Shinedown’s Planet Zero Tour arrived in SoCal and I have to say I was super stoked to cover this show! I am a massive Shinedown fan and I have heard good things about the openers, Jelly Roll and John Harvie, so I was looking forward to this one at Honda Center!
Honda Center filled up quickly, and first up, John Harvie, a 21-year-old up-and-comer from Nashville who really got his start on TikTok, and man, the kid can sing! He posted a cover of Fallout Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” went to bed having 100 TikTok followers and woke up with 18,000, and within months, more than 100,000. That viral video has led to his debut album, “told ya,” which was released in August.
When Harvie took the stage, I did not know what to expect. I’ve seen interviews with him, but no actual performance footage. Well, this guy can dance and he uses every inch of that stage. His band members were in on it as well; they were all over the place! Harvie spent most of his set on the walk out “thrust” stage and I was eye to eye with his Nikes, literally!
They started the show with “A Little Longer” and the crowd loved it. By the time they got “Beauty in the Bad Things,” everyone was hooked. They closed with “Haunt Me,” and I loved the lyrics: “And I don’t believe in monsters, not afraid of the unknown, But you make me paranoid, I’m living with a ghost.” Go check out John Harvie!
After a short intermission, up next was Jelly Roll. He describes his music as somewhere between rock, hip hop, country, and Southern Baptist. His personal life is pretty interesting as well: he honed his rap skills in prison by participating in rap battles; Jelly Roll and wife, Bunnie Xo, celebrated their six-year wedding anniversary this year; and he released a mixed tape in 2013 called “Whiskey, Weed, and Waffle House” which prompted Waffle House to threaten legal action, and caused him to change it to “Whiskey, Wine, and Women.” The replacement cover even features a “cease and desist” stamp replacing the Waffle House logo.
The stage setup was huge; with a very large main stage, and large wings coming off each side, plus two thrust stages, add the backdrop features of a skull wearing a crown. Suddenly, he appeared! The music started and pyrotechnics set off, flames shooting in the air… OH YES! The pyrotechnics continued through the whole set and the crowd sang along to “The Hate Goes On.” “Talk shit ‘til we pull up, in a full truck of fools holdin’ tools, all ready to shoot up anyone who abused us, bullied and used us, this is the revenge of the misfits and losers.” Everyone loves a comeback, and this self-proclaimed “White Trash Rapper” is definitely making a comeback!
If I could make a list of my top 20 favorite bands, Shinedown would be on it. Brent Smith is a genius, a showman, and he really puts on a fantastic show. The Planet Zero Tour will prove to be their most successful to date.
The Honda Center holds 18,336 in its cavernous 650,000 square feet interior, and it looked like it was there as Shinedown prepared to take the stage. The lights dimmed significantly and the fog machine kicked in; not too much, just enough to add some gloom to the dim blue.
The band slowly emerged, strapping on guitars and getting ready behind the drum kit. And then Brent Smith appeared (leader, singer, songwriter). He patroled the stage, looked out over the crowd, like a rebel commander examining his troops. He walked back and forth as Zack Myers launched into “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo.”
Myers was placed stage left, but it didn’t take him long to come down to the thrust stage and blast his guitar in our faces. “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo” is the story of a society where false narratives and innuendos are present and forced to be accepted. Smith’s stage presence was commanding and he wasn’t singing a song to us, he was giving a speech; he attempted to awaken us all to the trappings of society.
Between songs, Smith talked about loneliness and mental illness. He told those assembled that they were not alone; he said, “If you need to talk to someone, talk to me. Look around you, talk to one of us.” He touched on suicide, and again, “You’re not alone, and talk to someone!” He spoke directly to Orange County, referencing the last time they were here. There was also a tribute to Taylor Hawkins.
Bassist Eric Bass had his time on the thrust stage as well, banging his head and running around like a madman. Drummer Barry Kerch pounded his kit and did not let up all night. They played a fiery, and I mean fiery, 19-song set spanning the band’s entire career.
They had more fire than I’ve seen in a long time. They went through “Devil,” “How Did You Love,” “45,” “Cut the Cord,” “Monsters,” “Second Chance,” and did a cover of “Don’t Look Back in Anger” from Oasis. Wrapping up the set, they had Jelly Roll join them for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” and then they closed with “Song of Madness.”
I have to say this is the best show I have seen in a very long time. This is a band I would see over and over, so if you get a chance, I suggest you do it!