When I heard Shinedown would release a double-live CD along with a bonus double-live DVD, I was beyond stoked. Not usually a fan of live CDs, I was a little apprehensive, but still I cast my bias to the side and purchased Somewhere In The Stratosphere. I have been listening to it in my car and... Wow.
Somewhere In The Stratosphere received its name from a member of the Shinedown Fan Community. How great is it that Shinedown includes their fans in the naming of their newest release? Brent Smith is a great frontman, and it comes through on the CD as well as on the DVD. He is also great at getting the crowd involved, and even lets them know that they are being taped to give everybody an added jolt of excitement.
Disc One was recorded in Washington State and is the “electric show.” Electric, meaning bass-thumping guitar riffing and drums beating in your stomach. The opening track is "Scary Fairy," which is an instrumental that is eerily reminiscent of a horror movie and carnival bells. That leads into "Sound of Madness," which debuted at Number 8 on the Billboard 200 chart. The rest of the songs are stellar as well, with Shinedown continuing to capture the audience with their enthusiasm.
Disc Two was recorded in Kansas City, Missouri at the Midland Theatre. In the video you can see the venue's intricate architecture, which tends to signify great acoustics. And although it's an acoustic show, it still rocks. Acoustic sets are always more personal. This show, in particular, feels all the more intimate after watching segments from before the show begins that give a glimpse into the personalities of the band members.
During the show Smith explains the meaning behind each song before the band plays it, which is awesome. Of course as fans we always put our own meaning into the music we listen to, but it is really nice to hear the musicians reflect on their reasons for writing the songs. If you are a rock ‘n’ roll fan, do yourself a favor and get this CD/DVD set. While the electric shows get in your veins, leaving you curious for the next track, the acoustic shows make you feel like you’ve known the band for years.