Shinedown, Papa Roach, Asking Alexandria, Savage After Midnight
October 6th, 2019
Mankato Civic Center in Mankato, MN
I think I officially have to crown Shinedown as my absolute favorite band to see live.
Last March I was able to see Shinedown live for the first time ever and I was blown away. By the production, by the performances, by the sound. Just everything about that show was phenomenal. It was my favorite show of the year and one I kept replaying back in my mind most.
But here we are, seven months later, and that best show title has been taken. By Shinedown. Shinedown beat themselves.
I was also blown away by how good Papa Roach were the first time and how much I enjoyed seeing them. They’ve had so many hits over the years that if you were to take just one or two off each album, you easily get a great setlist and it took seeing them live to realize just how many great songs they’ve had. They aren’t just the “Last Resort” band. Jacoby Shaddix has sounded fantastic each time vocally, while the energy and effort the band puts out was impressive both times.
This fall’s show was a bit smaller in size with Mankato Civic Center compared to Target Center. The stage didn’t have the cat walk that was out for last March’s show and was also smaller and not as tall, which was great for all us photographers. I personally am super grateful as I those allowed me to to get better shots than last time.
These two Shinedown shows I’ve been to are now my happy place, and the goosebumps I got throughout them were more goosemountains. What I’ve loved about the band is the inclusivity, and singer Brent Smith does an amazing job bringing audiences together. Late in the set he asks everyone to look around them, to their left and their right, and “see, we’re all the same. Look around,” Smith said. “There’s no negative energy. We don’t want you to lose your empathy for each other. Look around. These people are here to support you. Don’t have a Plan B. Keep going to reach your Plan A. You are important and necessary.” Brent then asked everyone to take everyone else into their arms, and that big, venue sized group hug will be one of my favorite memories for a long time.
Brent’s words, being surrounded by amazing music and great friends that included me in with them, makes me feel not alone in this word. That I do matter to people and they do care, and I was almost brought to tears then. I loved that you could easily tell Brent meant every word. Even to go as far as say hi and shake everyone of us photographers hands after their second song “Diamond Eyes,” just sets the band apart from all others and creates a deeper, longer lasting connection.
While “Second Chance” at the first show here in Minneapolis was my favorite part of the set, I was the tiniest bit disappointed in it this time around. Only because during the first show’s performance, it was so magical watching the band play and Brent show off has singing prowess that can’t be match, all the while surrounded by the lights turned on on fans’ cell phones throughout Target Center. I was hoping and expecting for that this time around, but it didn’t happen. My eyes lit up though not to long after when the crowd was asked to do the same, it just happened to be during “Get Up” this time. So the band is easily forgiven, and I also have another great memory to go along with both songs now.
One thing I set out to do differently this time (aside from setting me camera correctly to hopefully shoot the pyro that’d be going off. I didn’t succeed.), was to stay for the whole thing. Last March I ended up leaving halfway through “Brilliant,” their closer, and over the months since, that album has become a favorite of mine, along with that song.
I was deadset on staying for the whole thing and did. I love a hugely positive song like “Brilliant” is, and it was hard not to be reflective in the moment. Reflective of how times have been quite tough for me at times, but also reflective of how far I’ve come, of meeting the love of my life. It was quite cathartic to be in the middle of the crowd singing along with everyone such uplifting lyrics, and I almost was brought to tears again.
No other band can touch Shinedown currently because of them being able to invoke such emotions, and if things ever get rough again, I have one thing to keep thinking to myself:
It’s my day to be brilliant.