Shinedown – Virgin Theater – Las Vegas NV – February 4th 2022

Shinedown Lifts Off in Las Vegas

Virgin Theater-Casino & Hotel 2/4/2022

Review by Brett Zisler

Photos by Sanjay Parikh

Longevity at a high scale is not an easy feat in the world of rock & roll. Yet, here is Shinedown, over 20 years under their belt and on the brink of releasing their seventh studio album, PLANET ZERO.  So, on a Friday in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, Shinedown brought the fire and gave the crowd a taste of what’s to come in 2022.

Opening act for the night was the Seattle based, ever so talented and eccentric, Ayron Jones.  What else can be said besides, if you haven’t seen this guy live yet and he comes to your city, do yourself a favor buy a ticket.  Between Aryon’s confident bold voice and the perfect tone oozing out of his fender guitar, if someone in the crowd weren’t a fan before the show, they were after.  Seeing him multiple times before in larger settings, it was intriguing to see how the crowd took to him in the Virgin Theater.  Weaving his way through his 45 minute set, each song brought more crowd participation.  Having the fans belt back “Supercharged” along with throwing in a cover of Nirvana’s “Breed,” only added to the excitement of the night.  He closed out his set with powerful hits “Mercy” and the ever so popular “Take me away.”  Ayron Jones left the stage doing exactly what a support act is meant to do.  That crowd was elevated and even more ready for Shinedown.  

Minutes drew closer and the anticipation built.  There was a family standing near me with their 12yr old son.  Dad exclaimed “This is his first show!” to me with a grin a mile wide on his face.  Everywhere I looked, everyone waited with sheer excitement.  With the lights dimming just enough and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” coming across the PA system, Las Vegas was primed and ready to go. As the lights went out, the intro to “Cut the Cord” started bellowing across the theater with Shinedown emerging from the sides.  Lead singer, Brent Smith, taking his spot at the forefront of the stage proclaiming “CUT IT.” And from there that crowd knew they weren’t just at a concert, they were at an experience.  

The evolution of Shinedown over the past 20 years before our eyes has been incredible to watch.  This band has gone through ups and downs, personal struggles and triumphs and still held on strong to the vision of what they want their music to be to them and most importantly, their fans.  As the record holders of the most #1 rock songs in Billboard history (sixteen #1 hits!!!!) Shinedown finds themselves in the precarious spot of “what songs do we play?” each night.  With the new album PLANET ZERO slated for an April 2022 release, this mini run was a “Best of” so to speak.  And somehow, they still gave the crowed everything and more.

Shinedown has mastered the art of the setlist, giving fans the perfect flow of songs.  From starting out strong with the interactive “Unity” to jumping back to their debut album with their hit “Fly From the Inside” and then moving into much loved and always loud crowd sing-along “If you only knew” Shinedown hit all the right songs at the right time.  Almost halfway through the set fans got their first live listen to the new single “Planet Zero” from the forthcoming album.  Somehow, this song hits even harder live.  To see that many people with fists in the air and singing along with a song that had been only out for a few days lets you know how anticipated this album is.

As Brent Smith worked the crowd with his powerful & confident voice and Eric Bass, Zach Myers and Barry Kerch right there along the way pounding through each song, this band, this show, felt different.  The fans felt it because they can see the band does too.  There is nothing better than when fans can see the genuine excitement a band has for what they are doing and what they have coming up.  That can’t be faked.  The night came to a close with Smith & Myers taking front of stage to perform the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd cover “Simple Man.”  There is nothing better, especially now, after all we all have been through, than to see that many people caught up in the moment and singing their hearts out.  Soon after the conclusion of that, the fans got one more chance to lose their minds on a Friday night with the closer “Sound of Madness.”  

This was the third time I got to see this set-list in the past 6 months.  And I have to say, it was by far the best.  Shinedown is locked & loaded for 2022.  With a spring tour on the books and more dates to come later this year, one thing is for certain, this is a tour & band is a must see.