I love music. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, and I don’t know how to read music, but I sure do love it. We recently went to the Shinedown + Five Finger Death Punch Concert in Anaheim, and had a blast!
Our first concert in California was Seether, which was in a small venue in Pomona. We could have been right down near the stage, but we opted to stay a little further back, unsure of how much action might happen near the stage. (I’m not a mosh pit kinda girl.) They played with Sick Puppies, prior to their lead singer leaving the band on seemingly not so fab terms.
Seether held a pretty special place for me and Jeff (still does) but their music has changed a lot over the last few years. We’re still fans — just fans of their earlier days. Jeff and I both listened to Seether quite a bit during some tougher times before we wound up together, and it was also played quite frequently during our Spain trip in 2012. There are a few songs that I will always associate with driving in that itty bitty little Fiat to the next castle I wanted to see.
Our second California concert was in 2014. I realized that one of my favorites, Theory of a Deadman was going to be playing in Anaheim at The Grove. I immediately got tickets for the September show. It was an anniversary present to ourselves, since Jeff and I would be celebrating in that month. Theory of a Deadman was playing with Black Stone Cherry (another one of our favorites), and a band called 3 Pill Morning. I hadn’t heard of 3PM until then, but had a chance to meet their bassist on a random trip to the bathroom. I follow them on social media now and think they’re super nice guys (if all of them are like the bassist), so hopefully they’re experiencing more & more success.
The Theory of a Deadman concert will probably go down as one of the greatest concert experiences ever, next to my Bon Jovi concert experience with my girlfriend Cassie back in my Air Force days.
(Long story short, a friend of mine worked security for the band. He scored us some amazing wherever-the-heck we wanted seats and a pass for the after party. We stayed in the barricaded-off sound booth on the floor for the concert. The Hair Band girl in me still squees over the fact that Mr. Bon Jovi himself smiled at me at the bar, and I literally rubbed elbows with the keyboardist, David Bryan. Bon Jovi was touring with Daughtry at the time, so I ate Hard Rock Cafe mini cheeseburgers with Daughtry’s drummer that will never ever remember me, and watched David Bryan & Daughtry karaoke Wanted Dead or Alive. IT WAS A DREAM, since Bon Jovi is basically my favorite.)
I digress. The Theory concert will probably go down as one of the greatest. We happened to run into Theory of a Deadman at a brewery prior to the show. Katy Perry was playing at the Honda Center right across the street from the brewery, so there were young gals and older women in feather boas and crazy bright pink leopard get-ups. It was entertaining to say the least, but as I rounded one of the corners, Tyler Connolly was standing there. I tried to be cool, but I know I was shaking, and he was so, so gracious. He laughed and said he was ready for the Katy Perry show, and took the time to speak with us for a brief minute and take pictures with us.
We were kidless that night, but the kids have always been huge Theory fans — we asked Tyler if he would mind saying hi to the kids in a video, and he legitimately took the time to do it. I can’t say enough how thankful we were that he was so open and willing to engage with fans; we were even more thankful that we actually had the opportunity to say thank you. Thank you, because our first years in California, and leading up to our first years in California, were NOT easy. We struggled, a lot.
Personally, and professionally, and one thing was always there — music. And Theory of a Deadman’s music, as nutty as it sounds, helped us through some incredibly difficult times. It meant a lot to me to be able to shake hands with & thank them, and even more that they appreciated their fans. We probably interrupted a conversation and their dinner, but they never acted like that. That’s amazing.
The Grove is a pretty small venue, so we got to choose where we stood. I like it not too far from the stage, but not too far away either. Where we stood was perfect. Black Stone Cherry played an amazing show, super energetic, and they played all of our favorites. It was pretty awesome to be so close, enough to be able to wave if you wanted and make eye contact with the band and have them interact with you.
The Theory show was a whole lot of fun, too. Both bands played really well live. One of the things I’ll remember is Tyler messing up the words on one of his songs, and laughing about it — I mean, how relateable can you be, right? We wound up with two guitar picks from the band that night because we were really that close to have them thrown at us. Our girl, Katie, got one of them, and the other is sitting in a shadowbox with our Theory tickets and the autographed bag we got because we bought so much merch.
So, fast forward about two years — we finally decided to go to another concert. Shinedown and Five Finger Death Punch were headlining. As Lions and Sixx A.M. were the opening acts. I found out about this concert driving by the Honda Center in Anaheim. Their ticker said something about “Death Punch.” Out of curiosity, I looked and about jumped out of my skin because they did mean FFDP! I’ve been DYING to see these guys live. I’ve basically been playing FFDP during my work day every single day for six months. They’re definitely the get-shit-done kinda music that I need and helps me be motivated.
I’d really been looking forward to our date night and late anniversary present to ourselves. We ate dinner at the same place that we ran into Theory of a Deadman. No luck this time, though! I loved the FFDP show! They had a pretty epic laser show that coincided with their music. Clearly, someone put a whole lot of time into it!
They played last, after Shinedown. I thoroughly enjoyed their show, and loved even more that they recognized veterans. I’ve never been one to wear the “veteran” badge on my sleeve, nor take discounts for active and former military, but it was evident that these guys CLEARLY appreciate those that serve.
For me, the greatest part was that they asked everyone who had served or was serving to raise their hands. Jeff and I acknowledged our service, and then listened to FFDP ream the handful of people that raised their hands without allegedly serving. It was sort of nice to listen to someone stand up for the people that served. Then, they played one of my favorites — their cover of Bad Company. Amazeballs. They played the other song I was hoping to hear, too — Jekyll & Hyde. Needless to say, I was totally satisfied.
Shinedown, though… SHINEDOWN. They played before FFDP, and I was excited to hear them play. I’ve been a Shinedown fan for years, have their albums, and love them when they pop up in my playlist. I wasn’t as excited to hear them play as FFDP, but I was happy to be there. But, let me tell you, they STOLE THE FREAKING SHOW. For me, hands down, Shinedown was beyond epic.
Brent Smith, the Shinedown lead, was so, so, so engaging and I think he had the greatest message that there’s too much hate in the world and we should love & unite instead. It’s a little touchy-feely when you say it out loud, for me, but I appreciate the message so much. Brent Smith left the stage, ran through the crowd, connected with us in the back. The fire display with the Shinedown show was pretty incredible, too! Even though we weren’t super close to the stage, we could feel the heat.
The greatest thing about the Shinedown show was that they made me *feel* the music and the message they had. It wasn’t simply exciting to see a favorite band play, but actually FEEL it in your core. I haven’t had many experiences like that at concerts. How incredible is it to get lost in the music and the lyrics?
The verdict for me? I would absolutely see FFDP again the next time they’re in town, but I think that I will most definitely seek out another Shinedown show. I’ve already looked to see if there are any additional shows within driving distance. There aren’t, but they’re on my radar and I’ll be waiting.