Shawn James Electrifies Amplified Live!

Shawn James performing at Amplified Live. Photo by Craig Youngblood

It was a beautiful first day of spring in Dallas Texas as we arrived at Amplified Live to see the Magic of Shawn James tonight. As we pulled into the parking lot the line was building at the door and in the parking lot, there were cars letting fans out at the door. Upon entering the venue, you could see the stage set up and ready for an incredible rock show. The fans were walking around talking and exploring the venue while they were finding their places in front of the stage, grabbing drinks and some merchandise before the show starts shortly.

As the time neared for Gravedancer to kick things off more fans funneled to the stage and began patiently waiting to hear the music they have been waiting for. The lights dim and you can see some movement in the dark to the side of the stage and suddenly Baker aka “Gravedancer” makes his way to the stage. As he walked onto the stage the crowd erupted with cheer and applause and they were so happy to get the evening of music going. He performed several of his own songs that are on Every Kind of Dog EP that is out now on all streaming platforms. As he got to about the middle of his set, he asked Shawn to come up to the stage and sing one with him. They told the story about the song that they sang to some wolves and said they seemed to like it and hopefully you guys will also.

As it got closer to Shawn taking the stage the crowd inched forward as much as they possibly could to get close to the stage so they could soak it all in. Suddenly the lights went out and the band one by one climbed onto the stage and got into their position. He stepped up and thanked everyone for coming out and told us this was his first-ever sold-out show in Dallas, and I doubt it will be his last. He kicked off the night with a definite crowd favorite of his titled Burn the Witch and the crowd cheered and hung on to every word he sang. As he worked his way through many of his amazing songs he stopped and told the crowd that this next song was for anyone who has ever faced troubles in their life and to remember that they are not alone, and this was a song for them. He then played the chords to a song off his new album Not Alone, and the fans watched him sing with a sincere intent and connection to the words of the song. He played a few songs off of his new album titled A Place In the Unknown. A few songs later he spoke to the crowd again and asked if anyone had ever had struggles and thought that would not be able to beat it or make it. He said Well you are enough, and you should never give up and this is the song for you called Curse of the Fold. Again, the crowd cheered and sang along with the verse of the song as he performed for them. As Shawn and the band finished that song, he told the audience the band was going to take a break and he would be playing some acoustic songs for us. He said once I’m done singing some acoustic songs, we’ll bring the band back up and get a little rowdier!

As he started his acoustic set he asked if Texans have rivalries with other cities within the state. After he asked, he said they were in San Antonio last night and had great audience participation when he wanted them to sing along with him. The crowd yelled out for him to sing so they could show him who was louder and sing along better. He kicked off his acoustic set with Ain’t no Sunshine and the crowd went crazy and began belting out all the words to the song as he leaned against an amp and listened to them sing and smiled. After a few lines for the crowd, he stepped up smiling, and told them I didn’t know you were going to sing the whole song, and everyone started laughing and cheering. He said one more time let’s go together now. He wouldn’t tell us which city did better so we all just kept singing along with him. He played several more songs that had been requested before the show during the meet and greet that he hasn’t played live in a long time. He told the fans if I mess this up it’s not my fault it’s the person that requested its fault and everyone started laughing. Before he started the rest of the acoustic songs, he got his phenomenal fiddle/guitar player to come up with him and do a few songs during the acoustic set. Shawn was asked to play a song and he told us about how it held a special place to him because he wrote it when his little sister was going through cancer treatments. He also told us that was one of the ways he was able to cope with it and let us know that she is a warrior and beat cancer and is now cancer-free and the song is called Midnight Dove.  He played a little more and then asked if Gravedancer was still in the crowd and when he confirmed he was there he had us all sing him a happy birthday. He went on to sing a couple more songs for us and one was a cover by the legendary singer Chris Cornell, and one was by another legend Frank Sinatra called That’s Life. He played both songs with his own style on them, and they sounded phenomenal.  After he wrapped up his acoustic set, he said why don’t we get the band back up here and get a little rowdier now.

The band made their way through the sold-out crowd back to the stage and they started this set with another song off their latest album titled Ghost. He followed the newer song up with an older one that was another crowd favorite titled Haunted and everyone cheered as they heard the opening chords of the song. Throughout the whole night, the crowd was moving to the music, dancing, and singing in what room was available in the packed sold-out venue. As Shawn and the band worked their way through the rest of the set, he finished up the song No Blood and thanked the crowd and they took off their instruments to walk off the stage. Shawn started to walk off the stage and turned around and asked the crowd so do you want to play this game where we walk off and you chant for an encore, or you want us to just play one more song. He said okay, okay we will play one more song for you, and let’s get Gravedancer up here to help us with this one. As he got up on the stage and grabbed his banjo Shawn approached the microphone to sing the last song of the night. Instead of singing right away he addressed some of the things that are going on in the world right now and asked how we as humans are not better than the greedy people in suits causing harm to others, he said we should be better than that this day in age we are in. He said this next song goes out to those in Ukraine. He asked War what is it good for and they abruptly went into their song War had its own brand of rock and roll with a hint of punk rock and the crowd was moving together in unison as they played. The crowd continued to cheer and sang along with the words as they performed and put so much heart and soul into their set.

As they wrapped up their set and put their instruments back in the stands the band made their way off the stage and went out into the crowd to meet the fans. You could see them taking time to talk to everyone who wanted to, and they were signing autographs and taking pics until the end of the night. This was the first time that I had ever seen Shawn James live even though I have been a fan of his for many years and it will not be the last one I ever go to. This was one of those shows that such high energy you could feel it for days after and when you thought about it, I could almost feel that energy again replaying many moments from the night in my head. Shawn even said during his show that the energy they were feeling on the stage is what they have been missing and you can only get it from going to a live show and experiencing it for yourself. If you have never seen Shawn James and his band, I would give the advice to go see them as soon as you can and experience the magic of his live show in person for yourself.

Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood

Related Articles

Back to top button