized the crowd with his flowing lyrics and hip hop inspired flow while giving inspiring messages to the crowd between songs. Danny Case laid down the screams while fist pumping the air and jumping as if the floor was lava. They performed hits such as “Crazy”, “Hate Me Too” and many more. They closed their set with “Through it All.” If you haven’t caught this band, I recommend you do. They will finish out this tour through May 9th then pick up with Motionless In White and In This Moment’s Dark Horizon tour in the Summer.
Three Days Grace was next to take the stage. Their set up was simple with singer Matt Walst’s microphones standing center stage on the Thrust. His brother and bassist, Brad Walst, was set stage right, lead guitarist, Barry Stock, stage left along with his pick tree which holds a lot of pics that he tossed out to the crowd and drummer Neil Sanderson sat high on the drum riser. The band stormed the stage, opening with “So Called Life,” which is the opening track off their latest album “Explosions,” and they were off and running.
Their 10-song set covered the landscape of their 20 year career. Tho the lineup has changed over the years, the band maintains the sound that has defined them since the beginning. Matt does great Justice to founding singer, Adam Gontier’s era of songs whilst carving out his own piece of the TDG pie. Their set was stoked like a fire in the hearts of the audience as Brad Walst played the opening bass line to “Animal I Have Become” and “Home”. The video screens behind them flashed different images as the lighting complemented them well.
Three Days Grace gave an excellent performance that kept the audience engaged and entertained the entire time. Matt interacted with the crowd often, introducing songs and even giving backstory to some. They played what is probably the most well known song from the band, which is “I Hate Everything About You,” which he said “the song is about when you look at someone with both love and hate in their eyes. He explained that all relationships are like that. You want to stay with them, but sometimes you have to go.” He added there’s a thin line between love and hate” He asked the crowd to shine their lights for “Never Too Late” which is about not giving up even when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope. In my opinion, the song boasts some of the most poignant lyrics on the subject especially the chorus. So to see the the whole arena illuminated by flashlights and lighters (way old school, I know) was awe inspiring as the crowd sang in solidarity with the band. They closed their set with my favorite song from the band “Riot”. Mainly because the song was my avatar’s entrance theme on WWE “Smackdown Vs Raw 2007.”
Hyping it up with a call and response of “RIOT!!!” With the crowd, they ended their set as intensely as they began. I never had the opportunity to see them live before and I’m glad I got to finally. As they took their final bows to cheers of adoration, it was evident that Three Days Grace is still a Sonic force to be seen and heard at every opportunity.
Shinedown is known for its elaborate tour setups, and this tour’s production was no exception. Two large split screens are at the back of the stage and pre-recorded video plays some clips from previous shows along with dressing room shenanigans and the guys having some playtime while on the road. As the video ends, smoke begins to rise and the screens slowly move apart and in a unique entrance, Eric, Barry, Brent and Zach come walking out toward the front of the stage. Between the video screen doors, fog, and lighting that silhouetted them so perfectly in that moment was a real treat as an avid concert goer/photographer/writer. They acknowledge the audience for a few seconds and Barry turns and runs back and takes his seat.
Out of all the arena shows I’ve shot over the last several years, this was the most visually stunning I’ve seen. This was everything an arena tour should be with pyro that came from the floor and above, fire balls that would spit from the floor, which were hot by the way, both in the photo pit and even when I was sitting in my seat a few yards away. The lighting rigs moved as needed song per song, illuminating everything perfectly with little to no wash out.
There was a mini grand piano on an elevator above the forefront of the stage. It was lowered at certain points so Eric Bass could tickle the ivories on a few songs during the set, but the first one was “I’ll Follow You” which also saw Zach Myers get up on top of the piano during the solo and plays it though and jumps off toward the front of the stage. Brent then takes a seat next to Eric and finishes out the song. Bass is an incredible bass player (his main instrument in the band) but also has an incredible singing voice. We were treated to it when he and guitarist, Zach Myers played a cover of Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger.”
They opened their 19 song set with “Diamond Eyes” as the band commanded the whole stage, which is massive by the way. so well. Brent Smith has everything a good front person needs, a good voice, charisma, a heart for the music and the people he’s singing to. I found it interesting tho, when he’s speaking and engaging the crowd, he stands in a militant fashion, like commander who is addressing his troops, and they were with him at every turn.
Midway through the performance, Smith took a moment to recognize the great work done by the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention and announced that $1 from every ticket sold during the tour goes directly to the AFSP. “We’ve been singing about mental health issues for the better part of two decades,” Smith said. It’s the heart-to-heart conversations from the band that can only be heard when you see them live that make the experience. He said that everyone may not have noticed it when they walked in the door but that no matter what, we were all given a gift to be at the concert together. He reassured crowd that everyone is a work in progress and that sometimes it’s as simple as “A Symptom of Being Human” which led into the uplifting anthems.
For the next song, “Sound of Madness”, the crowd was asked to make a fist and put it in the air. This is another crowd favorite, and the entire arena was pumping their fists into the air in sync. As they continued to pump their fists, fire came up from the stage at the same beat as the fist-pumping. Shinedown played their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”. Smith told the crowd he needed everything they got for this song. The second to last song they played was “Monsters,” another crowd favorite. The lights dimmed, then turned green, and you could hear recordings of maniacal laughing in the background. The crowd went wild because they knew what time it was! Their set ended with “Cut the Cord”, It ended with big bangs and fireworks.
There is so much to unpack with this performance that I fear I may run too long. So many details in the production that it seemed that every song was brought to life as its own little story. As I’ve said previously, just visually stunning with a soundtrack of great music. If you have the opportunity to catch the tour before it ends in May, by all means do. You won’t regret it.