Being our first concert review we want you to know we are going to be real in our reviews. They’ll be no sugar coating. We love music but we report the concert first and we are fans second. We’ll review the concert but we won’t try to give away too much so if you decide to go see it you can enjoy the little things like we did.
Bands are like marriages except instead of having to compromise and make one person happy it’s 3,4 sometimes 5 different people. Most people have the perception that being in a band is all rainbows and sunshine. They are much more like a hurricane or tornado than people realize. Rarely do five people agree on anything…ever. This is usually the downfall of most bands and why you see bands switching out members faster than speed dating. This makes a band like Sevendust, (that’s only had one member switch, Clint Lowery 2004-2008, in its 20 year history) very rare. Especially considering they’ve done most of it without any label backing them. However, after four years away from his Sevendust family, Clint came back, and just like family you could see the love they had for one another that night at the Distillery. *Note – on the Time Travelers and Bonfires tour, there are 6 band members, the 5 original members and a keyboardist, Kurt Wubbenhorst.
Lajon Witherspoon – lead vocals (1994–present)
Clint Lowery – guitars, backing vocals (1994–2004, 2008–present)
John Connolly – guitars, backing vocals (1994–present)
Vince Hornsby – bass (1994–present)
Morgan Rose – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1994–present)
Knowing the layout of the distillery we arrived early to get in at 7 when doors opened so we could get a good spot to see the show. The main problem with the Distillery’s stage, is if you aren’t in the front then you need to be far enough back to see the stage properly, and I wanted to see everything. So I asked where they we letting people in. The lady at the front told me “The door at the inner patio.” We took a seat at the bar and waited, then there was a line lined up outside. So I checked again and she said the inner patio again, but this time we checked with the manager who said that was the plan, but now it’s outside so we went and lined up outside. Go figure, then they ended up letting people in by the door we were waiting by anyway. There were three checkpoints, one to check that you had a ticket and an i.d, one to take your ticket, and one to put your wristband on. However, they failed to place notices on the entry points that no purses or backpacks were allowed in, so this made for a lot of women having to try to go out through the crowd coming in to put away their bags. It would have been easier to make it known at the entry. Luckily, I had no such baggage so my entry was smooth. Unlike some Sevendust shows on this tour, the stage wasn’t right against the crowd. There was a large gap so Lajon wasn’t able to really reach out to the crowd like he likes to do but that didn’t hinder the show at all.
The room filled up fast, and if you decided to go buy a beer you would have lost your spot. Beers inside the show were $4.50. A dollar more than at the inside bars. Go figure. By the stage set up you knew this was going to be a more low key concert like “MTV Unplugged” or “VH1 Storytellers”. Electric candles lit the stage and stools were placed around for the guys. The concert started and it wasn’t with a bang. It was more like an old friend taking a seat to drink a beer and catch up with you. Whats great about this set up, was that it gave Lajon and the band time to talk about how much he enjoys Green Bay and what they did while in town. He said how he wanted to get into town early so he could see The Pack practice. It didn’t happen, but he did say how amazing it was to be able to hear the practices, and how lucky we are to live in such a great city. He shared a story about how much he enjoyed the folks over at Aloft (465 Pilgrim Way, Green Bay, WI (920-884-0800), and how they took care of the band. He was also reminded by some fans that were there, of a concert they played at the Checkered Flag (Jada Pinkett Smiths band was one band who had opened for them) many years ago. He thought it was the last time they played in Wisconsin (it wasn’t), and it did remind him of the motorized bar stools. He talked about how bad he wanted to race them and even offered to buy one but the owner wouldn’t let him do it and boy was Lajon upset. But he swears he’ll get one one day, I didn’t have the heart to yell out “I don’t think the Checkered Flag even has those barstools anymore!”
(*Photo courtesy of Kayla Kurowski)
The best story was the one he told about the Regatta 220 (465 Marina Way, Green Bay 920-884-7888). They all went there to eat for lunch, and Lajon left after to go to the hotel to rest. He got a call around 8 to come back for dinner. He asked where they were sitting, and they said the same place we were sitting for lunch. Apparently, the guys never left. He went back and had dinner, and when he was walking back to the hotel some his crew were in a hot tub with some naked girls…but he was good and kept on walking to his room. Even though they kept yelling out all the reasons he needed to stop by to visit. It was great to hear the stories. I know the road can be crazy and crazy things happen so the story wasn’t surprising. I was just surprised to hear the story so freely shared. I hope the guys don’t have wives or girlfriends at home cause that’d be awkward.
The road stories were fun to hear but what made the night was the stories about each song. Every song held a story, and Lajon shared how each song was written and in some cases who it was written about. It made you feel like you were at MTV Unplugged or VH1 Storytellers, but less intimate, and you were standing. Lajon teared up right at the beginning of the show, which took me by surprise. I hadn’t seen a singer tear up on a song they’ve been singing for so long, then he did it again. Then on ‘Angels Son’, he couldn’t even get out the first few verses, but the crowd was happy to sing it for him and he truly seemed grateful. I would like to think that Green Bay was special, and he was just touched by our love for Sevendust, but, I am not 100% sure that his emotions were not just another part in his show. Like I said I’m jaded. Green Bay was the 11th date of the Time Travelers and Bonfires tour. Having said that, it takes a lot for a person to bring up that much emotion, and it takes a lot out of person to do that every gig. He has to relive those emotions every night, and relive what he was feeling when he wrote those very personal lyrics.
A girl and her very tall friend decided to shove their way to the front a quarter of the way into the show. This ultimately led to a guy, who had been standing in that spot, getting very peeved and trying to take down the very tall guy. This resulted in him being escorted out of the concert. Then, the girl yelled for the drummer to do a drum solo. He obviously couldn’t hear her (*see note below), but Lajon relayed her message. At first he said no, but after awhile he finally obliged and broke into ‘Home’ from the 1999 album of the same name. The band all joined in and the crowd erupted. Lajon did his best to remember the lyrics, but I think the crowd remembered them more than he did. Lajon made a comment that they hadn’t played it in awhile. It was awesome to hear it, even though it was only up through the first chorus. Lajon finished off the night by taking the keyboardist’s (Kurt) Cheesehead and wearing it to the screams of the Green Bay crowd, and showing his true Green Bay pride. Don’t worry, Kurt still had a nice Cheesehead Beer Koozie to keep him and his beer company.
The set list included the songs below, in order, except for the little bit of ‘Home’, they added the song ‘Face to Face’, and Clint took over vocals for a Johnny Cash cover of ‘Hurt’. Clint has an amazing voice and did a fantastic job. The harmonies that Clint and Lajon are able to create are reminiscent of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell or Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.
4. Xmas Day
5. Under It All
6. Skeleton Song
7. The Wait
10. Ass Drop
11. Come Down
14. Got A Feeling
15. Angel Son
Sixteen songs would usually take an hour max to play, but with talking in between each song to tell its story, and an intermission, the concert was a comfortable 2 hours, give or take. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few.
Didn’t get a chance to see them? Sevendust will be back August 22nd, doing a full Rock Show w/Gemini Syndrome & Sideways @Shack Event Center in Fond Du Lac, for an all ages show! Watch Found in Wisconsin for an interview with them….I won’t quit till I get one!
*Oh, and one quick word of wisdom, you know when you see someone on stage and they look like they have hearing aids stuck in each ear? Yeah, those are called in-ear monitors. That means when you are screaming at the guitarist to look at you or throw you a pick, he can’t hear a word you are saying! He only hears what the sound guy is filtering through his monitor, which is what the band is playing or what is being sang/said through the mic…just a public service announcement for next time and for the people standing next to you trying to enjoy the concert.
Rock On \–/