Grand Slam Duluth with Shinedown and Saving Abel

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

Shinedown, Saving Abel, Pop Evil and Sick Of Sarah brought down the rain and doused the audience with chart topping tunes this past Sunday at Wade Stadium.

There was a large crowd at the performance, and despite the overcast and drizzly sky, they all were singing along to the pop metal music. For a time it felt as if the bands were keeping the big storms from coming down and spoiling the show.

The main attraction, Shinedown, showed their polished act and singer Brent Smith fit the bill for a front man. Smith told the audience to look at the person next to them and talk to them and get to know them and tried to create some intimacy. The message seemed to fall on a few deaf slam-dancing ears though.

A group of mostly shirtless and tattooed gentlemen slamming each other were soon framed by a circle of watchers. With $4.50 Bud flowing and an under 30s crowd it was only time before someone would be escorted out by the police… The funny thing was that the person I saw the police escorting out was the opposite of the guy with the Confederate flag tattoo slamming the guy with the barbwire wrap on his arm.

At some shows the audience is just as entertaining as the act on the stage. This show had a great bit of drama occurring toward the bathroom/outhouse area while the side stage had the moshpit. There was an intoxicated young woman who was being held back by her friends, who were just trying to get her to call it a night and return home. It was strange to see this woman fighting her friends so badly to stay, while not even watching the act on the stage. At one point she got away from her friends and the story finally became clear… She was trying to get at what must have been her ex-boyfriend, who was flanked by his new girlfriend or date. When the scorned drunkin’ woman turned around he yelled some profanity from behind his fresh blond shield.

Eventually an officer came over and escorted the ex and her friends out and it was back to Shinedown!

I had listened to Shinedown’s music leading up to the show, but truth be told I didn’t know who they were until the weekend of Grandma’s Marathon.

On the morning of Grandma’s I was coaxed by the people I was with (one being a last minute marathon drop-out) to participate in a music trivia contest for two tickets to the Shinedown show.

A music trivia contest by 94X at the Reef….

Needless to say, I won the tickets, so I felt compelled to attend.

I am a radio coaster. I like to scan the channels and stop on any music that sounds decent. 94X ends up coming up quite a bit, but I never catch the name of the band. So I suppose I had never heard of “Shinedown”, but I recognized their songs from the radio. I had also listened to a few of Saving Abel’s tunes, which I thought were a bit more appealing. The show at Wade Stadium changed my opinion of the music.

There were many (many!) fans who knew every word to Shinedown’s music, which made me feel like maybe I am out of touch with some music today.

I hate it when reviewers say, “well that’s not really my kind of music” or some other BS to put lipstick on a pig. If music is good, it’s good. Shinedown played some good music, not just the radio hits, but some solid deep tracks. The audience validated the show and made it a great success for a small festival on a Sunday night in West Duluth.