On Sonata Arctica

Oh hey, another post about a metal show!

Like with Nightwish and Within Temptation, I learned about Sonata Arctica from my final college roommate, Amy. We technically had the chance to see Sonata (along with Nightwish) back in March, as they played in the Springs two days after Shinedown, but B had to work and we were both getting quite sick, so thought it prudent we not go.

Eventually we learn that Sonata was coming to town again and I was really kind of thinking I wanted to go, so fortunately, the timing worked out and we hit up their show at the Gothic.

We got up right near the stage as the night of the concert was in either the teens or single digit temperatures, so no one wanted to wait in a long line. We found street parking across from the Gothic so we could wait in our car until either:
A.) the doors opened; or
B.) the line started to get long.

In our case, it was (B), but we didn’t end up having to be out in the cold for long. We also saved our friend Jeremy a spot, as he was meeting us there.

The first act was Omnium Gatherum.

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They were okay. B and I actually were smart for this show and wore earplugs, but as a result, the growls of the lead singer got basically muffled into dinosaur noises, which amused me to no end.

Next up was Leaves’ Eyes.

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First of all, props to them for the proper usage of the possessive apostrophe. This grammar nerd appreciated that a lot. Secondly, we both thought they were good. It was a fun show, with it being audience interactive in that we did some sort of Viking chant/cheer thing and, as you see in the last photo above, the lead male singer came out in costume with a sword! Totally awesome.

Finally, Sonata Arctica. I’m trying to be better about enjoying shows instead of being so concerned about taking pictures, so as a result, I only have one to share from their act.

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Overall, both of us were happy we decided to come to the show. It was obvious that the band has been together for a while and has toured for a while. We hadn’t really heard much of the new album, but I downloaded a few songs off of it the next day due to liking them so much. I also got to hear “Power of One,” which is an older song and doesn’t get played all that much (but is my current favorite by them), so I was super giddy about that.

Also, while in general I think wearing ear plugs was a smart move, I don’t feel like I got as good of an experience wearing them, missing the true feel of the music. I’m unsure on whether I’ll wear them again to a show, or whether I’ll just wear them for the opening acts (as I do really like my hearing …).

All in all, a good time, even though I’m still not the biggest fan of the Gothic for a show.

Shinedown: Take Five

This was *technically* a Five Finger Death Punch headliner show, but since both B and I had to be up early the next morning … we skipped out after Shinedown. That, and I heard from my cousin (the one that tours with Papa Roach) that the guys from 5FDP are douches, so y’know. I trust him.

After the amazingness that was the Colorado Springs show, we weren’t expecting as good of a show, particularly given that it was a bigger venue. But, on the off chance we thought it was awesome because we were so close on the floor, I bought us GA floor seats pretty much as soon as tickets went on sale (in fact, I might have even gotten them through a presale).

It thankfully worked out that B was home for the show, sneaking home during a break in Delta training. I ended up having that day off from work, so we woke up, got in a run, and headed to Pepsi Center ass early (doors were at 5/5:30; we got there … before 2pm, I want to say) so we could storm the stage. Quite a few other people had this same idea, but we probably weren’t any worse than maybe 100 people back.

When we were finally allowed in (getting our floor wristbands), Brandon stampeded the stage while I high-tailed it to a pee room. We had been hiking down to the gas station while we waited for snacks, but the gas station that essentially splits the Pepsi Center parking lot doesn’t have a bathroom. No, it has porta-potties outside it … which were so damn disgusting that I just couldn’t.

While wandering about, I was also tasked with finding us food. Hot dog for Brandon and mediocre chicken fingers for me. I miss when food at Pepsi Center used to be good … back in high school …

Brandon, meanwhile, was able to get us essentially second row on the floor. I somehow fought myself, our food, and two waters (not in bottles; opened in cups) to him, aided slightly by concert buddies Brandon had made. We ate our food and I probably pissed more people off by sneaking back through the masses to throw our trash out and then snaked my way BACK. People probably did not like me for this, but eh.

First band to go on was As Lions. I’m pretty sure this was their first ever tour, which, damn, is awesome for them. They were British, but didn’t have that British rock band sound (see: that Springs post linked above).

In any case, the music wasn’t bad and they were highly entertaining.

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High energy lead singer.

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Set list. The bottom part cracks me up.

Next was Sixx:A.M., which I had heard a little about. They put on an awesome show – you could tell they have a lot of fun on stage, which I, as a fan, love to see.

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Next up, Shinedown. Firstly, before I get into anything, set list:

Adrenaline
Fly From the Inside
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Unity
How Did You Love
Enemies
Call Me
State of My Head
Second Chance
Cut the Cord
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Sound of Madness

Notice song #7 on that list. NOTICE IT. That is probably my all-time favorite Shinedown song that they hardly ever play anymore. But the song went Gold this year after being out in the world for eight years, so maybe that’s why? Or, as I joked to Brandon, “it’s because you yelled “Call Me” and “play Call Me” at the Springs show.” I cried throughout that whole song. And through How Did You Love.

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(I didn’t take as many photos this time because I chose to ENJOY the experience, and it was worth it. I also hopped around and danced like a crazy person, which had the happy side effect of making the guy who had seriously creeped up into my personal space back off lest he be elbowed or stomped on.)

Other highlights:

– caught three guitar picks. Two different, one the same as one from the Springs show, so we gave the duplicate to our concert friends.

– It was Eric Bass’s birthday, so they brought out a cake and we all got to sing to him.

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– The crowd test of Brent Smith hopping into the crowd on the West Coast tour must have worked out well as he did it again at Pepsi.

– During the “Simple Man” section, there was a tiny break and I was close enough to Zach Myers to show him the picture of the Germantown Commissary I put on Instagram (that he liked …), zoomed in on the logo … and he saw it and his eyes lit up in recognition and he mouthed, “Hey! That’s my hometown!” Pretty cool. Also pretty sure he attempted to flick guitar picks our way after that …

When wandering for food, I saw a tee that had “Call Me a Sinner, Call Me a Saint” on the back (clearly from “Call Me”) that I kind of just had to buy. And we got a shirt for Brandon, too.

While not as intimate as the Springs show, the guys are starting to show some better personality on tour which makes it that much more fantastic of a show experience. Sure, they do some generic schticks, but when it comes down to it, they just put on a great show.

And it helps when Smith doesn’t do the volume “you’re right here, I need you up here” thing, because damn is that annoying. Not experiencing that again? GLORIOUS.

Shinedown. They’re the best. Go see them. I’m at five times and will happily grow that number.

(Tour still going on now – see if they’re coming to you!)

Disturbed at Red Rocks

Also known as B’s first Red Rocks show.

Disturbed is a band that the husband has loved for years and has always wanted to see live. We learned that they were touring again this year and were going to be at Red Rocks Amphitheatre the day before his birthday. Clearly we needed to go. As with most stupid Red Rocks shows, it was “sold out” (except for VIP packages), but B really wanted to go, so he sucked it up and paid for the VIP.

(Which, for this show, the “cheap” level included early entrance to the venue, a guaranteed seat within the first several rows, a lanyard, a cinch sack, a signed poster, and a bandanna.)

The first act was Saint Asonia, whom we had never heard of. Turns out, they’re compiled of a few members from other bands who formed their own group. The lead singer, for example, is Adam Gontier, formerly of Three Days Grace. I enjoyed their stuff but much like Insomnium, unfortunately (?), they’re a much better live act than they are recorded. Sad day.

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Adam Gontier.

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Loved the green strings!

Next up was Alter Bridge. They were … okay. Wasn’t too impressed by them, to be honest. Neither was B.

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This was actually a double-headliner show, with Breaking Benjamin as the other main act. If you recall, we also saw them last Halloween. The set list was similar to that show, but it was equally awesome. These guys put on such a good show; they are a pleasure to see live.

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Finally, Disturbed. You could tell they had taken several years off from touring, as they just felt “off,” so to speak. B agreed on me with that one. That didn’t mean it wasn’t an awesome show, however. Their cover of “Sound of Silence” with the rocks all around? Amazing.

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Husband is so happy.

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David Draiman.

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Fire!!

All in all, a decent show and definitely a good one for B’s first one at Red Rocks. Plus, although it sprinkled (it’s not really a true Red Rocks show unless you get rained on at least once), the weather actually cooperated which was even better.

On Apocalyptica

In the spirit of catching up, also way back at the end of April, Brandon and I went to a concert … and, once again, a metal show. This time, however, it was a metal show of my choosing.

I discovered Apocalyptica back in college and knew them as the band that covered Metallica with cellos. I then discovered the song “Hope,” which I can still safely say is my favorite song, despite the fact that it’s instrumental. It’s just that amazing.

I saw them live ten years ago, back in September 2005. That show was at the Bluebird. It was small, intimate, sparsely attended … and beautifully powerful. Just four guys with cellos on chairs and simply amazing. I’ve talked about that show to Brandon probably since I’ve known him.

So, when I found out they were back in Denver almost by fluke – thanks Facebook for telling me which friends like the Ogden Theatre and that Apocalyptica is coming to the Ogden! – I told Brandon we had to find a way to go. The day of the show ended up being a super long day – I worked that morning, we got in a workout, we headed down to the Springs to witness a close friend’s civil ceremony (and went out to dinner with them after) … and then drove back up to Denver to the Ogden without even bothering to change.

Apocalyptica’s style has changed slightly over the years. They’ve gone from four cellos down to three and have added some drums and a lot of guest vocalists, but the music is still amazing.

It was a much more crowded show than the first time I saw them, and the nature of the music made it probably one of the most subdued metal shows I’ve been to, but the guys put on a great show (I would argue they’re better showmen now than they were ten years ago) and neither of us regretted the long day.

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Marquee.

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Backdrop with drums.

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Shinedown: West Coast Tour 2016

What, another Shinedown concert post? I know, I know … I feel like they’re the only band I go see.

In the post I wrote after the Saints and Sinners Ball, I commented, “I’ve seen this band three times … and I’ve essentially seen the same show three times. If the show I’m going to see of theirs in March (hopefully) is basically the same show again … I may not want to go see them anymore because I don’t want to spend my money on the same. exact. show. over and over again.”

Well, they came to Colorado Springs on March 13 and it so happened that both Brandon and I were around to see them. I decided to give them one more shot and see how it went. The show was part of a small West Coast run, which is probably why they came to the Springs as opposed to Denver.

I worked that morning, went for a run (oh, Ironman training …), realized that yes, I was getting sick (as was Brandon), but screw it, and headed down to the Springs early. We had high hopes of getting a dang guitar pick this time, so we wanted to get to the venue early in hopes of getting close to the stage.

We grabbed a (should have been) quick(er) dinner at Denny’s and then got to City Auditorium about 4:45 (doors opened at 6).

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The line, when we got there, was just around the corner. By the time the doors opened, it was well around the block. When we got into the building, we split up – Brandon stampeded the stage to get a spot and I high-tailed it toward the porta-potties.

This was successful. We were about three or four “rows” (as rows is a very fluid thing on the floor) back and next to a really nice couple who we chatted with to pass the time until the show started.

The opening act was the Virginmarys. They were … okay. Sounded a bit familiar despite never knowing about them before this, but when I heard the lead singer talk and realized he was British, it made sense. This is going to sound a bit crazy, but all British rock bands have a similar sound. It might be a chord here or there, but there’s teeny tiny little similarities, from these guys, to Oasis, to Blur, to whomever.

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I could tell this Shinedown show was going to be a bit different because there was no swath of fabric blocking the stage between sets like usual. Which really just meant we could see the roadies set stuff up, but you know.

The set list was also vastly different …

Unity
Fly From the Inside
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay-Boom-Lay-Boom)
If You Only Knew
Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide
The Crow & the Butterfly
Through the Ghost
Enemies
I’ll Follow You
Amaryllis
Cut the Cord
State of My Head
Second Chance
45 (acoustic snippet)
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover; acoustic)
Sound of Madness
(thanks to setlist.fm)

“Unity” was different as an opener, but I liked it – upbeat, happy … it set the tone for the rest of the show. “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide” is something they haven’t played live in several years, so it was a nice treat to hear that. “Through the Ghost,” likewise, was amazing and I pretty much cried through the whole thing.

“Amaryllis” was played due to a Twitter request from a fan (who played it at his wedding); another song I cried throughout.

I was a little bummed once again that they didn’t play more off of “Threat to Survival,” but I really have no complaints. The guys interacted with the crowd the most out of any of the three previous shows I’d seen and it was the least scripted, as well, which I really loved. I felt like they actually cared about we, the fans, as opposed to some of the other shows of theirs.

And of course, my close-up spot afforded some pictures …

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Both Zach Myers and Eric Bass (pictured) had guitar picks on their mic stands and I loved the way the light reflected through them.

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(I think I like this one more for the cell phone in front of me …)

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So Brent Smith parted the crowd and hopped onto the floor to talk to the audience … and as a result, we moved up a row or two on the floor.

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For the “encore,” Zach came out in a Peyton Manning jersey. He’s a Titans fan, but is a general fan of Manning’s from his days at Tennessee.

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Ahh, lens flare …

Also of note:
– Brandon caught a water bottle tossed by Brent Smith – twice.
– WE FINALLY GOT OUR GUITAR PICKS!!!! We got two – one of Eric’s and one of Zach’s … and should have had at least one more. One came right near me; I turned on my phone flashlight to find it … and some guy next to me used my genius against me. Boo.

In closing: Shinedown’s music is amazing; we know that. They sound good live; we know that. But when the guys put out a personality during the show … they’re really hard to top.

Saints and Sinners Ball

Also known as Shinedown round three.

Way back on Halloween, Brandon and I went to go see Shinedown (double-headlining with Breaking Benjamin and alongside Nothingmore) at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. This was my third time seeing Shinedown and second time at 1stBank Center.

Let’s start off with the first two acts.

Nothingmore opened with the theme song to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the band came out in costume … dressed up as the Turtles.

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Their music wasn’t necessarily my style, but they were good performers. Some bands that have been around for years (*cough*Uncle Kracker*cough* don’t have the stage presence that these guys did. Their drum stuff and some of their theatricality (like with this awesome creation:
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reminded Brandon a bit of Blue Man Group.

The night we saw them was their last night on the tour, so they took a giant selfie with the crowd at the end of their set.

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Next up was Breaking Benjamin, who also embraced the day and came out in Star Wars costumes.

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Brandon was really excited to see these guys and they did put on a great show. They threw out candy to the crowd. They grabbed a sign from an audience member (sign was for said member’s significant other serving overseas) and brought it up on stage to sign,
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giving a great shout out to our service men and women before playing “Unknown Soldier.”

Going on with the Star Wars theme, they did a great mash-up of the Imperial March and a few other covers – Schism, Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Walk. Probably my favorite musical moment of the show.

I forget which song they did it for, but they had all the house lights turn off and had all of us light up the arena with our lighters (that is, cell phone flashlights) to show how much light we can bring and it was fairly fantastic to see how much light it was.

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They ended up their set by grabbing a whole bunch of fans from the crowd and bringing them on stage to sing “The Diary of Jane,” and to have a chance to be on stage with their favorite band, which was super, super cool.

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Finally, Shinedown.

First, pictures:

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Opening.

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Barry Kerch with some killer make-up going on.

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So there was this stuffed Eeyore at Brent Smith’s feet and I’m not sure why …

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Zach Myers with some face paint.

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Brent Smith and Zach Myers.

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Near the end of the show.

Thoughts on the show:

The Good:
– Music was fantastic, as always.
– They also threw out candy into the crowd.
– They played “How Did You Love,” probably my favorite song off the new album.

The Not So Good:
– They really didn’t embrace the Halloween theme like the other bands did. Okay, so they tossed out candy, and Zach and Barry had some face paint on, but that’s it. A little disappointing.
– For it being the “Threat to Survival” tour, I expected way more songs from the new album, as opposed to … three. Come on now, guys.
– I’ve seen this band three times … and I’ve essentially seen the same show three times. If the show I’m going to see of theirs in March (hopefully) is basically the same show again … I may not want to go see them anymore because I don’t want to spend my money on the same. exact. show. over and over again.

On the plus side, Brandon was able to get one of Barry’s drumsticks (unfortunately it’s just plain; doesn’t have his name on it like the Papa Roach sticks we have) and I was able to somehow snag a Breaking Benjamin guitar pick at the end of the night. Woo!

Under the Sun Tour

Little known T fact: I was a huge Better Than Ezra fan in my youth. They are arguably my first favorite band and “Good” was my favorite song for years.

Now, I’ve seen most of the bands I’ve considered “favorites” over the years live. Metallica, Apocalyptica (okay, so they just have my favorite song), Shinedown. However, I’ve missed out on BTE.

(I should note that I did have an opportunity in college – they played the Paradise Rock Club and I almost went … but missed it because I was in theory going to hang out with one of the Suffolk hockey players. Stupid men. I regret not going to that show to this day.)

In any case, in randomly looking up summer concerts, I found out they were coming to the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield as part of the Under the Sun tour on July 28. A lot of stuff was going on in our lives but Brandon and I bit the bullet and bought the tickets and went to the show.

The tour – 90s throwback! – consisted of Eve6, Uncle Kracker, Better Than Ezra, and Sugar Ray.

We missed the first part of Eve6’s set thanks to traffic and picking up food.

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They were … okay. I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse.

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Concert selfie!

Next up was Uncle Kracker. First few songs were boring as hell and he was doing nothing to get the crowd into it. Except after the first few songs, and then he yelled at us for sleeping on him – sorry, sir, that’s your fault for SUCKING. They picked it up a little … but if I don’t see them again I won’t be sorry.

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Next up was Better Than Ezra, and they were AWESOME. They opened up with “King of New Orleans” and went straight into “Good” after that. Kevin Griffin said that they weren’t going to wait for anything and went straight after it. I was going to stay in the grass with Brandon … but I couldn’t help myself and ran up to the stage.

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I forget the whole set (and it’s not on Setlist.fm yet), but I do know they played “At the Stars” and explained that they actually wrote the song up outside of Crested Butte, which was really cool for this Colorado girl.

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They also had Michael Jerome on the drums do a really cool set using only cowbells. I love drummers and the cool shit they can do, man.

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They finished up the set with “In the Blood” which, although it opens up “Deluxe,” is a strong finisher, too. To top it all off, I managed to catch a guitar pick. Night? Made.

However, the night wasn’t even over yet. We still had Sugar Ray to go. Brandon had seen them in college and said they put on a great show, and after seeing them, I have to agree. Mark McGrath may be in his late-40s, but he is an entertainer, plain and simple, and he is awesome.

(He also referenced his roles in the “Sharknado” franchise, which made me super happy. If I had had more time, I was considering bringing a stuffed shark to throw on stage.)

Sugar Ray was just plain fun. There were beach balls tossed around, a cover of “Unbelievable” (apparently one of the guitarists (bassists?) wrote it) … it was pretty awesome. We also both headed down to the stage for this show … as did quite a few other fellow concert-goers.

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