One of the most successful rock bands in recent years, Shinedown, closed out 2023 with a one-off show at the Premier Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. Quite a small venue in comparison to the band’s typical arena tours they’ve been on for some time now, Shinedown were able to give an up-close and personal show to the fans who were lucky enough to snag tickets before the show sold out.
Premier Theater, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT – 29 December 2023
Words and Photography: Shannon Wilk
With a much lower stage than normal and no barricade, the audience tonight was in for a truly unique evening with these four talented musicians.
Just after 8 PM, two tall screens are illuminated at the back of the stage. For a few minutes, they show behind-the-scenes clips of Shinedown acting goofy before showtime. As the clips end, one of the Planet Zero icons appears on the screens, and two instrumental tracks from the album of the same name begin: Welcome and 2184.
The band’s four members file in, one by one, from stage left to start the show. Shinedown are united at the middle of the stage, and the sold-out crowd bursts into cheers. Zach Myers and Eric Bass are handed their respective instruments, Barry Kerch takes his place behind the drum kit, and Brent Smith takes his mic off the stand. We are ready to roll.
Myers walks up to his mic screaming, “boom-lay boom-lay boom!” repeatedly, beginning the first song, Diamond Eyes. As the full band kicks into the song, fireworks explode from the back of the stage, prompting excited yells from the crowd.
If there’s one thing that no one can take away from Shinedown, it’s the undeniable high energy they bring to their live shows. Throughout the entirety of their two-hour set, all four members are in constant motion, back and forth from one side of the stage to the other, with high jumps, nonstop headbanging, and more.
Smith takes centre stage up on the drum riser, getting the audience going with an eerie, “We can’t hear you….” Red lights fill the stage as the band begins the third single from Planet Zero, Dead Don’t Die.
Eric Bass takes a seat behind a small piano, beginning the first slow song of the evening, I’ll Follow You. The audience waves their hands as they sing the song along with the band. Shinedown picks it back up to level ten as Smith interacts with the crowd, and the band jams for a few minutes.
The stage goes dark, and piano chords play. Myers plays synth sounds as Smith sings State Of My Head. Red fireworks erupt as the band plays the final chorus of the song. “You’ve got it,” Smith says, as the crowd is singing along.
Old speeches play as images flash on the screen. The band begins Devil, from their Attention Attention album. As Kerch pounds on the drums, fireworks shoot up, synced with his hits. Bassist Eric Bass jumps around during the heavy parts and crouches behind his mic as the song comes to a slow section.
This part of the set is where Shinedown goes back to their 2012 album for Unity and Enemies, as well as way back to their first album for their breakout hit 45.
Many of Shinedown’s songs explore the idea of the human condition and the evolution of our society. This is shown equally in hard-hitting songs like Sound Of Madness and Planet Zero, as well as slow songs like A Symptom Of Being Human.
Shinedown’s biggest hit, Second Chance, prompts emotional, loud singing from the sold-out audience, “sometimes goodbye is a second chance.”
Smith begins speaking about the band’s most important crew member as a cake with candles is rolled out to the centre stage. He tells the audience to sing Happy Birthday to their tour manager, Erin.
Zach Myers takes on vocal duties along with Eric Bass to perform a cover of Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle. Midway through the song, the band’s techs Ricky Sanders, Drew Foppe and HooGie Donais run out onstage, doing a synchronized jump off the drum riser as they join in playing The Middle.
Bass returns to his spot behind the piano, the band playing sections of Daylight and Get Up. Smith welcomes Jason Guyot, President of Foxwoods Casino, to the stage. Shinedown and Foxwoods higher-ups show a big check, sharing that they raised $92,000 for City Of Hope. To their surprise, each band member was presented with a plaque commemorating their 23 number 1 hit songs.
Getting back into the music, Myers and Smith perform their very successful cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man as the crowd is illuminated with phone flashlights. The stage is lit up by turquoise lights as another speech is played. Myers kicks off the riff of Monsters, which gets the crowd screaming in excitement.
Shinedown closes their 2-hour set with Cut The Cord, keeping the energy at 150% throughout.