Fans were lined up for hours outside Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park on Thursday night in anticipation for the long-awaited return of Breaking Benjamin. After legal issues with former band mates, frontman Benjamin Burnley assembled a new band that consists of former Red guitarist Jasen Rauch, former Adelitas Way guitarist Keith Wallen, former bassist from OurAfter Aaron Bruch and former Picture Me Broken drummer Shaun Foist.
The very limited eight-city tour titled “Unplugged” is the first acoustic tour in the band’s history with every show either being sold out or very close to a sell out. Upstate Concert Hall was packed tight as you could barely fit another person in the sold out venue. Fans were buzzing with excitement and anticipation sharing past memories of the band and how cool it was that they were getting the first show of the comeback tour while waiting for the band to take the stage.
The new par can LED style lighting the concert venue is sporting now brought a really nice ambiance over the stage and the crowd. Around 8:40pm the wait was finally over. Breaking Benjamin took to the stage to a thunderous roar from the crowd while everyone clapped. The stage was set in usual acoustic fashion with all the band members sitting in chairs with the drummer behind them while Ben stood up.
As the band geared up and hit the first notes for the first song in the set “So Cold,” the fans screams became louder. Then once Ben’s voice resonated through the crowd, every set of eyes in the building was locked on Brunley. Once the song was over they crowd erupted with applause. Ben not really much for talking on the night and more all about business thanked the fans and said “sing along if you know the words.” The band then played “Follow”.
Burnley gave a small speech before they played the song “Unknown Soldier,” Ben thanked the fans for coming to the first Breaking Benjamin acoustic tour and making it so f#@#!^@ awesome for us tonight. He then dedicated the song to the American Armed Forces.
Breaking Benjamin just kept the flow of the night going and just jammed out song after song. Ben asked the crowd “so how do you like the acoustic stuff?” The fans cheered with acceptance which brought a big smile to Ben’s face. BB then went into the song “Blow Me Away”. The crowd sang every word to every song of the night so far which prompted Ben to say how much he loved the crowd here in Clifton Park. He then told the fans that we are going to play some stuff off our first album -“Water” then played through the venue.
Ben then talked about a song that inspired him and made him love music when he was fifteen years old. He then covered the Alice in Chains hit “Them Bones”.
During the song “I Will Not Bow” Burnley pointed out a snafu that one of the guitarist had which made Ben jokingly ask “you ok buddy” Burnley then said to the packed house “it’s great to be back and you guys here tonight are f#@%!#@ awesome.” The band then played “Until The End”.
After the last song in the set “Diary of Jane” Breaking Benjamin stood center stage and took a group bow and thanked the fans by shaking hands, throwing guitar pics and drum sticks to the crowd. Breaking Benjamin the exited the stage which started a defining chant of “one more song” from the crowd.
After a very short exit from the stage. Breaking Benjamin gave the fans not only one more song, but how about a four song encore. They started with a cover of the Nirvana song “Polly”. Before the last encore song of the night “Rain” Ben stated again how f’in amazing the crowd was.
This was a really great show that every Breaking Benjamin fan should get to witness someday. The acoustic setting worked really well and the fans cheered for and sung to every song the band played on the set list. Ben sounded amazing on the mic and the night exceeded my expectations. There was the one little snafu with the guitar and some high screech sounds on the mic here and there but that didn’t ruin the performances at all. It actually enhanced the show giving it a true live vibe. Mishaps happen live, and it’s good to know that you’re getting a true live performance from the band. Even though the cover songs were really good, I wish BB played their own songs “Without You,” “Dear Agony” and “Had Enough” instead. All that aside the 25 song set list just flew by and left me wanting more.
Breaking Benjamin “Unplugged” tour Clifton Park, N.Y.
Setlist: So Cold * Follow * Unknown Soldier * Break My Fall * Simple Design * Blow Me Away * Water * Polyamorous * Natural Life * Shallow Bay * Give Me A Sign * Home * Breath * Them Bones (Alice in Chains cover) * I Will Not Bow * Until The End * Forget It * Prison Sex (Tool cover) * Evil Angel * Lights Out * Diary Of Jane * Encore: Polly (Nirvana cover) * Here We Are * Sooner Or Later * Rain