Written By Nathan Holt
Photo By Nathan Holt

Making a stop at the House of Blues in Chicago, Shinedown played to a sold out show on May 16th with the help of Art of Dying, who recently played with them on the Avalanche Tour as well. The venue was packed from floor to ceiling with eager fans.

Art of Dying played a short six song set that consisted of “Straight Across My Mind,” “Whole World’s Crazy,” “Raining,” “Get Through This,” “Sorry” and finished with the song “Die Trying.” The band seemed pressed against the end of the stage with the lack of room, but it didn’t stop them from mingling back and forth to play on different parts of the stage. Sounding as good as ever, they got the crowd warmed up for Shinedown with a few crowd participation sing-alongs that went off without a hitch.

As “99 Problems” by Jay Z began blaring over the speakers, the crowd seemed to gather in towards the stage as the lights went out. Shinedown kicked off their set full force with “The Sound of Madness,” with “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom),” “Enemies,” “If You Only Knew,” “Save Me” and “Devour.” The music was split mostly between Shinedown’s newest album Amaryllis and their last album The Sound of Madness, with a brief touch off their other albums: 45, Leave a Whisper, Us and Them and Somewhere in the Stratosphere.

Lead singer Brent Smith took the moment after “Devour” to address the crowd: “This next song is brand new, it’s called ‘Nowhere Kids.’ When I say go, not one person should be standing still. This whole place should be jumping up and down!” That’s essentially how the crowd stayed the entire night: jumping up and down, having a great time. With drummer Barry Kerch pounding away while guitarist Zach Myers and bassist Eric Bass laying down strong supporting beats and riffs, the music seemed to flow.

To show the band’s appreciation for the crowd, Brent told them: ” Everybody take notice of something: the only reason we’re standing on this stage tonight is because of every single one of you. This is your show! Everyone outside these walls right now, they don’t exist. The only people in Chicago that we care about are already in the room!”

After continuing with “The Crow & The Butterfly,” “Unity,” “Amaryllis” and “Adrenaline,” Brent asked the crowd to put lighters and cell phones in the air for their final song “.45” : “As a band, we’ve always thought this venue was one of the most beautiful venues in the United States, but when it looks most majestic is when all the stars are out. Show us what all the stars look like in Chicago.

With a few minutes of darkness, the band came back to perform an encore of “Bully” and a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” with an improvised line of ” All I want from Chi town is to be satisfied” during the song. Brent also had a few other words for the audience: “(The music) it’s never going to stray too far away from drums, bass, guitar, badass vocals and a killer song. What I’m talking about is the beauty of rock n roll, that’s not a genre of music, it’s a way of life. How many times has rock n roll been there for you? Promise us that you will carry the torch for Rock n’ Roll and you will never let it die.”

The band flew right into the song “Second Chance” followed lastly by “Fly From the Inside” with a couple of giant stage jumps. The band left the stage that night telling the crowd: “We don’t say goodbye’s, we just say until next time.” Until next time, everyone is going to eagerly await the next show.

If you want full photo galleries from each band, follow these links; Shinedown | Art Of Dying

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