LIVE: Shinedown / Jelly Roll / John Harvie @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 09/14/2022

Wednesday night, Shinedown brought their Planet Zero 2022 tour blasting into the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Jacksonville natives have spent much of 2022 on the road in support of the album, and show no signs of exhaustion or the maladies of being in a touring rock band. They brought a slick rock production complete with enough pyro to take us to space, a flying, light up piano, huge projection screens, and songs that truly make them one of their generation’s best.

John Harvie (photo by Amy Klemme)

Michael Buffer’s familiar call to rumble punched the ticket ,as John Harvie kicked off the night. Harvie’s music hit more like Riddick Bowe than Mike Tyson. Harvie, obviously inspired by Good Charlotte and Lit, ran us through some old familiar neighborhoods, complete with sing-alongs and enough bobbing and weaving it made you dizzy. His song “Bleach (On the Rocks)” got the best response of the set. 

Following Harvie, Jelly Roll took the stage with a mullet, denim jacket, and southern fervor and swagger the size of the Smoky Mountains. Judging by the crowd, they were feeling lucky just to be at the counter awaiting Jelly’s blend of country, hip hop, and rock. Mostly playing songs from his latest album, Ballads of the Broken, the SPAC crowd was here to soak and smoke it up. Jelly Roll demonstrated that he grew up in a shredder of musical tastes (and his country-ish band too). Their medley of “Sweet Home Alabama”/ “Smells Like Teen Spirit”/”99 Problems”/ “Killing in the Name of”/”Beer Never Broke My Heart” was a perfect example. Shinedown guitarist Zach Myers even lent his voice to rap for the medley during the Jay-Z drop. 

Jelly Roll, Zach Myers (photo by Amy Klemme)

“Son of a Sinner” had the crowd singing every word. Jelly Roll’s musical themes cover all the struggles that chemicals, mental illness, and the streets possess. His current number one hit, “Dead Man Walking”, kept everyone on their feet. Where they would stay for the rest of the evening. “Save Me”, the set closer, brought out all the cell phone lights and sent Jelly Roll back to the bus, loving Saratoga. 

Then it was time for the headliners to appear.

The screens opened, and Shinedown took the stage in a meditative show of gratitude and unity.  Lead singer Brent Smith pointed up to the sky, touched his heart, and launched a missile that orbited for nearly two hours. Smith, along with guitarist Zach Myers, bassist Eric Bass, and drummer Barry Kerch were tight, in sync, and on message. That message: how you live and love is the legacy you leave. 

Smith was in near perfect voice, strong and fluid like his stature. Smith spends a lot of time in the gym as part of his wellness plan, and the work shows.  No signs of real fatigue at all, vocal or otherwise. Smith commanded everyone to pay attention, and pay attention they did. Especially when he asked for participation. 

Shinedown (photo by Amy Klemme)

From the pounding rage of the opener, “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo” and throughout, the message was anti-groupthink and pro-seeing the world with a broader view. Smith’s life as a recovered addict paints his lyrics with the optimism of someone who has come back from the clutches of the dragon to fulfill his hero’s journey. 

The rockers like “Bully”, “Enemies”, and “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)” would bring thunderous explosions and heat. The crowd was into it, and you could tell many had this show on their wait-list for a  long time. Though in house smelled like a new dispensary, I saw families sharing the bond of live music. Justine and Brian, a couple in front of me I spoke with, had brought their nine-year-old son, Cameron, for his first concert experience. One he will never forget. 

The most powerful parts of the evening were when Smith and company slowed down and became introspective. “Get Up”, “Crow and the Butterfly”, and “Daylight” were accompanied by a house full of cellphone lights that reminded us that the universe is inside, literally and metaphorically. Smith spoke eloquently about the pain and trauma we have all endured these last couple of years.

Brent Smith of Shinedown (photo by Amy Klemme)


September being Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, Smith expressed that we are never alone, and that someone will listen if we ask for help. Smith relayed how important as humans we are, and that being here is a gift. They also put money in the pot. Shinedown Shares, the band’s way of giving back, supports organizations directly. Two close to my heart are the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). 

Complete with the actual recording of Casey Kasem’s original banter, Shinedown launched into “Second” Chance as the one-of-a-kind DJ announced the song was number one on the Top 40 countdown. A surreal experience I’m sure. 

The show rounded out with a Brent Smith-less band which allowed guitarist Myers and multi talented Bass to trade verses on the Oasis tune, “Don’t Look Back In Anger”. When Myers prompted the audience to sing the chorus, there was little singing. Much to my dismay, it’s like the world has forgotten about the Gallagher Brothers. 

Shinedown (photo by Amy Klemme)

Following the less-than-stellar singalong, Smith asked Jelly Roll to return for a performance of Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”, which was the precursor to “Sound of Madness”, which closed out the monster set. 

Shinedown will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its debut album, Leave a Whisper, in 2023. The Planet Zero tour wraps up in December.

Photo Gallery by Amy Klemme

1 Comment
  1. Rudy says

    Nice work Will and Amy!!!

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