Almost 20 years as a band and it’s safe to say that Shinedown hasn’t lost a step. In fact, judging from the sold out Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix, their career limit doesn’t exist. The band brought their Attention Attention World Tour to town, joined by Badflower, Dinosaur Pile-Up and Broken Hands for a night of variety and rocking out.
To the dismay of the audience, technical difficulties plagued the two openers, making it hard to hear the vocalists during their sets. Broken Hands and Dinosaur Pile-Up still gave their all and encouraged the crowd to get excited despite the problems with the sound. Shinedown even gifted Dinosaur Pile-Up their own massive stage banner in the middle of their set, drawing smiles and cheers from the fans.
Badflower was undeniably one of the major highlights of the evening. The quartet lit up the Comerica stage with their unique brand of angry rock and the fans in the front were living for it. Singer Josh Katz was magnetic, drawing the crowd in with his maniacal smile and wild stage antics. The rest of the band was no different, playing their hearts out to a receptive audience.
They opened with “x ANA x”, a twisted love/hate song about the drug, and kept that deranged energy for the rest of their set. Midway through, the young boy featured in the band’s latest music video brought Katz his guitar, and the group dedicated “Promise Me” to him. “Die”, their middle finger to Donald Trump and a corrupt administration had fists in the air, before Badflower closed the set with “Heroin” and “Ghost”. It’s always a treat to watch the guys go crazy onstage and they definitely got the crowd amped for the night’s main event.
Shinedown is even bigger and more theatrical than before, drenching the stage and the crowd in lights to start their set with a bang (literally). The first several songs featured “concussion pyro”, a dazzling combo of fireworks and massive pyres of flame that washed heatwaves across the venue. Decked out in their own variations of a classic suit, each member of Shinedown was ready to interact with the crowd and put on a special show for Arizona.
The band even built out a small secondary stage leading into the pit to put them ever closer to the eager audience. The setlist was pure crowdpleasing magic, with hits from every era of the band’s lengthy career. Singer Brent Smith, guitarist Zach Myers and bassist Eric Bass spent the latter portion of the set at the secondary stage, while drummer Barry Kerch held the rhythm from his platform at the back. Shinedown closed out their long set with a special performance of “The Crow and the Butterfly” and the ever-iconic “Second Chance”.
The evening took an emotional turn as the band projected images of Chester Bennington on their video screens, marking the anniversary of the Linkin Park singer’s untimely death. This show also fell on the late Chris Cornell’s birthday, so the band returned to start their encore with a cover of “Black Hole Sun” that had much of the room in tears. The tributes were poignant and genuine, celebrating the lives of two talented men taken far too soon.
Shinedown made sure to bring the mood back up, ending the night with “Sound of Madness” and “Brilliant” before the spent crowd spilled back out onto the Phoenix streets, already eager for the band’s next foray into Arizona.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel