Shinedown / Papa Roach – La Crosse Center – La Crosse WI – October 2nd 2019

Papa Roach and Shinedown – October 2, 2019 at The La Crosse Center

On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the Shinedown: Attention Attention World Tour with Papa Roach and Asking Alexandria descended on the La Crosse Center for what looked like a sold out show … the seats were filled to the rafters!   This is the third concert I’ve attended at the La Crosse center, and they’ve all been general admission, but even for a packed show like this, getting around was rather easy. One thing I like at this venue is they serve food during concerts … but a word of advice:  stay away from the cheeseburger … the taste was akin to what I imagine soylent green would taste like. Plus the nachos were very stale. But I digress … you’re here for a concert review!

Asking Alexandria for first on the stage for a fairly short set (8 songs) but what they lacked in quantity was more than made up for in quality … and volume!  The set started off with one of their newest songs, “Violence” which they first played live this summer at Rock USA. Their radio hit “Into the Fire” was next … which is when the crowd really got “into it” (see what I did there??) They kept the crowd engaged through “Where Did It Go?,” “The Death of Me,” “Vultures,” “Moving On” and “When the Lights Come On” before ending with their current radio hit “Alone in a Room.”

Next on the stage was Papa Roach.  This was my first time seeing this band live and they didn’t disappoint!  Jacoby Shaddix is a great front man, and his vocals and amazing energy were incredible to experience in person.  Papa Roach kicked things off with the title track from the album “Who Do You Trust?” with Shaddix tearing up the vocals and the stage from the very first notes of the song. Next up, their chart topper “Help” had the crowd singing along. By their third song “Elevate”, Shaddix was already off the stage and out in the crowd for most of the duration of the song!  That non-stop energy continued throughout a 60 plus minute set with plenty of sing along opportunities like “Getting Away With Murder” (personal favorite!), “Born for Greatness,” “Forever” and of course “Scars.” Papa Roach is one of those bands that has been around long enough (20 years!) that almost every song they play got some major radio airplay. Their set ended with their biggest hit “Last Resort” … what a way to go out on a BANG!

Finally, it was Shinedown’s turn to command the stage.  Their show is the second show I’ve seen this year at the La Crosse Center to start off behind a huge white curtain that falls to the ground at the start of their set with an explosion of sound and fire (the other show was Breaking Benjamin).  The massive flames were the perfect backdrop to their first song, “Devil.” Shinedown front man Brent Smith took the stage front and center sporting a sharp suit, with a vest and tie no less! It didn’t take long for the suit coat, vest and tie to be cast aside … the venue heated up very quickly with all the pyrotechnics!   Shinedown has been around since 2001 so they had a lot of material to spread around their 90 minute set, going back to their first album in 2003, although the only song they played from that debut album was “45” (and not, alas, my all time favorite song from that first album, “Fly From The Inside” which I’ve heard them play on every previous tour.)  With so many bigger hits since then, I suppose it is hard to pick and choose, although I could have done without “Amaryllis” … and I’ve never been a hug fan of their version Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” … but everything sounds better live and in concert! That especially goes for some of Shinedown’s biggest radio hits like “Bully,” “Cut the Cord,” “Enemies,” “State of My Head,” and recent songs like “Attention Attention” and “Get Up” (is it just me or does that song sound too much like Imagine Dragons??)   

Lead singer Brent Smith spent a lot of time engaging the crowd, especially during an extended riff about “people getting along” prior to the song “Unity” which seemed to be prompted by something he saw in the crowd.  Something else I experienced which was a first: while I was shooting photos in the pit during the first three songs, Brent Smith went to the edge of the stage, and personally shook hands with each of the photographers in the pit at the start of “Enemies!”  I’ve been to hundreds of concerts and have never had an artist do that! Biggest crowd pleasers of the night were probably “Second Chance,” “Cut the Cord” and their second to last song of the night “Sound of Madness.” They ended the concert with “Brilliant” which is from the new album “Attention Attention.”  Shinedown brought their “A game” to La Crosse with a great lightshow, tons of energy and best of all, incredible music! If you get a chance to see them on this tour … do it!

Review and photos by Jim Zons