It's no secret that Arizona's 98 KUPD spoil Phoenicians with the killer shows they bring to the area, but they certainly outdid themselves with Mesa Meltdown. The sold out day 1 lineup was top notch from start to finish, featuring Shinedown, Breaking Benjamin, and Nothing More.
Mesa Ampitheater was packed full by the time opening act Nothing More took the stage. As one of the biggest breakout acts in rock, they seem to effortlessly captivate the crowd from the first note. An intense drum intro from singer Jonny Hawkins provided the opening to "Christ Copyright". Edgy lyrics to "Mr. MTV" had everyone singing along, and "Jenny" was overwhelmingly raw with emotion. The band kept the entertainment coming with an extreme bass solo from Hawkins, guitarist Mark Vollelunga, and bassist Daniel Oliver, later followed by an even crazier drum solo from all of the members. As the drums flew around the stage perfectly synchornized, the band blew the crowd away. Older track "Salem" closed out the band's set, a perfectly heavy ending to what was an unforgettable live show.
Co-Headliner Breaking Benjamin returned to Phoenix for the first time since the band's hiatus, welcomed back eagerly by fans. The debut single off of their recent release Dark Before Dawn, "Failure", opened the set, followed by a mix of older tracks. Despite the fact that frontman Ben Burnley had his guitar to worry about while running around the stage, he effortlessly amped up the audience. Guitarist Keith Wallen got an opportunity to show off his vocal talents, taking the lead for "Sooner or Later", followed by an equally impressive lead vocal performance from Aaron Ruch. The band are clearly perfectly in-sync with one another, seeming to love every moment as they jammed through a medley of "Imperial March" (Light saber included), Tool's "Schism", Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spirit", and Panter'a "Walk". Things slowed down briefly for a beautiful, relaxing few minutes on "Give Me A Sign", picking right back up again right up to the final notes. On final track "Diary of Jane", Burnley welcomed at least 50 fans up to the stage. Kids with their parents, fans with Breaking Benjamin tattoos, and more rocked out with the band through the track.
After two incredible performances it was time for Shinedown to finish off the night. From the moment their banner dropped, Mesa was buzzing with excitement. Fresh on the road in support of new album Threath To Survival, they opened up with debut single "Cut the Cord". After a long break in between albums, the band are on top form. A huge shock came on "Fly From the Inside", literally starting out with a bang as fireworks exploded, followed by some amazing pyro. Switching back and forth between light and heavy, fans got a chance to singalong to hits like "If You Only Knew" and "Second Chance" and crowd surf their way to shake hands with frontman Brent Smith on "Diamond Eyes (Boom Lay Boom Lay Boom" and "Enemies". After a flawless rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man", Shinedown wrapped the night up with "Sound of Madness".