Sometimes being an adult means doing something that you might not really be all that interested in doing, but you do it anyway because you owe it to your younger self to realize a dream they never had the chance to.
Seeing Shinedown and Seether perform at the Target Center for 93X’s “Family Reunion” show on Friday night, the venue’s first live music performance in over 18-months, was exactly that.
If you would have told 14-year-old Justin that Seether & Shinedown would be performing together, on the same night, in my town, and that I would have the pleasure of attending that show, I would have lost my absolute fucking mind.
The 26-year-old Justin who’s writing this review (otherwise known as the one who had an incredibly stressful week of work and still has a plethora of things to accomplish on his days off this weekend because, ya know, he’s an adult now) was far less enthusiastic about attending last night’s performance, though.
However, in honor of the insanely irritable, hormonal, sarcastic, and woefully depressed teenager who used to walk around the house shouting the words to “Fake It” and promising to get the lyrics of “If You Only Knew” tattooed on his arm someday to prove how much he loved his then-girlfriend of maybe six-weeks, I knew what had to be done.
I arrived at the venue just as Mammoth WVH was wrapping up what seemed to be an absolutely blistering performance that was very well-received by a still scarce, but quite energetic, crowd.
For anyone who’s not aware, the “WVH” in Mammoth WVH stands for Wolfgang Van Halen, also known as the son of legendary guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen.
I was actually pretty bummed that I ended up missing most of their set, but (un)fortunately, I was seated near a self-described “mega fan” who was more than happy to fill me in on what I missed.
The following is, verbatim, what Roger (who later in the night would attempt to start a “FUCK JOE BIDEN” chant in between every song during Shinedown’s set…??) had to say about Mammoth WVH’s performance:
“They fuckin’ rocked, bro! He just shreds, that’s really all it is. You know, he’s got that sound that you love. And skills! The skills, man. It was so cool to see him. Rest In Peace to Eddie, dude. That was such a bummer. I saw Van Halen in 2007! So wild! This was cool, too.”
So, that’s Mammoth WVH I guess?
Next up was Seether, and, in an effort to be as honest as possible, I felt that they delivered a performance that was hollow, uninspired, and fell totally flat.
Speaking as someone who had never actually seen them before, I wanted nothing more than to revisit my youth and enthusiastically belt out the words to songs like “Gasoline,” “Country Song,” and “Remedy” along with Shaun Morgan and company, but was instead presented with a seemingly uninterested band, half-heartedly going through the motions and counting down the minutes until they could say their goodbyes and call it a night.
The best way I can wrap up their performance is by saying that if you walked into the Target Center last night an avid Seether fan, you were probably fine with what you got, but they certainly didn’t do anything to persuade anyone to run home and give Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum a listen on Spotify.
I mean, honestly, if you can’t muster up the motivation to put some energy into a performance after we’ve all been stuck inside our homes for the last year and a half, maybe it’s time to move on to something else? Very disappointing.
The part of the night I was most excited about was, of course, Shinedown. Unlike the previous act of the night, I have actually had the chance to see Shinedown perform live a few times, so I had at least some sort of idea of what to expect going in.
If you’re not familiar with the band (which… why are you even still reading this then?), lead singer Brent Smith, has, in my opinion, one of the most impressive voices I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience live.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that the voice you hear on records from many of your favorite bands… *GASP* isn’t actually how that particular singer sounds in real life, but in Smith’s case, however, the dude might honestly sound even better when he’s standing on a stage right in front of you?
I vividly remember coming across this exact YouTube video when I was a kid and being totally blown away by the power he had behind his voice and the sheer emotion that could be felt within those words.
And as a frontman, Smith absolutely oozes charisma, fully understands exactly where his band fits in the current music landscape (AKA isn’t bitter, doesn’t shy away from revisiting the hits, and isn’t afraid to ham it up a bit), and the band commits entirely to putting on a performance that people will want to experience again.
During the bands 90+ minute set, they ferociously ripped through hits from all over their nearly two-decade-long careers, including “45” from their debut album Leave A Whisper, crowd-favorites “Second Chance” and “If You Only Knew” from 2008’s The Sound of Madness, and newer radio-hits like “MONSTERS” and “Cut The Cord” from their two most recent records.
Of course, that famous cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” is still a Shinedown show staple, and while Brent has certainly gotten a bit more reserved in his delivery and doesn’t quite flex those vocal muscles as much as he used to, it was still an absolutely delightful rendition that will live on in iPhone video galleries for years to come.
So, that was 93X’s “Family Reunion” concert featuring some guy I didn’t see named Ayron Jones, Mammoth WVH, Seether, and Shinedown. I’m sure it wasn’t quite the show Target Center would have liked to celebrate their first concert in over 18-months with, but it is what it is.