SHINEDOWN Graces the Dow Event Center

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, National Music, Concert Reviews,   From Issue 716   By: Jamie Griffin

09th December, 2010     0

Unplugged, Storytellers or just plain acoustic.  No matter how you put it, when you take the loud, electric aspects out of a band’s sound, it creates a whole different dimension.  The Heritage Theater in the Dow Event Center hosted the modern rock band Shinedown in just this format. 

After touring behind their brainchild Carnival of Madness tour this summer, the band decided to go for a more intimate, stripped down tour before entering the studio to record the follow up to their platinum selling album Sound of Madness.  One of a handful of acoustic dates, the show in Saginaw brought Shinedown fans a whole new outlook on the band’s sound.  Boasting what I consider to be one of the best voices in rock music today, singer Brent Smith led the band through a very VH1 Storytellers like show, not only providing his signature powerhouse vocals, but also the stories behind the music. 

Opening up the set with Heroes off of 2008’s Us and Them, Smith told the crowd that the song is inspired by people such as John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King and not fellow musicians like most thought.  The evening proved to be an eye opening experience.  As a Shinedown fan from years back, I was glad to hear the stories behind some of the more though provoking songs.  Most people would realize that the song Save Me deals with addiction but there’s more to the story, as Smith told of the day he found out he was going to be a father and decided that he didn’t want his son to tell people that his dad was a drug addict.

Stories about the band’s trip to Iraq and Afghanistan also were included as the band trudged through the song Devour and told the crowd about the conditions of the shows they played in the warzones. 

Perhaps the most interesting of all of the stories was the true tale behind the band’s first big hit 45.  One can pretty much figure out the connotations of the song just by the lyrics but the story behind it is one of hope and humanity.  Perhaps the most profound words of the night came during this song’s story.  While telling the story Smith quoted a friend by saying “The will to live will always outweigh the ability to die” This was the perfect ending to the story of renewed hope and perseverance.

Bringing out openers “the Bear” and Will Hodge to perform a song with them, the band played With a Little Help from My Friends.  The power of Smith’s voice was very apparent in this song.  Along with the Joe Cocker-esque version of this tune, the band also paid homage to some of their contemporaries with a great rendition of the Foo Fighters’ Times Like These.
The Show kicked off with a 5-song set by a friend of the bands, simply named “the Bear.”  He played 4 original tunes as well as a great cover of Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles.  He was a great warm beginning to a night full of heartfelt songs.

After the Bear came Will Hodge.  His blending of country and rock roots was a great addition to the show.  There was a great soulfulness to his sound and it was the perfect pre-curser to the performance of Shinedown.  Concluding his set with a completely unplugged, un-miked song it was great to see an act that didn’t have to rely on the marvels of modern technology to make an impact.

All in all the Shinedown acoustic show was a great way to see one of today’s hottest bands.  While I found it to be lacking a bit of the showmanship of the Carnival of Madness it did exactly what it was meant to do and brought a different side of the band to the fans.  It proved that a theatrical show isn’t always what’s best and can sometimes take away from the purity of the music. 


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