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.

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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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