When two of the best rock bands produce their most prolific albums to date AND go on tour together, you do what it takes to get tickets for their show. That’s what I – and about 25,000 other people - did in order to experience SHINEDOWN and GODSMACK at the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center (SPAC) on August 21, 2018. Cool upstate New York breezes flowed through the park that evening as I walked around exploring the venue since it was my first time there. The Amphitheater is surrounded by historic buildings including the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort and the Roosevelt Baths and Spa. An adjacent golf course and several hiking/running trails made this quite the unique venue and concert experience.
What was also unique was the calm and relaxed nature of the fans. The atmosphere felt as if we were friends gathering for a summer picnic. Concertgoers Nancy and Tony DiLorenzo (from Scotia, New York) were two of the many friends I made that night. Nancy said she had been “jumping out of her skin” to see this concert, as both she and Tony are die-hard Godsmack and Shinedown fans. She said, “From the first time I heard Godsmack, I was hooked for life.” Tony echoed her sentiments and added that he’s been coming to concerts at SPAC for many years, even attending a WHO concert back in the day. Both were truly excited to see the bands and hear their new music performed live.
Red Sun Rising
Ready to take on the world
One of the trials and tribulations of being a warm-up band is that, often, the crowd is a bit sparse. What many don’t realize is that this is the time you may really see a gem of a band that has a fresh, new sound. A band that’s going places. Red Sun Rising is one of those bands and concertgoers who arrived late missed an outstanding set. They opened the night right on time with the song “Clarity” from their new album Thread (released this past March). The first thing that strikes you is Mike Protich’s rich vocals. The tonal quality of his voice is special because it maintains its clarity and strength whether he’s singing powerfully or softly. Interacting and engaging the crowd is something that seems to come naturally to him and he worked hard to involve the fans throughout their set.
The band is filled with a lot of talent backing him up too. Ryan Williams (Guitar), Ricky Miller (Bass, Vocals), Dave McGarry (Guitar, Vocals) and Pat Gerasia (Drums) played together with passion, and also with an ease that proves this group belongs together. They effortlessly cranked out really heavy rock creations, as well as more melodic “top chart” rock songs. I heard several fans commenting that these guys seem to “really love what they do because they have so much fun on stage.”
Red Sun Rising often uses the hashtag “WeAreThread in an effort to describe their musical style. They believe there isn’t one genre that accurately describes the true spirit of their music. One characteristic that really sets them apart is the inclusion of complex harmonies within their songs. I love when a band has several talented vocalists and utilizes them to add richness and texture to the music. Listen to the songs in their setlist below and you’ll discover how unique and eclectic their sound is.
As they neared the end of their set, Mike thanked Godsmack and Shinedown for including them in this leg of the tour. It was evident that they were all grateful for the opportunity, and that they are ready to set the world on fire in their own way. Follow the band on Instagram @redsunrising for cool pics of their adventures on the road.
Clarity / The Otherside /Amnesia/ Veins/ Emotionless/ Deathwish
Lasers and fireworks and flames … oh my!
It is difficult for me to write about the gentlemen in Shinedown without gushing, so let’s get that disclaimer out in the open right now. As a fan since their first album, I’ve watched the Shinedown entity grow and mature over the years as they’ve toured incessantly, produced a ton of outstanding material, and evolved into the quartet of talented musicians they are today: Brent Smith (vocals), Eric Bass (bass, vocals), Zach Meyers (guitar, vocals), and Barry Kerch (percussion).
With six successful studio albums to their credit (Leave a Whisper, Us and Them, The Sound of Madness, Amaryllis, Threat to Survival, and ATTENTION ATTENTION), the Shinedown catalog has Gold, Platinum and Triple Platinum-certified albums. Twenty-three of their songs are top 10 hits and twelve of them have hit number 1. This is a true testament to the hard work ethic and perseverance of each band member.
To start their set, Shinedown pounded out “Sound of Madness,” “Diamond Eyes,” and “Cut the Cord,” leaving fans breathless early on from jumping, singing and screaming at the tops of their lungs. The energy expended by the band did not decrease throughout the entire show as Eric and Zach constantly ran across the stage interacting and singing with fans. Brent covered the stage too, taking time to shake hands with many lucky front row fans as well as running around the entire amphitheater so that he “could see everyone that is here.” It’s sometimes hard to see a band’s drummer, but Shinedown built their stage around Barry so that he was often in the middle of his bandmates’ actions. He has a great stage presence as he regularly stands to accentuate his riffs, points to the crowd, and draws his drumsticks horizontally across his neck.
Emotional renditions of “If You Only Knew” and “Bully” came next, followed by their brand-new single, “Get Up.” This song, in my opinion, is the jewel of ATTENTION ATTENTION and was one of the songs that night where the band really shined brightly. It was born from Eric Bass’ battle with depression and how he views and deals with it. The band shares their very personal struggles through their songs in the hopes that they will bring hope and light to those who are listen