Shinedown made their mark on the alternative genre more than twenty years ago. The band’s music helped to form so many musical tastes in the early 2000s and they still continue to do so today. The band has been noted to have had more chart toppers than the likes of Led Zeppelin and tied in second of all time number one hits ever out of any genre with Mariah Carey while trailing The Beatles only by one hit. Certainly, all of this is an accomplishment that the band are completely humbled to have heard about, and they can fill up an arena like only a band of their caliber can do.
Recently, I was invited by the band to see a Shinedown show via their ‘Planet Zero’ tour. The band was joined by John Harvie and Jelly Roll. The H.E.B Center in Austin, Texas quickly filled up as John Harvie opened up the show. John Harvie and the band that joined him on stage had tons of energy. I’d say it was vodka and Redbull fueled energy, but the band looked to be taking shots of Jack Daniels instead.
The John Harvie sound is something that is a Pinetree-fresh take on the Pop-Punk genre. Harvie and his band do have their similarities to bands such as Blink-182 and Sum-41; but they are totally their own sound as well with a 2022 update and a backwoods twist which is reminiscent of a college bonfire party with a few kegs. The band did a great job and knew exactly how to make the arena feel like a the biggest bash in town.
Jelly Roll came out after John Harvie and the crowd was extremely excited to watch his set. Jelly Roll was joined by his band on stage and was the first of the night to use pyro in the form of flames that looked like they could touch the ceiling. During the set, Jelly Roll made it very clear how important togetherness was and just why we were all in a room together; music. This message was also stated by John Harvie and it would become full circle when Brent Smith would agree with the statement during the Shinedown set that was to come.
At one point during the Jelly Roll performance, he pointed out how he, like many others, grew up on all forms of music. He said to the crowd “This is a playlist I’d play if my fata*s had a BBQ,” as the band covered short clips of classics such as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, ’99 Problems’, and ‘Beer Never Broke My Heart’. This won over the Texas crowd.
Before the set closed, Jelly Roll pointed out a sign that a four year old girl was holding that stated that it was her birthday and her wish was to be at a Jelly Roll show. With that, Jelly Roll had the whole arena singing happy birthday to the girl and she got her wish.
As Jelly Roll started leaving the stage, he noted how lucky he was to be with Shinedown on that night as he thanked everyone for coming out.
After a short intermission, two screens would appear on stage as video clips of the 2020 pandemic would engulf the screens. The screens would show thriller-movie-like scenes before going black. The screens would light up once more stating “584 Days Later…” The band would then be shown in the footage rehearsing together and getting back into the swing of things. A character, who was seen earlier on in the video, would appear once more on the screen welcoming the crowd to ‘Planet Zero’. With this statement, the screens opened up as Shinedown walked forward and into their positions.
The band opened up their set with ‘The Saints Of Violence And Innuendo,’ which started off their portion of the show incredibly. There was fire, flashing lights, fireworks, and tons of effects which really showcased how important the band are to the arena rock scene.
Throughout the set, Brent Smith shined as a frontman. I would say that he is easily one of the best frontmen not only from their original era, but one of the best today as well. He knew how to command a crowd. Instances of his abilities were not just in vocal tones or knowing where to stand so that fire could be all around him – but also in his way of taking pause after a song to break up a tense moment in the crowd between patrons.
Brent would hunch down and look at those causing the issue and ask attendees in that area: “Are we cool?” He would then ensure that they took his word and others were safe before moving forward into the set.
On top of playing their hits, the band would also interact with the crowd quite a bit. The band would highlight the importance of mental health – something they have been doing for their entire careers before the mental health movement really became a talking piece for many. At one point, Brent asked everyone to look every which way and to shake hands with the people around them. This was an excellent move as it really made everyone feel welcomed to this planet of Shinedown’s.
As the night started to come to a close, the band would cover ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ by Oasis. To me, the usage of this cover was poetic. It was as a swan song for the pandemic that kept us away from music and we were all just glad to be back together as Shinedown taught us how to love one another again and how to interact with smiling faces once more through their art of direction.
Never, at any point, did the set feel at all political and it wasn’t meant to be. When I spoke with Brent a few weeks ago – he expressed to me how things can get twisted and social media does a great job at that. In fact, Brent taught me a very valuable lesson; a phone and social media can always be turned off. Post how you feel and walk away the artist explained.
Also, via my time with Brent, he said that there was never a question on if the virus was real or not. Certainly, it is, but he did feel awful that it kept many away from loved ones and music for so long; something Brent and the band were happy to change.
In my opinion, the ‘Planet Zero’ tour is not a political statement. It’s a statement of life. It’s a statement of living as a human. It’s a statement of togetherness. The Shinedown set, at its core, was a lesson on how to once again interact with each other after such a hiatus from doing so. The focal point of the show was never supposed to be Shinedown. It was always for the fans and those who make these shows happen such as LA LLoyd, Sanjay Parikh, and those who came on before Shinedown.
The message was loud and clear: It’s okay to talk to others, it’s okay to have fun, and it’s okay to move around a bit. Meeting people and interacting with people is what makes us human. It’s what makes this truly once in a lifetime human experience enjoyable. It almost felt like Brent was teaching everyone how to be just that again – human.
The show was a great time filled with many new friends thanks to Shinedown laying the foundation for everyone to speak to one another and shake hands. Texas crowds are some of the best crowds around and together with John Harvie, Jelly Roll, and Shinedown – the stars did shine very bright.