An Evening with Shinedown

Also known as Shinedown show number 10 for me.

Since we missed out on VIP at the spring Shinedown show here in Colorado, when the “Evening with Shinedown” tour dates were announced, we looked to see if any shows made sense for us.

None really did geographically, but one stood out to me – the Madison, Wisc., show. As I’m doing IM Wisconsin in September, I figured that show would be a perfect excuse to head out and preview some of the course. So, we bought tickets and VIP as soon as we could.

As it is and so often with us … life had other plans for us.

Our original thought was to fly into MSP, rent a car, drive to Madison, rent bikes at a shop on the bike course, ride a loop of the course, go to the show, fly out the next day, etc.

What actually happened … ended up much differently. B is currently in training on a different airplane and, while he requested the date of the concert off, he didn’t get it. So, I was going by myself. As a result, I decided to drive out (so as to not deal with the nightmare of non-revving) and bring my own bike. Concert was a Tuesday (5.21), so I left home early Monday morning. I drove most of the way out to Dubuque, Iowa, where I spent the night (a lot cheaper than the Madison area).

Tuesday morning, I woke up early (again) and drove into Verona, where the loop portion of the IMoo bike course starts. I had every good intention of riding the course, but it was INSANELY windy. Not pouring rain like I had thought it was going to do, but windy enough that I didn’t feel safe going out on an unfamiliar course by myself. So, I made the tough decision to not ride and just drive the bike course. It’s going to be painful, but it will be a beautiful pain since it was fairly pretty through the farmland.

I had brought my bike trainer to get in miles that way instead, but when I got done driving the course and checking into the hotel, I didn’t have a lot of time before meeting a friend for lunch. Lunch took a while (which was fine; I hadn’t seen this friend in person in almost a decade) … so with how tired I was and full after, I didn’t get on the treadmill, either. Oops. I just decided to flop and rest until it was time to head into downtown Madison for the show.

The show was at what is apparently a brand new venue, the Sylvee.

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VIP was let in at 3:45 … or what ended up being like 15 minutes later. Stuff got delayed as, we found out later, bassist Eric Bass was having back issues so he skipped the meet and greet in order to hopefully be able to perform later. B had collected airplane trading cards (that his company gives out to kids) for him as at our last m&g, Eric said he was a giant airplane nerd. I ended up giving them to drummer Barry Kerch instead, and both he and staffer Matt said Eric was going to love them.

I had a good chat with Barry regarding grills, a better experience with guitarist Zach Myers, and got selfies with everyone (them and lead singer Brent Smith).

Plus the photo with everyone was a lot more fun than last time.

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Of note: when I checked in at the door, I told the staff that it was just me and the second person I bought VIP for didn’t make it. She said to take the extra lanyard/laminate anyway. I noticed after I walked through the door that a pair of friends was being split up since only she had VIP and he didn’t … so I gave him the extra laminate so they didn’t need to be split up. They were both so thankful that both could experience VIP and hey, I wasn’t going to need to keep the other one anyway.

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Stage all set up.

What I didn’t like about this M&G was that we got booted back outside the building until closer to doors open. We still got priority entry into the building, but we couldn’t stay inside like we could at Pepsi Center. Now whether this is because there weren’t any opening acts or due to it being Wisconsin (someone else mentioned a similar thing happening at a different show there) … I don’t know.

I didn’t really have enough time to grab dinner anywhere decent, but I did have enough time to dump the swag backpack off back in my car, grab some almonds out of the can I brought with me, and then head off to the gas station across the street to get a quick snack.

We were eventually let back into the venue (late again) and I busted booty over to the merch stand for the show-specific pick pack. That purchased, I went to find a spot on the floor. I wasn’t right on the rail, but one person back (… I think the ladies in front of me got in earlier than they were supposed to “well the other doors were open so I just let myself in” … yes, they were open for people who paid a lot kthx).

The show itself started late … and when it did, it was the same three band members to come back out. Apparently poor Eric has six (!) herniated discs and although he took a lot of drugs/painkillers, he wasn’t well enough to be able to perform that evening (and ended up leaving the tour a day or so later). So, we essentially got an extended Smith and Myers show (with Barry in a killer suit off to the side drinking Dale’s Pale Ale (woooo Colorado!) in a Viking mug occasionally on the tambourine/percussion) for THREE HOURS. Zach also played the piano, we got some random Dracula song …

… it was pretty outstanding.

The setlist on setlist.fm was inaccurate last time I looked (it didn’t have Zach doing George Strait’s “Forever and Ever Amen” on it), but it was massively huge and insane. Think a crazy acoustic sing-along with the occasional light show and fireworks.

I also took a lot more pictures than is my wont due to the nature of the show.

I would also like to mention that they did “Nothing Else Matters,” which now means I have seen that song performed live by three different bands (technically Shinedown, Apocalyptica, and those that wrote it in the first place, Metallica).

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I tried SO HARD to get a good picture of this suit.

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Not your typical Shinedown show, but for doing what they could under the circumstances, it was amazing all the same. I also admire and appreciate their professionalism as they could have easily cancelled the show on us. Instead, we got to see something pretty dang special.

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Shinedown at the Budweiser Events Center

Yes, also known as Shinedown show number 9 for me. I wasn’t originally going to go to this show – we hopped on VIP too late (that is, it was sold out) and so decided to maybe not go to this show. Plus they were touring with Papa Roach and the last time I saw PR was when my cousin Mike was doing sound for them … and Mike passed away this past July so I knew that was going to be hard for me.

However, as it got closer to the show date (and we knew B was going to be out of town), I decided I really wanted to go so I bought myself a ticket. I’m glad that I did – not only because the show was AWESOME, but also because I apparently always see Shinedown the March of an Ironman year. Crazy, right?

Anyway, the show was held last night at the Budweiser Events Center up in Loveland. I mostly know the building as the home of the AHL’s (formerly CHL’s and ECHL’s) Colorado Eagles. Who I still haven’t managed to see in action. Doors were at 6 and I got there a bit before 4. I brought some books to read, but didn’t actually end up reading them – I was on my phone chatting with B a bit and just observing humanity.

Despite being a bit back in the line when I arrived, I managed to be one of the very first people into the venue. I popped down to the merch table by the floor entrance … but they told me that the guitar pick packs (like I bought at the last Pepsi Center show) were upstairs … so I bolted up to that table. Pick packs and a new shirt (because it had “It’s my day to be brilliant” on the back and that’s my IM anthem this year and I’m totally wearing it race morning) and then a stop to the bathroom since I had to pee. I almost went to find food … but decided I’d be okay (reader, this was not a good decision) and went to find a spot on the floor instead.

There was a weird stage setup – the regular stage and then a long runway protruding from the middle that ended in a little square. Well great, where do I go? I ended up going on the right side of the runway more toward the little square which ended up not being a bad spot, but not ideal for guitar picks, sadly. I wasn’t right on the rail, but only one to two people back (there was a mom in front of her kids) so not bad.

First up was Asking Alexandria. I’d heard of them before, but none of their actual music (or if I had, I didn’t know it was them). They weren’t bad, but it wasn’t quite my style of music. Lead singer was hysterical, though, and they did have a song or two that I enjoyed.

I almost had a pick at this show, but the woman in front of me (the one with kids) snagged it off the floor like two seconds before me, so whatever.

The worst part of this show was the drunk couple that barreled in in front of me right as the set started, kept causing chaos (they ended up a bit further to my right by the time Papa Roach went on and I have no idea where they went for Shinedown) and had oodles of sloppy make outs. Learned that it was apparently their engagement concert which, yay, congrats, good for you … but ain’t nobody wants to see that much fucking PDA.

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(You can also get a sense to the stage set up here; the mini square is behind me, for reference.)

Next up was Papa Roach. They were high energy back when I saw them six years ago and that hasn’t changed at all.

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I really need to check the set list from this show and download some more of their music, because damn are they good. Really. Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix is still wandering into the crowd and around the arena and I’m sure he’s still making his sound guy shake his head with exasperation (Mike told me that yeah, it’s great that Shaddix does that, but it’s hard on him to keep the sound good).

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See? Wandering.

I also almost had a pick – felt it go off my forearm, but a woman next to me was right on it as it hit the ground.

I wasn’t expecting to cry much during Papa Roach – except when I thought of Mike – but damn Jacoby hit me with a small bit of Linkin Park’s “In the End” at the end of “Scars” as a tribute to their late lead singer, Chester Bennington, as it was his birthday. That got me right in the feels.

The wonderful thing about this show is I swear Mike was with me. I didn’t feel his ~presence~, per se, but all during the show there was always space for a person next to me. That wasn’t the case during Asking Alexandria and certainly wasn’t the case during Shinedown, but during Papa Roach? Always a (fairly decent-sized person) hole next to me.

I miss you, Mike, and thank you for being there.

As for Shinedown … they brought it, as always. Brent Smith’s voice sounded a little different at times, but I think that was due to some new vocal arrangements for a few of the songs.

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I think I cried through about 50% of this show … but that’s pretty standard for Shinedown shows these days.

There was a bit more downtime between songs … and almost an intermission as they went to the little square … which ended up being a second stage.

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Apparently when they were doing set design for this tour, Zach Myers thought, “why not a second stage?”, so they did it. I enjoyed it as it made a large arena show feel a lot more intimate. Plus it was a great way for them to go off the cuff and be less scripted like they usually are with their large venue shows. Yeah, the tight, clean show is nice, but y’all ARE HILARIOUS. USE IT. And in this, they finally did.

In the small stage set, I guess they’ve been having a band member pick a song for the night for different shows … and, Barry Kerch I love you forever for this (and not only for your coffee), but it was his night and he chose “Call Me.” So I got to hear that for a second time.

(Setlist.fm LIES – we did not see “Misfits” at this show we saw “Call Me” and it was GLORIOUS.)

Shinedown also did something I don’t think I’ve ever seen them do in six years of going to shows – they actually announced the band members. Whaaaat?

Also: while “45” was still just Smith and Myers … Kerch and Eric Bass actually joined them (back on the main stage) for the end of “Simple Man.” Will wonders never cease?

No picks (other than the ones I bought) and none really came towards me. Would have had to have been a lot closer to the main stage for that.

Still, all in all an amazing show and I’m so glad I ended up biting the bullet and going on my own.

Even if I am fucking destroyed today as a result. Concert hangover? Is a thing.

Within Temptation: Resist Tour

Oh hey, I don’t just go see Shinedown in concert!

(Although I’m scheduled to see them at least twice more this year and maybe a third time too … ahem.)

We last saw Within Temptation five years ago when they played the Gothic on the Hydra tour. In those five years, lead singer Sharon Den Adel did a solo project, there was talk of the band breaking up … and then talk was they were finally in studio for another album and the result was Resist. Since B loves Within … he bought tickets shortly after they went on sale.

The show was this past Monday at a new Denver venue for me – The Summit (Summit Music Hall? Just Summit Denver?) down in LoDo.

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For you locals, it’s across the street from where Beta used to be/where Falling Rock is.

Doors opened at 6 and we got parked and in line about 5, 5:15ish. We were wrapped decently around the building, but it wasn’t terrible.

The show had two opening acts, Smash Into Pieces and In Flames.

Smash Into Pieces is a metal band from Sweden and they were surprisingly awesome. I made note of the songs I liked during the concert (1, 5, and 6 … a.k.a. “Like This!”, “Let Me Be Your Superhero”, and “In Need of Medicine”) and happily … they were just as good if not better (and not quite as heavy) on iTunes. So now I own those songs.

They might not have been as well known, but they really knew how to work the crowd and they had the best merch buying plea I’ve heard in a long while. The lead singer crowd surfed … mostly successfully, as he is, in his words, “too fat to do so.” He took off his jacket a bit after that and had a lot of issues with his in ears and sound pack and my only thought was that his sound guy must have hated him.

(R.I.P. Mike.)

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The guitarist looked totally Swedish. And by that I mean he looked like a lot of Swedish hockey players.

Next up was In Flames, who have been around for a while (they were definitely older in terms of looks too – a bit of gray in the beards).

They weren’t bad, but definitely a bit heavier than I prefer. Their lead singer had the flu, but still did really well – definitely better than say, Ed from Collective Soul at that show – I admired his professionalism. As a result of the heavier aspect … yes, there was a mosh pit but thankfully it was like five people over. We did have a large asshole fan right behind me who was trying to … I don’t know … dance his way up? Or something? … and swearing at those of us in front who weren’t completely rocking out as much saying shit like we’re not real fucking fans and we should move out of the fucking way for those who are. Um, sorry buddy, you want up front? Either get to the venue a lot earlier or be nice and say “Hey, I really love these guys, do you mind if I go in front of you for just this set?” That would work a lot better than by being a douchenozzle.

Luckily I’m good with leverage and elbows so he wasn’t getting past me at all.

B ended up snagging a pick from them though and I guess one of their guitarists was originally with Megadeth so that’s really cool.

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After quite a long wait in between sets (the crowd, it was restless), we finally got Within. In our post concert discussion, we think that they were even better this show than the previous one.

In other notes:
– the drummer was not behind Plexiglas this time. Weird.
– each of us caught a guitar pick, so yay for that. B cried when he got his (I got mine at the end of the show). I think he wanted one so badly.
– Ice Queen acoustically? Not as good.

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During “Raise Your Banner,” which they opened with.

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Not sure the song, but this was at least halfway through the show as Sharon put on the arm sleeves at a baby intermission.

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Got all six band members here.

Overall, a great show, and I’m pretty sure that if they play the States again in another five or so years … we’ll go since B really loves them.

On Collective Soul and 3 Doors Down

B and I have been tossing around the idea of seeing Collective Soul for a few years, but just have never bit the bullet on buying tickets. We knew they had a September show coming up, but we just weren’t sure about spending the money. Thankfully, our realtor is awesome and also works for a radio station and was able to get us free tickets.

Which is good, because the show definitely would not have been worth the money.

The show was at the Fillmore Auditorium, the last of the primary Colfax venues that B hadn’t been to and I hadn’t been to a show there since Dream Theater in … 2006, I believe.

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I did forget how cool the Fillmore is as a venue, especially seeing the lights reflect and refract through the chandeliers.

In all honesty and full disclosure, Collective Soul’s lead singer, Ed Roland, was definitely under the weather – with a bug or just a lost voice I’m not sure – and that affected the show quite a bit.

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Shot from Collective’s set.

Notes from the show, in bullet point form:

– I guess I didn’t realize how odd Collective Soul was.
– The third song of the set, “Shine,” was almost treated like an encore.
– I do feel like the “cheer for us!” parts were a bit repetitive.
– During “Heavy,” the video screens in the back showed the woman from the Dosage album cover … and her eyes opened and looked around and it was SUPER CREEPY and something I probably would have been totally fine never seeing ever in my life.
– “Better Now” was also super long (like “Shine”) which seemed weird …
– … but if you take them in the context of a jam band, it makes a lot more sense. I just never thought of Collective Soul as a jam band.
– “December” (my favorite Collective song) was awesome … EXCEPT for the fact that they didn’t sing the BEST PART (the almost background “December promise you gave unto me/December whispers of treachery/December clouds are now covering me/December songs no longer I sing”) which was tragic.
– “The World I Know,” with images of New York City on the video boards, made me cry ridiculously. Silly show on 9/11 …
– Late in the show, Ed admitted that he was struggling a lot and that they were going to edit the set list some … which meant that the ending was highly anticlimactic. They probably lost track of their stage time which is why, but given the length of “Shine” and “Better Now,” I was expecting a great finale and instead, the show just abruptly ended.

Next up was 3 Doors Down. I owned their first album waaaaaay back in the day but they were definitely a group that I never thought I would ever see.

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And again, I’ll do thoughts in bullet point form:

– I enjoyed the American flags on stage. I’m not sure if that’s something they do all the time or if it was just for 9/11, but I appreciated the touch.
– They weren’t particularly bad, but they weren’t really *good* either.
– The drummer was behind plexiglas … something I haven’t seen since the drummer of Within Temptation.
– They definitely sound better on CD than live. That being said, live or on album … everything still kinda sounds the same.
– I appreciated them thanking us after every song, but more/different crowd interaction would have been nicer.
– We skipped out on the encore because we are old AF.

I felt a little detached throughout most of the concert … more like I was observing as opposed to being a part of it (like at, say, Shinedown), which was super weird for me. Speaking of Shinedown, it makes me really appreciate how some bands are good at getting a crowd going AND it also makes me understand the obnoxiousness that was Brent Smith’s “you’re down here and I need you up here” volume crap back in 2013 now … even as it makes me roll my eyes.

Also, in terms of a 90s throwback tour … I thought the Under the Sun tour (with Sugar Ray, Better Than Ezra, Uncle Kracker, and Eve6 (even though Uncle Kracker was SO TERRIBLE)) was so much better.

And, as a final note … people seriously need to stop fucking FB or IG live-ing during shows because HOLY GOD is it annoying. And seriously, you have one or two people watching; is it worth it? And if your excuse is you want it for later … you don’t have to live it then! Bands tour because it is their best way of making money these days and you essentially making a bootleg can in theory hurt their bottom line.

Shinedown, 7.31.2018

Also known as Shinedown show number eight.

Shinedown released a new album on May 4, “Attention Attention,” and I’ve been meaning to do a review of it here. Maybe soon. In any case, it is AMAZING. As a result, they announced a tour … and oh hey, they’re coming through Denver again in late July. *buys tickets* *have had tickets since late March*

We also finally decided to bite the damn bullet and purchase VIP/a meet and greet for this tour because
a.) why the hell not; and
b.) we’ve been talking about it FOREVER and if we didn’t do it now, we never would.

Thanks to that, we got in to the venue (Pepsi Center) early … and we probably got to the venue way earlier than we even needed to in the first place. Oh well.

We were ushered into the building, checked off a list, got our tickets scanned … and then herded to the club level to some cordoned off area. From there, we got swag bags* and then all sat around until we got word that the band was coming up. We stood up, essentially forming a circle around the room. The guys came in and split up to sign things, with Brent Smith and Zach Myers going one way around the room, and Barry Kerch and Eric Bass going the other way.

We got Eric and Barry first. From the instagrams, we know they fly Delta all the time, so B has been hoarding Biscoffs (the shortbread cookies DAL is kind of famous for serving) to give to them. All four were happy when they found out, but I think Barry was the happiest. “OMG I love these!” (almost a direct quote) I also wrote thank yous for the Myers, Kerch, and Bass families – as I’m also married to someone who’s gone a good chunk of the time, I wanted to let them know that I appreciate the sacrifice that it takes on their part and that I understand their struggle to some extent. And that we fans thank them for sharing their husbands with us. I think this struck a cord, as both Eric and Barry thanked me on two separate occasions for the gesture.

Brent Smith is an absolute sweetheart. Seriously. That man is freaking adorable. Super nice and I think he was chatting with people to find an excuse to ask for a hug (me: 8th show. B: his Shinedown quote on his RoadID) (yes, we both hugged him). He also said he loves Delta and bragged that he has the most miles out of all of them.

I hope Zach was okay, as he seemed a bit off. He’s mentioned anxiety lately, and I wonder if it was bugging him. Still nice, though, and he flashed his Delta AmEx Platinum card, which cracked both of us up.

After they all made it through, we got to take pictures with the guys. We were considering doing a photo together and then separately (and B did a separate one with just him and “the Other Guys” (that is, Eric and Barry)), but I forgot to ask.

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From L to R: Barry Kerch, Eric Bass, B, me, Zach Myers, Brent Smith. Also don’t let the angles fool you; none of them is taller than us.

Post-photos, we were let free to get early access to merch. In the line, we heard that they were letting all of us early access people on to the floor, so we split up – B went to run down to get us a spot on the rail. I didn’t see anything (originally) at the merch table, so I went to the bathroom and then in search of a little bit of food. Nothing looked good (whyyyyyy has your food gone so downhill, Pepsi Center? It used to be so good 20 years ago … back in high school … holy crap I’m old), so I just got us a pretzel to split and some water.

I go down to join B … and hear they’re selling show-specific guitar pick packs. Eff. So I dump my stuff and run back up … and even though the packs were super limited, I think I was able to snag one. And the last one, I’m pretty sure. If you recall my post from our last Shinedown show, I was able to catch each of the show-specific picks from that show and I really wanted the ones from that night. As catching picks is NEVER a guarantee … $20 well spent.

After standing around a long time, the opening act, Like a Storm, took the stage. They’re a hard rock band out of New Zealand, and were actually pretty dang awesome. Even though a Kiwi friend of ours joked that they’re going to have their citizenship revoked for playing a didgeridoo during the show.

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Whatever. The didgeridoo was f’ing awesome.

I also managed to snag a pick during the set, so yay for that. I need to look up their stuff on iTunes, and I’m hoping they’re more like Sixx:AM as opposed to Insomnium, in that their studio stuff is equally as good as their live stuff.

Shinedown was amazing as always. Clean, tight show, with very little downtime. The only bit there was happened because Brent hopped down onto the rail to make sure someone was okay (we had a few people pass out during the show – standing outside in the heat for hours prior to doors open with no food or water for several hours is NOT SMART, people).

But right into it, song-by-song. Band was a well-oiled machine.

We got three songs off the new album, including “Get Up” which YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO. RIGHT NOW. GO. Open up the link in a new tab and listen to it while you finish reading. Or listen to it and then come back. BUT LISTEN TO THE SONG. There’s a reason that just a video of a song (without even the actual music video) has damn near three million “views” on YouTube.

It also goes without saying that I cried throughout the whole thing.

We actually didn’t catch any picks this show, but it’s hard to catch them when none come near you. We did get a drumstick, though, but as we already have a BKerch signature stick, we traded it for an Attention Attention guitar pick. No regrets there.

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The one shot I got … and really only got it for the purposes of this post. Still loving actually enjoying shows without worrying about taking photos.

As we had to meet a friend who’s moving off to grad school in a week early the next morning for a hike, we didn’t stay for Godsmack (wouldn’t have been home by 9:30 otherwise! … again, we’re old). If a few of the songs I really liked that they’ve been playing on this tour were early in the set we would have considered hanging out for a bit, but they weren’t, so home it was.

Eight shows, and Shinedown has not failed to move me once. Okay, kind of once, but that’s because they got upstaged. Still, I will gladly see them another eight times, and we will also probably consider another meet and greet, as that was money well spent.

* the swag!

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Towel, drawstring bag, seat cushion thingy, a photo we got signed, hard copy of “Attention Attention” we got signed (gave our other one to someone we befriended in line so she could give something to a friend of hers), lanyard that got signed.

Birthday Shinedown 2017

In general, I like getting the hell out of Dodge for my birthday.

There are a myriad of reasons for this, but mostly, I like hiding. Part of it is because I’m right around a holiday (4th of July) and no one is ever around to celebrate, part of it is because everyone always forgets (parents included) … I’m a weird one in that I generally loathe my birthday.

B, wonderful as he is, has taken it upon himself to make my birthday as awesome as possible. Which for me, means spending it just the two of us (if able; his job makes this iffy), and not in Denver.

Originally, our thought was to go to Boston for my birthday (so I could eat all of the wonderful things), but cost prevented that. So, plans changed. I thought if B wasn’t home and had to work, I’d treat myself to a ridiculously expensive hotel room in the mountains (either Vail or Beaver Creek) for a night and hike around and see wildflowers and whatnot. Or maybe we’d do that even if he was home.

But then we learned Shinedown was touring some in the summer and what do you know … they were playing a show on my birthday. In Lafayette, Ind. That’s what we both honestly wanted to do more … so that’s what we did.

The morning of July 4, we hopped a flight from DEN-MSP and then caught a flight to IND where we rented a car and drove the hour or so to Lafayette. I’d been to Lafayette (well, West Lafayette to be specific) years before – my parents met at Purdue University, and my dad played clarinet in the band, so we went back for an alumni band thingy for him where he played on the field during a football game. I don’t think Brandon had ever been, though.

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Across the street from our hotel.

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Fourth of July band concert. Oh small towns …

We didn’t stay out to watch fireworks, but could see about a good dozen or so displays from our hotel window. And, since it was Indiana, where fun fireworks are legal, who knows how many of those displays were actually “official.”

The next morning, we woke up and hit up a diner across from the theater for breakfast.

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Random street piano I made B play for the photo op.

We wanted to see if anyone had started lining up yet, and thankfully, they hadn’t. After breakfast, we went for a run – training never stops ’round herrre – then back to shower and to explore.

We popped over to the Purdue campus for a bit – I was taking random photos and seeing if my parents could guess where I was – so I could see if there was anything good in the bookstore (there wasn’t). If they had a “Dad-style” shirt I would have gotten him one, but nope. We wandered over to the stadium so B could send pictures of a rival Big Ten stadium to his Gopher fan dad and drove over to the airport so B could get a sense of their flight program.

After that, we drove my history nerd self over to the Tippecanoe Battlefield.

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(We took a serious picture, too, if you can believe it.)

We were starting to get hungry again at this point, so we grabbed some snacks from a gas station and then ate possibly some of the worst Chinese food I’ve had in my life. So terrible.

(As far as birthdays go, this one was awful in terms of food eaten.)

Back to the hotel for a tiny bit and then to the theater to sit outside for a good four hours so we could be up front for the show. We didn’t have a bad spot – 10 back, maybe? – and I had my phone and my nook and some snacks. The hotel was also only four-ish blocks away so if we needed to pee, we’d take turns leaving and going back. This way, we could also take back anything we had to entertain ourselves before heading in. B also left the line at one point to grab us more food – salads and, for him, wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. Worst salad I’ve had from them, too, btw.

Eventually, we were let in, rushed the stage … and were pissed to find VIP people (who were supposed to all be on the upper level in assigned seats) on the rail. Grumble. In any case, we were only one person back from the rail and by the time Shinedown really got going, B weaseled his way up on to the actual rail.

First up was Lacey Sturm.

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They were … okay. I guess she was the singer for Flyleaf back in the day. My thoughts in bullet point form that I made on my phone post-show:
– meh
– bassist good
– guitarist played ZM sig? (in reference to a PRS Signature Zach Myers guitar; proven accurate on Instagram a few days later.)
– (her) voice got drowned out a lot
– sings with passion, but don’t get her stage presence (not sure with what she was doing up there …)
– one of the worst covers of “Roxanne” ever (did not enjoy)
– one of the cymbals fell over and it was funny
– someone in the audience said she had a good vocal range, but I don’t see it. Honestly didn’t like her style.

Basically, it’s not like they were bad; just not for me.

Between sets, we got to see the set up, as usual, and our location enabled me to spot something I’ve never seen before –

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Zach Myers’ Grizzlies guitar case. Ha.

Since it was birfday show, I didn’t want to take a lot of pictures – I really wanted to enjoy the show – so I only got this one, and I normally would have deleted it because, crap, but whatever.

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As for the show itself …

– It was SO. FUCKING. HOT. inside the theater. I was sweating so badly and at a few points, thought I was going to pass out due to the heat.

– Someone apparently yelled “you suck” up at the stage, so Brent Smith legit stopped the show to go lecture him and the crowd and saying they didn’t need to be there and could walk off the stage. I’m super glad they continued the show (for obvious reasons), but seriously? Whoever that was? NOT COOL.

– In this, my seventh Shinedown show (third state!), I finally broke my streak of seeing a new song performed. I’d already seen every song at this show. Kind of sad day, but also not really.

– The crowd at this show? Sucked. Unfriendly people around, a lot of Facebook live-ing going on, a lot of pictures … Ugh.

– I think because I was so happy, I cried through about 75-80% of the show. Seriously.

– Brandon was able to get Zach’s attention at one point with a scribble on his phone to say that it was my birthday; Zach mouthed “how old,;” I said 34 with my fingers; he mouthed “older than me;” I mouthed back “BARELY!” (okay buddy, by like four months); and he flung a guitar pick our way. It didn’t quite make it, but the security guard retrieved it and got it directly into my hands. (I made sure to thank him again specifically after the show).

All in all, we were able to snag four picks, and it was mostly me! Usually B is the guitar pick snatcher; this time it was me. Yay.

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Marquee post-show.

Going back to those guitar picks … I was the happiest that I was able to catch both Eric Bass’ and Zach Myers’ show-specific picks because it had my birthday on them … so I tweeted a photo of the picks and a thank you out, and lookie who retweeted it:

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Hee!

As we were ranking Shinedown shows later the next day, I found it hard to properly place this show. Not the greatest set list, hot as balls, shitty crowd … but the birthday happiness aspect makes it have a special place in my heart.

Once again, thank you to my husband as well as all of the guys in Shinedown – Eric Bass, Barry Kerch, Brent Smith, and especially Zach Myers – for making this one of the best birthdays in a long time.

Shinedown: West Coast Tour 2017

Also known as Shinedown show number 6 … the sixth show in four years and five or six days.

After we saw Shinedown in October, we figured we wouldn’t be able to see them in a while because of other tours and album writing and whatnot. But then … they released a small West Coast tour. We grumbled slightly about them not coming to Colorado this time, but then I spotted the first two shows on the tour – Albuquerque, N.M. on 3.31 and Tucson, Ariz. on 4.1.

I thought, “Dude. We could potentially see one of those two shows!” I talked to B about it and we decided on the Albuquerque show, as it’s a fairly easy drive down from Denver (6ish hours). He got the 31st off, I requested those few days off from work, we drove on down.

We were considering concert VIP for this show and thought we bought it … but all we did was buy VIP floor seats for the venue (which was 100% worth it, mind you). They had the meet and greets for the tour, but the packages for the ABQ show weren’t available until well after we had already bought our seats. Oh well, maybe next time.

Anyway, this show on the tour was weird in that there was no opening act. There are a few opening bands on this tour (As Lions, Cold Kingdom), but for whatever reason, not at this show.

We got to the venue (Legends Theater in the Route 66 Casino) way early because we weren’t sure if we needed to be in line for ages to get a good spot. We find out that we actually have seats for the show.

Third row, but chairs.

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Kind of dumb, but whatever. We had several hours to kill and didn’t feel like sitting in a car for the drive back to our hotel (30-ish minutes, probably more with traffic), so we gambled a bit and then played cards in the back of my Rav until it was time to find food pre-show.

We did pop in the time the doors opened at 7 to get our seats. B asked one of the security people if we could get on the rail, but she said no. Not that that stopped everyone once the show started anyway … So we did end up getting up front anyway!

Before I get ahead of myself, set list, courtesy of Setlist.fm:

Asking for It
Black Cadillac
Devour
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
I’ll Follow You
How Did You Love
If You Only Knew
Enemies
Unity
State of My Head
Second Chance
45
Cut the Cord
Simple Man
Sound of Madness

You could tell it was the first show of the tour as the boys were a little off (specifically through “Asking for It”), but it was a lot of fun. Brent Smith dedicated “Simple Man” to Zach Myers’ son Oliver, as it was Oli’s birthday that day (and during “Sound of Madness,” you could see Myers’ wife Bethany holding Oliver backstage. Cute kid.).

In terms of Shinedown shows we’ve seen, I would say it was average. Definitely not the best, but not the worst either. That’s not to say it was a *bad* show, though; on the contrary, it was pretty awesome. Myers was totally on this show and I think Barry Kerch was having more fun than usual.

Other items of note:
– Brent Smith, please stop growing the hair back out. You look creepy.
– Eric Bass, what the heck was going on with your hair???
– I quickly sharpie’d a “Happy B-Day to Oliver, Zach! :)” note on the back of our tickets (printed out) and showed it to him during “Simple Man,” and he seemed super touched when he mouthed “thank you” back.
– We raked in the souvenirs this show, with a drum stick (this one actually is a BKerch signature as opposed to the Halloween show one we got) and three guitar picks – one Zach, one show-specific (well, the first two shows of this tour) Eric, and a Back to the Future duplicate that we could possibly use to trade later.

I’m super thankful we made it to this show, as I’m not sure when we’re next going to be able to see them live again.

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