September 5, 2018 Godsmack & Shinedown Fire Up Jones Beach, NY 9-2-18
Summer’s offerings of warm weather, good times, and outdoor activity may soon be gone, but it is the memories we gather that last forever. While most past events fade to grey as years go by, chances are many of us will still remember a concert from a decade earlier. Take 2006 for example, much of what happened that year may be a blur without a Google search, but a good portion of Rock fans instantly remember Godsmack teaming up with Rob Zombie for a late summer co-headlining tour across the USA. A 25 date trek, here is a little food for thought, that very 2006 tour actually included a then up-and-coming band named Shinedown as direct support for the two headliners. Fast forward 12 years later, minus Rob Zombie, who recently wrapped up a run with Marilyn Manson, you will find Godsmack tag-teaming with Shinedown once again.
This go around, Godsmack are on the verge of a milestone in their career – set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1998 debut album in 2019. Meanwhile, more than a decade later, Shinedown has gone from a promising, young band with early success to veterans – accumulating a mass of mainstream success with hit after hit. Together they unite for one of the more explosive Hard Rock tours to grace American soil all summer long.
Kicking off the run back on July 22nd, right smack in the middle of Labor Day weekend, Godsmack and Shinedown arrived on Long Island to host Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater with support from Red Sun Rising. Their first time visiting the essential New York State beachside venue since, you guessed, 2006, it would mark the final performance of the first leg of the tour. Scheduled to reconvene on September 21st and carry on through October 13th, a lot was at stake for all parties involved. Plain and simple, they wanted to rock this crowd to the core.
A near flawless night, there was no threat of rain in the forecast, it was warm, slightly muggy, and the temperature was only on an upward incline as the audience shuffled in. Up first was the Ohio-based act known as Red Sun Rising. Very much at a similar point in their career as Shinedown was some 12 years ago, Red Sun Rising recently released their sophomore album, Thread. Peaking on Rock charts, the band has been hard at work touring around the nation since signing on with Razor & Tie Records in 2014.
Established enough to be recognized by a dedicated following, but on the precipice of breaking down the wall of a larger audience, Red Sun Rising came out around 6:45 PM ready to go. Led by the powerful vocals of Mike Protich, the guitar work of Ryan Williams, along with Dave McGarry, bass of Ricky Miller, and drumming of Pat Gerasia, they engulfed the amphitheater with rich, heavy sound.
For those still unfamiliar with Red Sun Rising, they are a band who is not following any the trends of other modern Rock bands out there today. A more traditional approach to Rock-n-Roll, they are also not trying to emulate bands of the past, nor are they trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they offer a full, powerful take on Rock music that is filled with emotion and meaningful lyrical content. Performing a set that included their recognizable singles “Amnesia,” “The Otherside,” as well as “Emotionless,” they also unleashed newer songs such as “Veins” and “Deathwish.” All together tight and focused, Red Sun Rising demanded the attention of everyone in their opening set.
Following Red Sun Rising, a good period of time passed before Shinedown took the stage – most likely because Shinedown pulled out all the stops with their theatrical setup for this tour. Recently releasing their sixth overall studio album, ATTENTION ATTENTION, Shinedown has proven they are as much a Rock-n-Roll band as ever. In an age when everyone runs their mouth freely from behind keyboards without fear, Shinedown has been the subject of some injustice criticism for being soft, too Pop, or too mainstream. Well, the truth is the band has never changed their outlook toward songwriting, and those who have been paying attention know they rock as hard and heavy as any other act in the Hard Rock genre.
That in mind, Shinedown came out as determined and full of energy as ever before. Initially obscured by a massive white sheet, it quickly dropped to the stage revealing the band as they opened with “Sound of Madness.” A fitting spark to kick off the show, the adrenaline rush did not subside well into the set. In fact, they would blaze through some of their heaviest rockers one by one – “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom),” and then “Cut the Cord.”
Loud, proud, and in charge, Vocalist Brent Smith literally poured his soul into the performance as sweat drenched his entire body. Equally engaged, Bassist Eric Bass and Guitarist Zach Myers were jumping about the stage at an accelerated rates while Barry Kerch punished his drum kit, raised on a platform in the rear. Matching their unhinged energy with explosive pyro, and a light show that was second to none, they continued to rattle the venue with the defiant “Bully,” the uplifting new single “Get Up,” and the Country/Blues tingling “State of My Head.”
Quite intense and jam-packing, Shinedown also let the dust settle in between it all, with favorites such as “I’ll Follow You,” “Unity,” and megahit “Second Chance.” If that was not enough, Smith, who ran into the crowd earlier in the set, revisited the audience once again for an acoustic encore performance of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” with Myers by his side. Getting a bit closer to the crowd, the interactive rendition resonated in the hearts everyone before the final song of the set, heavy 2018 single, “DEVIL.”
A performance that was truly inspired, it would have been even more exhilarating to have seen them perform more tracks off the new and impressive ATTENTION ATTENTION album. That said, they did in fact do just that earlier in the year prior to hitting the road with Godsmack. Yes, time restrictions can be a bummer, but Shinedown were faced with an impossible task to try and fit in as much as action into their set as possible. The verdict, they did a sensation job and continue to silence any detractors of their potency as a Rock-n-Roll band.
Given a very small window of time to catch their breath, Jones Beach was thrusted into Godsmack’s set less than 25 minutes later. Impressive to say the least, Godsmack approached their performance’s intensity in a slightly different manner. Instead, they did what they do best – provided razor-sharp, heavy, rhythmic trances with each song played. Afterall, Ozzy Osbourne himself once told the band they have one of the best rhythm sections he had ever heard, and he is not wrong!
Nonetheless, Godsmack has built a reputation over the years, a reputation for being a killer live band. Living up to that legacy, they came out firing on all cylinders with the title-track off their latest album, When Legends Rise. An album that sees Godsmack slightly more refined, but no less rugged, Sully Erna (vocals/guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass), Tony Rombola (lead guitar), and Shannon Larkin (drums) have every reason to be proud of the final product they put together. Performing cuts such as “Say My Name,” “Someday,” and later on, the single “Bulletproof,” it is an album that cements the fact that Godsmack are alive, well, and excited to push their Rock-n-Roll train deep into the future.
Also faced with the dreaded challenge of compacting a setlist, Godsmack did a fantastic job with their selection, jamming through “1000hp,” “Keep Away,” “Cryin’ Like a Bitch,” “Awake,” and “Whatever.” All key components in the history of the band, perhaps one of biggest songs that captured the imaginations of Rock fans back in the day was “Voodoo,” a track which still mesmerized in the live setting.
Defined by its bassline and drums, “Voodoo” was also a fitting prelude to Godsmack’s dual drum-off they like to call “Batalla de los tambores.” A signature part of their shows, Erna, originally a drummer by trade, broke out his own kit to team up with his friend and underrated bandmate, Mr. Shannon Larkin. Together, they provided a fantastic array of rhythmic pieces, mixing in snippets of some of fan’s favorite Rock classics. Speaking of Rock classics, they decided to have some more fun with the audience and invited Shinedown’s Zach Myers back on stage for a rendition of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” Lively and successfully arousing the crowd’s interest, the set came to boil, ending on a high note with “I Stand Alone.”
As mentioned, this was in fact the final show on the first leg of this tour cycling. All parties involved could have been fatigued and eager to travel home to be with their families, but they did anything but mail it in. This is New York, and New York deserves a performer’s best effort, these bands know that. Eric Bass of Shinedown even took the microphone to confess the evening’s show had the best front row he had seen all tour. Feeling comfortable and at home, Sully Erna even messed around with the audience, because if you are from the Northeast – New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts – you need to take a little bit of ball-busting. Overall, it was a show well-worth coming out for, and much like the 2006 tour, will hold a special place in the memories of all who attended.