Shinedown Rocks The Annual 98Rockfest at The Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida October 2, 2021
October 5, 2021
Central Florida Concert Reviews, International Concert Reviews
Mark Horan Publisher/Photographer
Central Florida’s premier indoor rock festival, 98Rockfest went on with out a hitch in Tampa, Florida on October 2, 2021. With temperatures reaching 90 degrees outside, it was very comfortable in Amalie Arena which is home to the NHL Stanley Cup Champions, The Tampa Bay Lightning. The arena ice was present under the floor which kept the temperatures inside nice and cool. On stage the venue brought five high power bands that entertained the crowd for five plus hours. Attendance appeared to be around 14,000 fans as the arena was a little over half full with seating on the floor and a standing room only VIP section in front of the stage. Amalie Arena’s seating capacity is 21,5oo in the permanent seats.
The festival got under way in Thunder Alley which is located outside the arena. The Alley is a huge courtyard if you will, located next to the arena surrounded by a Marriott Hotel and other large buildings. There was a stage and vendor booths selling food and drinks. The festival kicked off at 2:00pm with DJ’s Scratch & Sniff. The outdoor beginning of 98Rockfest was a free concert! The first band on tap was Jeris Johnson at 2:20pm. Jeris was joined by a drummer with the bulk of the music being on tape. He was all over the stage, and as the crowd grew, it was evident the energy was being transferred to the fans. The show had started!
Next up on the Thunder Alley stage was Zero 9:36 at 3:00pm. The energy was even more intense than the opener with standing the temperatures. The crowd was growing and getting rowdier as lead singer Matthew Cullen fed the mania. Zero 9:36 has been touring America and the tour schedule takes them to the end of the year in cities coast to coast.
At 3:45pm Seattles Ayron Jones and his band hit the Thunder Alley stage promoting his latest album “Child of the State” which was released May 21, 2021 . The crowd had grown and the atmosphere was surely festive. Ayron Jones rocked out in an enjoyable short set taking the crowd up to the 4:30pm opening of the gates to the arena where the fans entered into the show that most had come to see.
10.) The Star-Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith & Francis Scott Key cover)
Once inside in the cooler atmosphere, the energy was grew by the minute. We might have been indoors, but it felt like any outdoor festival that I have attended. Everyone was smiling and had a great time. Dirty Honey took the Amalie stage at 5:30pm. The band exploded into “Gypsy” to start the abbreviated six song set. This was my third time covering Dirty Honey this year, and the second time on a large stage. This band is the hottest upcoming band in the current music scene. They are comfortable on any size stage; large or small, although I prefer them in an up close setting. Their transition to larger stages is the natural progression of an upcoming band. Unfortunately, just as the crowd was getting into their set, it was over. We can expect headlining tours on big stages with this great rock and roll band in the very near future.
Keeping to the short 30 to 35 minute sets, Fozzy took the stage at 6:16pm. Fozzy’s lead singer Chris Jericho is a commanding figure on stage with a great voice. After being crowned in 2001 the first ever undisputed WWE champion, he went on to be one of only seven grand slam champions. He looked as if he could jump right in the ring if it wasn’t for that microphone in his hand as he belted out the Fozzy hits from over the past 22 years. Both of the guitar players, Rich Ward and Billy Grey were all over the stage leaping and just plan rocking out the entire set. Fozzy is a high energy show that you would like to attend over and over again!
Candlebox was next at the set time of 7:05pm. Did I mention the program stuck to the starting times of each band? Well it proceeded like a well oiled machine. Candlebox has been around for thirty years and has release seven albums, their latest “Wolves” was released a little over a week ago. Their set was calmer than the previous bands inside and outside. Lead singer Kevin Martin at one point strapped on an acoustic guitar for the song “We,” which really slowed it down. Candlebox is a great band, but in this lineup they didn’t really fit.
Seether took the stage at 8:00pm. All Music Magazine reviewed their latest album released in 2020 “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.” This is a band I have been dying to see. But unfortunately their set consisted of a lighting scheme that wasn’t conducive to taking great images with a digital camera. They too, also slowed down the set with Dale Stewart on acoustic guitar during the song “Broken.” A great song even if Amy Lee of Evanescence wasn’t singing along. The stage was mostly backlit the entire night without the use of follow spotlights to illuminate the artists. Their faces were dark most of the night. I feel it hurts the visual impact of the show for the audience. I will get another chance to cover Seether real soon I imagine.
Finally at 9:25pm. the powerhouse headliner hit the stage with the most energy of any of the days bands. The crowd roared assuring everyone in attendance they were not fatigued. Guitarist Zach Meyers and bass player Eric Bass were literally running back and forth during the first song “Cut The Cord” which included concussion pyrotechnics. Which in layman’s terms means a loud bang and fire which made the audience go crazy! It was like the arena had just exploded and the fans were head bobbing and just loving it. The guitarists were just blurs and I dropped my camera hoping they would tire and stand still for a few shots. But to no avail, they didn’t slow down until the second song”Unity.”By the third song, they were actually stopping to pose for pictures. This bands reputation proceeds them, they have exceeded all bands in history with 16 number one singles on BillboardMainstream Rock charts. Also, with all of their released singles charting in the top five.
Great music and high energy what’s not to love? I wished they could have used a bit more front lighting but it was far better than Seether’s set. I was a bit embarrassed that I really didn’t know this band. But, I was thoroughly impressed with their show. They added a fan at 98Rockfest 2021 and I can’t wait to cover them again!
Freelance Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.