by Lisa Schreiner
Labor Day weekend on Long Island is generally reserved for end-of-summer Hamptons parties and last-minute trips out to the twin forks before the pumpkin patches and apple-picking fields set up. This year, however, some opted to ditch the east end for a slightly less refined and — in this editor’s opinion — a more appropriate send off to summer. Shinedown and Godsmack played the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on September 2nd, 2018, giving Long Islanders the best of both worlds: taking in that famous Long Island salty, summer air while experiencing a solid, good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n roll show. Nothing pairs quite as well as an outdoor beach venue and good, live music.
Shinedown kicked it off with the heavily-rotated “Sound of Madness” that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Pyros and laser lights illuminated the hazy night sky, while singer Brent Smith’s powerhouse vocals completed a perfect rock marriage with the band (Zach Myers – lead guitar/backing vocals, Eric Bass – bass/backing vocals and Barry Kerch – drums) that was nothing less than stellar. Shinedown has been around for a number of years; however, the Jacksonville, FL-based band became more prevalent on the rock scene after their powerful acoustic cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” hit the airwaves. There aren’t many times where vocals in a cover song either match or surpass the original singer’s; Smith is one of the exceptions (no disrespect to the late, great Ronnie Van Zant, but he would likely agree). Of course, the popular rendition was performed — prompting a resounding crowd sing-a-long — along with “Second Chance”, “Get Up” and closing out with “Devil.” Shinedown had first opened for the Godsmack and Rob Zombie tour in 2006 and it’s a pleasure to see such a solid hard rock band gain the momentum and appreciation they have over the years. Rock ‘n roll has become somewhat of a nostalgic genre, with reunion tours more prevalent than ever. Shinedown is a band that can bring rock out of it’s rut.
Twenty years after their self-titled debut album was released, Godsmack shows that they have no plans to slow down. Opening with “When Legends Rise,” off of their latest album of the same name, the Boston band had the crowd on their feet immediately. Although pyros were present here and there throughout the show, it appears that Godsmack has toned down the “rock show” aspect in favor of letting the music be the star. Frontman Sully Erna and drummer Shannon Larkin performed their now setlist-staple drum duel, which had been first seen in their touring DVD Changes. While the duel has somewhat changed with covering different artists that have been influential to the band (they now perform interludes of Beastie Boys, Metallica and Queen, in place of Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC), the choreographed battle remains the highlight of the show.
During the performance of their first single “Whatever”, Sully decided it would be a good idea to rile up the New York crowd by praising the New England Patriots and shunning the New York Giants. As expected, a wave of booing rolled through the amphitheater, and some seemingly very angry New Yorkers displayed their disdain towards the singer. In the end, however, the crowd’s anger resulted in exactly what Erna wanted: a loud back-and-forth sing-a-long. Shinedown’s Zach Myers joined Godsmack on stage for a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” before the band closed with their iconic “I Stand Alone”.
Throughout the past twenty years, Godsmack has remained virtually unchanged, and that’s not a bad thing. While some bands will change their style to appease newer generations and trends, Godsmack has always stayed true to their hard rock persona.
Attention Attention Intro
Sound of Madness
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Cut the Cord
I’ll Follow You
State of My Head
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
When Legends Rise
Cryin’ Like a Bitch
Say My Name
Batalla de los tambores (drum duel)
Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover with Zach Myers)
I Stand Alone