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Shinedown // Live @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater // 9.18.22

Article and photos by: Wendy Podmenik Woodell

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA– Summer is winding down and outdoor concert season is nearly at its’ end. This year featured an explosion of tours, as bands have been keen to finally promote new material and hit the road, post- covid shutdowns. Virginia Beach hosted an electric line up on Sunday night, starting with the 22 years-young newcomer John Harvie. This Nashville native dropped out of a music business track at University, which ended up being a fortuitous decision. He burst onto the music scene with a wildly popular song cover he posted on TikTok, which transformed into attention and encouragement by the music industry, a debut single “Bleach” and this year, his debut album Told Ya. Don’t let his Nashville “country” roots fool you; Harvie is very much influenced by pop rock and his stage presence is earnest and animated. He played a eight song set list, and for someone that has only been on the scene for a mere three years, the opportunity to open for Shinedown is a huge break.

Speaking of opening for Shinedown, the next artist on the night’s schedule has also been surrounded by a buzz: Jelly Roll. This is Kid Rock, but with an authenticity, 2022 style. His connection with the audience was palpable, his set peppered with soulful original work and a mash up of popular covers. He introduced himself as growing up under the influence of a wide variety of musical genres, which definitely was reflected in his style. Picture this self-described “King of White Trash” pulling material from Nirvana to Rage Against the Machine to old Motown hits, with his own work a unique blend of hip-hop and outlaw Country. This artist is still in the formative stage in defining his style, and his love for his fans is evident as he managed to make the 15,000 capacity venue’s crowd feel as though they were his personal friends. This sort of personal, vulnerable touch is noticeably unique in a concert arena. His playful, good ol’ boy demeanor coupled with a show featuring pyro effects that consistently exploded every few minutes had the crowd cheering and singing along. His set also featured Zach Myers of Shinedown dropping in for a quick assist on a cover of “99 Problems”. Very much, a party atmosphere on the stage.

Headliners for the night: over the years, Shinedown have cemented themselves into a highly respected, consistently fantastic rock band. Their set opened with a lengthy video montage, “584 days later”- referencing the extent of the Covid pause, their time between tours and culminating with a triumphant return to the stage this year. Shinedown’s seventh studio album is a concept album, but more than that, it’s really about shining an awareness. At the end of the video, Cyren the robot states, “Welcome to Planet Zero”- and the show begins.

Leading with “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo” (musically, with a hint of discernible RATM influence), the lyrics touch on the concept:

Tell me the truth or tell me a lie
Tell me what I gotta say to get outta this room alive
Show me the answers or give me a clue

The overwhelming theme of the album centers around the concept of the possibility of a dystopian future, the dangers of group-think and the power of social media has with feeding the population informational inaccuracies and charged divisive opinions. Creatively fueled by the last few years of shut-downs and political strife, on the new album Shinedown managed to lyrically convey a message of warning without touching upon any particular political side.

Again, the show was peppered with ample pyro effects and dramatic stage sets. Lead singer Brent Smith has a friendly yet aggressive intensity to his delivery. From the crowd jumping along during “Enemies”, to a lighted piano being lowered from the rafters onto the stage for Eric Bass playing “Daylight”, Smith entreated the audience “Let’s go find the daylight, together.”. Lighters and cell phone flashlights were ablaze during the stirring song.

“Second Chance” had Zach Myers jumping on acoustic guitar and Smith remarking, “Virginia Beach, you are absolutely stunning tonight!”. Jelly Roll returned to the stage to accompany the band for a cover of “Simple Man” near the finale of the show. This is a solid tour, not only introducing attendees to vibrant new talents but also at the conclusion encouraging an introspection, fueled by longtime powerhouse rockers Shinedown and the journey within Planet Zero.

Find upcoming tour dates at this link:

Wendy Podmenik Woodell
Since entering the world of photography in 2013, WENDY PODMENIK has focused her interest on live music. Her ultimate goal is to successfully present the live music genre as an art form which preserves the expression, emotion, and energy of specific moments in time. ////// GLENN WOODELL spends his musical time working both on and around the stage. He's spent decades behind the lens as a visual artist, and for his career, studied human vision as a scientific researcher. His time on the stage these days is either spent holding on to a bass guitar or a camera.