The music playing in the overhead speakers came to a screeching halt, hinting it was time for the insanity known as Carnival of Madness to begin. We As Human was the first to hit the stage, starting their speedy setlist with “Sever” and “Dead Man”. Skillet’s John Cooper accompanied the band for the performance of “Zombie”, and the band finished the set with “I Stand” and their current single “Strike Back”. They left the eager concertgoers hungry for more of their music, but they all knew it was time for In This Moment to carry the torch of madness.
In This Moment began with the first song from their latest record, “Rise with Me”, the daunting setting intensified as a cool fog rolled across the stage and the two white-masked backup dancers made their way to their posts and waited for Upstate New York’s siren to make her presence known. Maria Brink, clad in a red ringmaster coat and a top hat, stepped onto the platform and grabbed the skull staffs as the band began to play “Adrenalize”. Her dancers then handed her a smoke gun, hinting the next song to play was “Blazin’”, her piercing shriek gave the ever-adoring fans such chills. For the next song, “Whore”, Maria wore a white button down shirt and a plaid mini skirt with a cone hat that read WHORE. At the end of the song, Brink gave the hat to an over-eager fan. In This Moment ended their set with “Burn” and “Blood”. During those two songs, Maria wore a red billowing cape, definitely a fitting outfit for both songs. In This Moment definitely pumped the fans up for Skillet’s heavenly arrival.
To say Skillet‘s introduction was “awesome” is a huge understatement. They started with a heavy electronic remixed version of “Hero”, the anticipation from the fellow concert junkies growing within every booming second. Finally, Skillet made their presence known, immediately starting their set with “Hero”, quickly followed by “Whispers in the Dark”. John introduced the next song from their latest album, Rise, “Sick of It” to which the fans began to chant with Cooper, then the band went straight into the catchy, heavy-beat song. Skillet then brought out their two musicians who played the strings intro for “Comatose”. The next to be performed was “Rise” and the band surprised their fans with their rising platforms during the performance of “Awake and Alive”. Before Skillet proceeded with “The Last Night”, John gave a brief explanation of the song, of a close friend attempted to end her life, and he wrote the song to say that God is more than willing to give second chances, because everyone deserves them. Afterwards, the band played “Not Gonna Die”, “Circus for a Psycho”, ending the set with “Monster” and “Rebirthing”. Skillet sure did put on a very powerful performance, filled with songs that will haunt the back of the music lovers mind for the rest of the night. Oh, but the madness did not end there. It was Papa Roach‘s turn to reveal what they had in store for us.
By the looks of it, Papa Roach was more than ready to blow everyone away, starting their set with “Still Swingin'”, proceeded by “Blood Brothers”, and “Give Me Back My Life”. The madness brewing from the crowd was definitely kicked up a notch with Papa Roach‘s killer performance. But the party was really getting started, they continued their set with “Between Angels and Insects”, “Where Did the Angels Go”, and “Burn”. The moshing and head-banging intensified with every waking minute that Jacoby Shaddix was doing what he does best, riling up the crowd with his fantastic pipes. Still, he was not done with heating the fans up with “Forever”, their current single, “Leader of the Broken Hearts”, and their classic, “Scars”. Papa Roach left the very excited crowd with “…To Be Loved”, “Getting Away with Murder”, and their very well known single, “Last Resort”. Now it was time for Shinedown to blow a hole in the stormy sky.
Shinedown started with a giant black drape set in front of the stage with their symbol in the dead center of it. The lights dimmed, hinting it was time for the madness to continue. Brent Smith’s powerful, melodic voice could be heard from behind the drape as he began to sing “I’m Not Alright”, then the drape dropped and revealed what was really going on behind the curtain. Street performers waving flames around, fire-breathers on the stage, it was the very definition of what is expected of the Carnival of Madness. Shinedown continued their set with “Enemies”, “Devour”, and “Unity”. Through the speedy setlist, they proceeded with “The Crow and the Butterfly”, their fast paced track, “Adrenaline”, and their very moving yet powerful current single, “I’ll Follow You”. The next song to play was “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay, Boom-Lay, Boom)”, the overhead lights spelled out BOOM after each time Shinedown yelled out the word. The thunderstorm outside of the amphitheater began to intensify with every beat of the song and at the last BOOM, a crack of thunder shook the ground, as if God was really rocking out to Shinedown as well. They then continued with “If You Only Knew”, “Amaryllis”, and “45”. But the evening did not end there. Shinedown briefly left the stage, leaving some of the fans chanting their name, begging for more. They then returned to the stage, giving the crowd the encore they’ve all been waiting for: the song that fits their performance perfectly, “Sound of Madness”, “Second Chance”, and their infamous cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Simple Man”. Shinedown ended the evening with the first single from their latest record, “Bully”. One mind-blowing way to end the evening.
All in all, this event was just definitely indescribable. One would have to be there to witness the insanity known as Carnival of Madness. Be sure to check out upcoming tour dates on the website, www.carnivalofmadness.com. This is something you will not want to miss!