Clarkston, Michigan (July 22, 2018) – Opening night of any tour stop at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Clarkston, MI, is a special event. When you combine arguably two of the higher profile bands in rock as co-headliners, Shinedown and Godsmack, then add in Like a Storm from New Zealand, expectations are sure to be off the chart! Make no mistake about it, either could headline any tour and it would sell-out, but in this year of coheadliners, this is the most prolific pairing to date!
As the daylight began to fade, Like a Storm took the stage and set the tone for the night from the start. Lead singer Chris Brooks, opened the set playing a didgeridoo center stage and was joined by guitarist Matt Brooks, bassist Kent Brooks soon after. An odd musical combination by any means, but yet it actually works and sounds fantastic! The quickly growing crowd enjoyed the short, but energetic set highlighted by stalwarts “Become the Enemy”, ”Wish You Hell” and closing with “Love the Way You Hate Me”. Rumor has it that a private show is being planned in the Detroit area for the very near future and a fan would do well to attend before these guys become huge!
After a very short set change, the curtain dropped to monstrous fireballs and resonating explosions with Shinedown frontman Brent Smith right in the middle of it all. With Barry Kerch (drums) providing the thunderous beats along with Zach Myers (guitar) and Eric Bass’ (bass) smoking guitar licks, the band from Florida wasted no time setting the tone for their set by opening with fan favorite “Sound of Madness”. If the song choice wasn’t enough to engage the crowd, the raging towers of fire that surrounded the stage of the over-the-top laser light show certainly did!
At the conclusion of “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)” Smith took a moment to encourage the fans to “shake the hands of your neighbor”. He continued, “ If we’re going to neighbors for a bit, might as well get acquainted”! With that, Smith reached out and began shaking hands with every photographer in the photo pit. It was a refreshing moment where human interaction took the place of technology and thus has became a staple in a Shinedown show!
Currently touring in support or their recent release, “Attention Attention”, Shinedown worked in 3 songs off the new release during their 12-song set. Closing song and current radio hit “Devil”, along with “Black Soul” and “Get Up” were the perfect choices to go along with past hits “I’ll Follow You”, “Bully” and ”Second Chance”. Fan favorite and Lynyrd Skynyrd cover “Simple Man” was performed with Smith and Myers perched on a platform amongst fans on top of DTE’s iconic grass hill. The pair was illuminated in a sea of light by thousands of cell phones held high above the fans heads during the sobering rendition. It was a fitting set up for the final song of Shinedown’s set, “Devil”. Known for intense live performance, Shinedown did not disappoint. With their growing catalog and their reputation that precedes them, they are quickly becoming a “do-not-miss” show!
Not to be outdone, Godsmack attacked the senses with explosions and fire of their own. On tour in support of their latest release, When Legends Rise, the Boston natives wasted little time cranking it up. Opening their set with the title track off their latest release, frontman Sully Erna along with the highly underrated guitarist Tony Rombola led the charge. Erna’s trademark intensity and indelible vocal range were featured on the opening track along with “Unforgettable”, “Someday” and radio favorite “Bulletproof” off the same LP. Throw in Robbie Merrill on the bass, a guy that seems to be always having a good time and Shannon Larkin on drums; this formidable lineup takes on legendary stature.
Wasting very little time with idle chatter between songs, Godsmack moved through their intense set with ease and precision. The 13-song, one hour and 20-minute set included catalog hits from the past such as “1000HP”,”Cryin’ Like a B*tch”, “Voodoo” and “Whatever”. A unique aspect to a Godsmack show is the “de facto” drum duel between Sully and Shannon during “Batalla de los Tambores”. Two drum sets are moved center stage and pair take turns going back and forth, often times in tandem, with killer timing and precision. With beaming smiles to go along with the crowd-pleasing intensity, the pair toss drumsticks back and forth with nary a miss! An obvious highlight for sure, most still wonder if they are doing it to please themselves or the crowd! Whichever it might be, it rates high on the crowd noise satisfaction meter!
Closing out the incredibly entertaining evening with “I Stand Alone”, Godsmack left no doubt that those who proclaim rock is dead are sadly mistaken. Two unmistakable rock icons, who have left their mark on the music world joining forces to tour North America, what more could you ask for!