Photos - Sevendust - Sept. 16, 2003, Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
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Since the Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora appearance on MTV playing acoustic, bands performing ‘unplugged’ has become quite the rage. In fact, MTV had a spin-off show for years and slowly, the novelty faded but the aura an acoustic performance can give remained strong. Although fewer bands play acoustic sets, except maybe save for radio shows, an unplugged set still gives a band street credibility. And with good reason. If a band can get thousands of fans to sing along and get into a set with nothing but strings and a beat, then the band can boast about its musicianship. At the same time, a bad acoustic show can break a band as fast as a good one can give them credibility. So, for a hard rock band who has a solid fan base to do a tour straight acoustic, with no opener and no stage show, it can be suicide. Especially for a band like Sevendust who has a legion of fans that will come out no matter what. A fan base so solid that they can play the same city three times during the same tour and they will be there each and every time. A band like Sevendust rally had nothing to gain by playing acoustic, but they had a lot to lose.

So, at 10 PM when Lajon Witherspoon and the rest of the Sevendust wrecking crew hit the stage at the Newport Music Hall, it was unclear how this idea of an hour-and-a-half acoustic set would work. But work it did. This show exceeded ant possible expectations. Lajon got to prove once again that he has a tremendous singing voice that is often missed during their live shows. With possibly one of the best drummers in rock with Morgan Rose, Sevendust is usually in a flurry during their live set. But when the lights are low and the candles are lit, the band had a chance to slow down and really feel the music they are normally throwing around. The set was nearly flawless, as each screech of the guitar pick against the acoustic string could be head, almost every intake of breath from Lajon was audible and the soft beats coming from Rose’s Tama set was as soothing as a lullaby.

Before the show kicked off, the brand new CD from the band was blared over the loudspeakers and for most in attendance, they got to hear Seasons, Sevendust’s latest record. So not only did Sevendust give the fans the hard rock they are accustomed to hearing, they were able to prove to themselves and those in attendance that they are one of the top musical acts as well as hard rock acts touring today.

Sevendust is made up of a bunch of road dogs that never seem to quite touring, unless it is to record a new record. And this record has a very appropriate name and the music definitely takes the listener through highs and lows. But hearing the band play acoustic was an even bigger roller coaster of emotions as songs like ‘Angel’s Son’ and ‘Christmas Day’ from Animosity were able to sound as meaningful and important as ever. But at the same time, new songs such as ‘Enemy’ took on a whole new life and when Sevendust hits Columbus again, everyone coming back for round two will definitely have a new appreciation and outlook on Sevendust.

Interview
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