At 7:00 pm on Wednesday, November 4th the lights went down at Cedar Rapids’ US Cellular Center, the crowd cheered, and Sevendust took the stage. Unfortunately, their set was only around half an hour long, but with three bands on the bill, there are always some time sacrifices. At one point, Lajon Witherspoon encouraged the crowd to rock out safely: “Just walk in a circle. Don’t hurt anyone.” There was just enough time for a few crowd favorites and a couple of new tunes as well.
Next up, the boys of Breaking Benjamin. It would appear that they are huge Star Wars fans, as the theme song played as they hit the stage. There were Stormtrooper helmets on stage and a light saber moment as well. Oh, and there was the Imperial March, which led into a medley of cover songs such as Tool’s Schism, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Pantera’s Walk. Also, shout-out to the band’s light technician who was rocking those lights like he was another instrumentalist in the band. A stand out moment in the light show was during Unknown Soldier, as they were perfectly coordinated with the theme of the song. He was definitely fun to watch for those that were able to see him. At one point Benjamin told the sound guy to “Turn us the fuck up.” Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like he complied with that request. Despite the lack of volume, the guys rocked I Will Not Bow, So Cold, Diary of Jane and more, even bringing several fans on stage to join them for the final song.
Shinedown ended the evening with fireworks. Literally. And flames too. Singer Brent Smith dedicated If You Only Knew to all the ladies and even threw some roses into the crowd. As the band cycled through their massive list of hits, such as The Crow and The Butterfly, Diamond Eyes, and I’ll Follow You, an acoustic guitar on a stand rotated its way around the stage, showing up in different areas at different points in the show. Smith told the crowd that there is no such thing as a Shinedown fan, that it’s a “Shinedown family.” In addition to others, the rest of the set included Bully, Second Chance and 45 and a massive acoustic sing-along of Simple Man. Closing out the night with Sound of Madness, Smith bid farewell to the crowd with the words, “It’s never goodbye, it’s just ‘til next time.” And hopefully that next time is soon.
As many Cedar Rapidians will tell you, there was a span of several years that the town didn’t bring in much in the way of shows “worth going to,” at least as far as rock and metal shows. Lately, things seems to be on the upswing and the fans that have been coming out en masse must be sending the message that they appreciate the effort. So, what’s next Cedar Rapids? If you bring the music, they will come.
CLICK HERE to view more photos from the show.