by Ian Storck
The Sylvee in Madison, Wisconsin is packed to the brim, with fans still filing in as the show is just about to kick off on a beautiful Thursday night. Shinedown has finally returned, after the COVID-19 pandemic and a rescheduled February date. The merch and beer lines are long, and the sold out crowd is ready for a long-awaited rock show.
Minneapolis-based Cold Kingdom gets tapped for the opening slot on this date, and starts off the show with a high-intensity rock set that gets the crowd hyped for the night.
Despite not being the headliner, Pop Evil’s appearance is highly-anticipated by the crowd. Hailing from Michigan, they frequented southern Wisconsin and the Midwest in their early years, and have grown quite the dedicated fanbase. They play a solid mix of their popular tracks, from their 2013 album Onyx onwards, though noticeably leaving out some of their older hits like “100 in a 55.” The eight-song setlist feels like it comes and goes too quickly, and when they announce their last song there are a good deal of boos from the crowd, who have been singing along to every one.
Shinedown doesn’t leave anything at the door at this 2500-capacity venue, bringing along all of their arena production and special effects with them. The lucky crowd is getting a more intimate experience and closeness to the artists, without missing out on the flash and showmanship of a large production.
The show starts with a bang – literally. Fireworks and pyro light up the stage as the group kicks off the set with “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo” off of their newest album, Planet Zero, followed by “Devil,” with the stage bathed in harsh red light. Singer Brent Smith takes a few moments between songs to explain the concept and themes behind their latest release, asking for the end of the division in our country.
Shinedown’s 20-year career has brought forth tons of hit tracks that have spread like wildfire across rock radio stations, leaving their setlist to be packed full of instantly recognizable songs. There were almost no songs that the audience wasn’t singing along with, including one of the latest singles, “Daylight,” a powerful anthem which featured bassist Eric Bass on the piano. The biggest crowd-pleasers of the night come from 2008’s Sound of Madness, namely “Second Chance,” and “Sound of Madness,” though there is quite the reception to the cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” as well as “45,” all the way back from their debut album.
Nothing suffers from the live production and the flashy stage setup and pyrotechnics never overshadow the members or the quality. They sound as good, if not better, than on albums. It’s not always as clean, but it’s that raw live feeling that adds so much to the emotion and power of a majority of the tracks.
Check out the setlist below and see Shinedown’s upcoming tour dates.
The Saints of Violence and Innuendo
State of My Head
Cut the Cord
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Sound of Madness