When two of the biggest names in modern hard rock first announced they were joining forces for a co-headline tour, many music fans of all ages were looking at a dream come true. Shinedown and Three Days Grace brought their highly anticipated arena tour to the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts on Wednesday night. As expected both bands put on high octane sets that had the crowd moving furiously from start to finish.
The show was opened by Nu-Metal titans P.O.D., short for Payable On Death. Their set contained some pretty familiar songs for anybody who listened to hard rock radio in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s. Songs like “Alive”, “Boom” and “Youth of the Nation” brought the nostalgia for the many in attendance. P.O.D’s set was blistering and explosive proving that the band had no rust and were just as loud, mean, and alive as ever.
Next up were Canadian rockers Three Days Grace who have had a tumultuous last two months following the departure of their frontman and founding member Adam Gontier. Stepping in to handle vocal duties on this current tour was My Darkest Days vocalist Matt Walst, the brother of bassist Brad Walst. Opening with “Chalk Outline”, the lead single off of the band’s latest release “Transit Of Venus”, Matt Walst was challenged early, as for most fans the song was synonymous with Adam Gontier's trademark smoky vocals on the studio recording. Walst answered the call immediately, however, and pounded right through the song, making it his own. He continued to tear through a setlist packed with Three Days Grace classics such as “Just Like You”, “Pain”, “I Hate Everything About You”, and “Animal I Have Become”. Walst showed off an exceptional stage presence, interacting with the crowd again and again throughout the set and really incorporating them into the show. As the main set drew to it’s end Three Days Grace got the crowd in a huge frenzy by breaking out a cover of “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit, featuring a member of the bands crew, Shawn Hamm, on vocals, and closing the set with a perfect anthem for anarchy, “Riot”.
Not long after came Shinedown’s explosive set. Shinedown vocalist Brent Smith, guitarist Zach Myers and bassist Eric Bass began the performance of from a B-Stage set up at the soundboard, while drummer Barry Kerch held things down at the main stage on drums surrounded by booming concussion pyrotechnics. “Enemies” was the first song of the set and about halfway through the song the band made their way to the main stage where they took their more familiar places. Much of the set was built from Shinedown’s last two albums “Sound of Madness” and the 2012 release “Amaryllis” highlights included the hit singles “Unity” and “If You Only Knew” as well as the song the band wrote for the soundtrack to 2010 hit movie The Expendables, “Diamond Eyes”. Shinedown didn’t completely forget about their first two albums though. Playing “Save Me” halfway through the main set and closing the set with one of the first songs they ever released “45”. Shinedown’s stage production was top notch, featuring several pyrotechnic displays and a spectacular laser display. Frontman Brent Smith took time out of the set to spread some positive messages, the most prominent of which was a brief, but inspiring speech about
how we’re all brought together by rock n’ roll and the kinship fans of the entire rock genre share. For the encore Shinedown went through their last few hit singles such as “Sound of Madness”, “Second Chance” and closing with “Bully”. But not before their stirring rendition of the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic “Simple Man” a song that has become a staple at their live shows since they recorded it.
When all was said and done and the smoke from the pyrotechnics had settled, the fans in Lowell had been treated to quite the rock show from these three bands. P.O.D. proved that their best days weren’t behind them and that they could still get a crowd going just the way they did in the early 2000’s. Three Days Grace made a strong statement that even without Adam Gontier they are still a strong and powerful rock band that packs a punch. While Shinedown showed why they are considered amongst one of the best modern hard rock bands in the industry today and that their stock is only rising. If this tour is coming your way, it’s one you surely don’t want to miss.