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, 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.

Carnival of Madness

A week ago Tuesday, September 10, the Carnival of Madness came to Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo. Shinedown headlined, with Papa Roach, Skillet, In This Moment and We As Human. Given how much I raved about Shinedown last time they were in town and given the fact that this show was at Red Rocks, only the coolest concert venue ever, it was obvious that I was going to buy tickets.

Unfortunately, like last time, Brandon couldn’t go with me. This time, it was due to him upgrading to captain and therefore being in airline training. Luckily he was able to go to their St. Louis show on 9/7 thanks to my cousin Mike, who does sound for Papa Roach.

In any case, unbelievably awesome show in the rain. It rained off and on from when I got there (at the end of In This Moment) until the Shinedown set … where it dried out until the encore when it poured and pretty much didn’t stop for the rest of the week.

The set list was very similar to last time; it is, once again, thanks to Setlist.fm:
I’m Not Alright
Enemies
Devour
Unity
The Crow & The Butterfly
Adrenaline
I’ll Follow You
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
If You Only Knew
Amaryllis
****
Sound of Madness
Second Chance
45 (first verse and crowd participation
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Bully

Also thanks to Mike’s unbelievable generosity, I got a set of drumsticks (Tony Palermo; Papa Roach), some PR guitar picks, a shirt (with a sugar skull!), and a VIP pass so I could watch part of the Shinedown set from the sound booth and hang out with Mike on the bus. The only thing I asked for – and felt a little guilty for – was to see the legendary signature tunnel at Red Rocks … and it was totally cool and totally worth it.

Any regrets? Brandon thought I might have been able to meet the bands … which may have been possible after the show if it weren’t for the horribly miserable rain, but as AWESOME as that would have been, it wasn’t something I was expecting. So yeah, a little sad, but can’t be sad about something I never thought I would get. My main regret was actually not getting a picture of me with my cousin, since I rarely see him. Dangit.

I also regret not getting to the show earlier for a better spot. I was waaaay off to the side – obstructed view, they’d call it – and couldn’t really grab good quality photos. Boo.

Anyway, pictures!

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In This Moment. I missed most of their set – what little I heard wasn’t bad, though. I did miss the other opening act, We As Human, so I can’t speak to them.

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Mike setting up on stage with his crazy orange in-ears.
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Papa Roach.
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Creepin’ on Mike while he’s doing his actual job of sound mixing.
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Crowd totally into Papa Roach.

While yes, I mainly got tickets for Shinedown, it was really cool to see Papa Roach live – they put on a great show. Very high energy – lead singer Jacoby Shaddix kept hopping into the crowd and I swear went at least 30 rows up. They are entertainers for sure and it was fun to see.

Next up was Skillet – they and Papa Roach switch off on the tour as to who’s second to the main act. Skillet is a Christian group and seemed a little out of place on the tour, honestly. The music wasn’t bad and I liked a few of their songs, but the energy? Lacking. I saw a whole bunch of people sitting down during their set and that shouldn’t happen during an awesome show. The music should speak to you so you WANT to stand and sway and clap your hands and stomp your feet or what have you. Skillet didn’t inspire that in the crowd.

I basically used the Skillet set to wander around to try and thaw my limbs out … which meant buying a sweet burnout Shinedown tee at the merch booth and talking with Mike quite a bit. I was okay with this.

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Logo on the video boards.

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Shinedown opening with fire dancers (it IS a carnival, supposedly) and one of my new favorite songs by them, “I’m Not Alright.”
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Crowd lighting up the Amphitheater for “The Crow & The Butterfly.”
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The creeper view of Brent Smith (that is, from the sound booth). Best perk of being back here? Closer to the pyrotechnics – warmth!
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These cords make the music happen. Also: set list.
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Closer view of Zach Myers and his AWESOME ARGYLE SOCKS OMG WANT. Yes, I like argyle. Yes, I lusted over his socks. Yes, I’m weird.
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More carnival people – this was during the encore; either right before or right after “Sound of Madness.”
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Brent Smith and Zach Myers on the railing (in the rain) for “45”/”Simple Man.” Getting soaked like the rest of us.
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Near the end of “Bully.”

And because I had to, the signature tunnel:
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