Hard rock gods ignite Verizon Arena
A high-energy arena of almost 5000 die-hard fans welcomed a performance from Shinedown, Three Days Grace and P.O.D. March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Arena. The trio’s stop in Little Rock is just one leg of their 2013 tour.
Opener P.O.D. did well to energize the tentative crowd, with crowd-pleasers like “Alive” and “Higher” leading to a sea of fist-pumping. Their performance of the mega-hit “Youth of the Nation,” a song written with respect to the 1999 Columbine massacre, was particularly powerful because of the recent circumstances surrounding the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut.
The next act was Three Days Grace. Despite the unfortunate January departure of lead singer Adam Gontier, Three Days Grace did not fail to deliver as Matt Walst, frontman for My Darkest Days and brother of bassist Brad Walst, stood in for Gontier on lead vocals. Though it was initially difficult to get past a bias for the old sound, Walst’s vocal renditions of the group’s staples, such as “I Hate Everything About You” and “The Good Life,” almost made the obvious replacement forgettable.
This, combined with Walst’s synchronization with the drummer, made Three Days Grace my personal favorite. He also managed to create a few mosh pits throughout their setlist, especially during “Pain” and their parting battle cry, “Riot.” The band also wowed the crowd with colossal pyrotechnic columns during their recent hit, “Chalk Outline”.
Shinedown couldn’t let us off that easily though. After “Enemies,” a recent single, coaxed the audience to frenzy, the three members returned to the main stage for another recent single, “I’ll Follow You”. Like Walst of Three Days Grace, vocalist Brent Smith channeled his charisma to evoke synchronized swaying and lyric chanting from the crowd. Like the other performers, the band also opted to travel throughout their decade of music, spanning “.45” (an early track) to work from the band’s 2008 album, “The Sound of Madness.”
Smith and the band also took a moment to express their gratitude to the audience, also discussing how vital their fans were to their success.
“See, what I am talking about is the beauty of rock-and-roll,” he praised. “Rock-and-roll is not a genre of music. Oh no, my friends, rock-and-roll is a way of life.”
Another thing of note is that each band added their own twist to the concert with unexpected covers. P.O.D ended their set with the chorus of “What I Got” by Sublime, and Three Days Grace brought out their touring manager/band assistant, Shawn “The Hammer” Hamm, to cover “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit. Shinedown also teased to audience with several covers as Smith and guitarist Zach Myers mounted on the small stage and performed introduction to “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.”
Whether it was the powerhouse pyrotechnics or the contagious charisma of each band’s token vocalist, the Shinedown/Three Days Grace/P.O.D concert was infused with memorable moments and sensational songs.