WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Three bands from three different parts of the world gathered together to rock the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza Tuesday night.
Kicking off its tour at the Wilkes-Barre Township arena with England's Bush and Australia's Airbourne in tow, Shinedown, a quartet from Jacksonville, Fla., consisting of Brent Smith (lead vocals), Zach Meyers (guitar, backing vocals), Eric Bass (bass guitar, piano, backing vocals) and Barry Kerch (drums), took the stage to a thunderous ovation at about 9:35.
The band, smartly decked out in suits and ties and opening with “Enemies,” quickly set the tone for the evening, running all over the two-tiered stage as it worked the crowd into a frenzy.
Other early highlights included “Unity” and “I'll Follow You” from the group's most recent album, 2012's “Amaryllis,” and “The Crow & The Butterfly,” a No. 1 tune from 2009's “The Sound of Madness.”
After a sing-along version of 2009's “If You Only Knew,” the band, which has sold more than 6 million albums worldwide and topped the Mainstream Rock charts eight times since 2005, then played the title tune of the newest album and its first hit, 2003's “45.”
Bush, a band formed in 1992 in the Shepherd's Bush section of London, warmed up the crowd with a strong hour-long set that featured most of its big hits from its 1994-2002 heyday plus some songs from its 2011 reunion album “The Sea of Memories.”
Frontman Gavin Rossdale was on from the moment he took the stage with “Machinehead,” one of the big hits from 1994's six-times platinum debut album, “Sixteen Stone.”
After debuting a new song called “House on Fire,” Rossdale, now 45 but still the heartthrob he was in the 1990s, jumped off the stage and over the wall during a tasty cover of The Beatles' “Come Together,” singing the classic from the 116 section then crossing the arena floor to finish up in section 105.
He then climbed back on stage to join his band mates for a glorious version of 1995's “Little Things” before treating the crowd to a mostly solo version of “Glycerine,” a No. 1 tune from that same year.
Bush then finished up strongly with “Comedown,” leaving the crowd wanting more.
First up was Airbourne, a four-piece hard-rocking band from Australia often compared to its countrymen AC/DC, which pummeled the early arrivals with a furious 30-minute set, including tunes from its upcoming “Black Dog Barking” album.
As there were probably only a few hundred people in the building for Airbourne's set (it certainly didn't help that they must have started a good 10 to 15 minutes before the 7:15 start time printed on the tickets), the music was truthfully too loud to decipher many of the words. Pretty sure the closing tune was “Ready to Rock” from the forthcoming album, highlighted by some cool synchronized head banging by Joel O'Keefe (lead vocals, lead guitar), David Roads (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) and Justin Street (bass, backing vocals).
“As long as we are alive and as long as you are alive, rock and roll will never die,” the shirtless O'Keefe yelled at the end of his band's performance.
That goes for the other two bands on the bill as well.