Shinedown may have been the headliners last Friday night at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, but all eyes were on supporting band Three Days Grace (TDG), whose fans caught a first-hand glimpse of the band without its original singer Adam Gontier who recently left the group due to undisclosed health-related concerns. Fill-in vocalist Matt Walst, frontman for My Darkest Days and brother of TDG bassist Brad Walst, appeared onstage wearing a gas mask which he wore for the majority of the opening song in an apparent attempt to dispel doubts that he could fill Gontier’s shoes by forcing the crowd to listen to the vocals without fixating on the singer’s identity. For his part, Hyde pulled off the vocals remarkably well without attempting to pull off an exact replica of Gontier’s vocal work, and seemed to feel comfortable onstage with the remainder of the band.
A nattily-attired Shinedown started off their set on a platform in the center of the crowd of the Coliseum, moving onto the mainstage after their first song. A Shinedown concert is a spectacle to behold, and Friday night was no exception. In addition to occasional bursts of pyrotechnics and an elaborate light show, a large circular plasmatron flashed uplifting images from around the globe (and sometimes of the globe itself) throughout the show that coincided with audio clips played in-between songs. With so much emphasis on presentation, though, it almost seemed as if the band’s visuals took preeminence over its music. Which isn’t to say that the music was lackluster - Shinedown remain a formidable live band - but at the end of the evening the band’s imagery may have remained with the audience more than its musical content.
Prior to both of those bands, a loose and funky P.O.D. warmed up the crowd with a no-nonsense set.