Capital Region area rock fans came out on a beautiful Tuesday summer night, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and had their faces melted off by one of the best rock lineups that have been assembled for a tour run. Fans were not only treated to some of the best bands in rock and metal today, all four bands have very recognizable frontmen. Metalheads had the pleasure of seeing Adam Gontier and super group Saint Asonia, Myles Kennedy with Alter Bridge, Ben Burnley and his band Breaking Benjamin, and Mr. oh wah himself, David Draiman of Disturbed.
The co-headlined Disturbed/Breaking Benjamin tour, not only saw four of todays best frontman, fans were also treated to some of the top musicians in the business. When you break down the lineup as individuals, you realize how good some of these musicians really are. Fans had the privilege to see the likes of guitarist Mike Mushok (Staind), guitarist Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge), and Dan Donegan (guitar) and Mike Wengren (drums) from Disturbed, to name a few, perform right in front of their eyes.
Every band on the bill was right down to business, and kept the talking to a minimum and the music on maximum. I like when bands introduced their songs and tell the back story of how they came about, and maybe for the singer to take a breather, but this was a welcome change, as it gives fans who paid their money, to hear more live music. The reason everyone buys a ticket for a live show is to hear music, and for some, drink beer and get shit faced. Less talking equals more songs that bands can put in their setlist, given the amount of time some bands have to play.
Fans who were smart enough to show up early, saw Saint Asonia take the stage first. Drummer Rich Beddoe, came out pumped up, as he stood behind his kit and yelled to the crowd to get the fuck up, while he waited for the other members of the band to take the stage. The band started the night off with the song “Fairy Tale.” Frontman Adam Gontier sounded really good on vocals. Gontier also looked rested and healthy and sported a fresh Mohawk and some bad ass sunglasses. Gontier was full of energy. Guitarist Mike Mushok and bassist Corey Lowery showed a lot of fire while they played.
Gontier thanked the fans for showing up early, and thanked them after every song. Gontier stated how beautiful upstate New York is, and before he actually named off a city, he told the crowd that he has recently moved to upstate NY, not far from Saratoga. Gontier also answered the question that many may have wondered. He stated that Saint Asonia will be around for awhile and that they were not gonna be a one album band like some.
Before playing the song “I Hate Everything About You,” by Gontier’s former band Three Days Grace, Gontier said that the band is asked all the time if they play songs by their former bands. He then said “Fuck Yes we Do.” He then went one to say I’m gonna play a song that I wrote a long time ago for that other band. Saint Asonia ended with “Let Me Live My Life.”
Alter Bridge took the stage in the second spot on the card. Alter Bridge started things off with “Addicted To Pain.” Singer Myles Kennedy was amazing on every track. I just wish his mic was turned up a little louder. Kennedy’s guitar skills are pretty good. The crowd had Kennedy smiling from ear to ear throughout the bands set, as fans sang each song with him. Now talking about skilled guitarist, Mark Tremonti is a down right beast guitar. Watching him play live is almost mesmerizing. His guitar solos are on point and totally flawless. Tremonti was feeling really feeling it, as he would make facial expressions to the sound of his guitar. You can feel Tremonti’s passion as he plays. At one point, Tremonti was jamming so hard he accidently unplugged his guitar. Alter Bridge had the whole crowd going crazy during the song “Metalingus.” Kennedy gave props to a fan playing air guitar in the upper balcony. Kennedy told the fan that he loves seeing that shit. The band ended their set with “Rise Today.”
First headliner of the night was Breaking Benjamin. The band has been touring relentlessly over the last two years ever since frontman Benjamin Burnley pieced together a new lineup and studio album. Their stage set consisted of C.O.2 blasters, that would shoot off at various times during the bands set. The cool air from the blasters helped cool off the fans down front in the pit. The band started things off with “So Cold.” Being the Star Wars fan that frontman Benjamin Burnley is, the band played the “Imperial March Theme,” from the movie. Ben pledged his allegiance to the darkside of the force giving a shoutout to Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and The First Order, as he wielded a red lightsaber.
Guitarist Keith Wallen, provided the vocal duties for the song “Sooner Or Later,” doing a decent job in the process. Breaking Benjamin played a throwback cover medley that consisted of “Schism” (Tool), “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana) and “Walk” (Pantera).
Burnley told the crowd on many occasions, that they were singing along beautiful and to keep it going. Burnley gave a speech and paid tribute to the men and women in our Armed Forces. Breaking Benjamin ended their night with “The Diary Of Jane.”
Fans by now were foaming at the mouths. For most in the venue, this was the first performance from Disturbed in the area in over four years, and for some, their first Disturbed concert ever. David Draiman and the rest of the boys showed that they were worth the wait. The band played a good mix of fan favorite tunes and some new tracks from the bands current studio album Immortalized.
Disturbed kicked things off with “10,000 Fist.” Standing in the pit looking back, it looked like more than 10,000 fist were in the air, as frontman David Draiman conducted the packed crowd inside the Saratoga Performing Arts Center by pumping his fist in the air. Pyro was in full effect, as flames shot out from various parts of the stage that made it feel like your face was gonna melt off.
These four guys have a one of a kind aura about them. When fans and critics talk about who’s the best this, and who’s the best that, all four musicians in Disturbed, should be in those conversations. There is no doubt that this band will be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame someday.
Bassist John Moyer has this cool swagger about him as he plays, and his Go Pro camera that is attached to the end of his bass can prove it. Drummer Mike Wengren can bang the cans with the best of them. They way he can consistently twirl his drum stick and hit the cymbals on cue for an extended period of time is insane. Wengren also has one of the sickest looking drum kits in business. Guitarist Dan Donegan doesn’t get enough credit as a guitarist. His riffs and solos are some of the best in rock and metal. Singer David Draiman is one of the most recognizable voices not only in rock music but music alone. His style is like no other. His calm bad ass personality is intoxicating.
After Draiman said to the crowd “My brothers, my sisters, my blood….SPEAK TO ME!,” to a deafening response from the crowd, the band jammed out song after song. At the mid point in the set. The lights started to dim down, as the band took on some different instruments while Draiman sat on a stool in the middle of the stage. It was now time for the song that has now made Disturbed a household name. It was time for the bands cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “The Sound Of Silence.” Seeing this performed live is not only amazing, but one hell of a concert moment to be a part of. Every fan in the house lit up their lighters and cell phones like Draiman requested, and set the whole atmosphere for the performance.
Near the end of the bands set, an intoxicated fan kept flipping off Draiman from the crowd. Draiman asked the fan, in David Draiman fashion, why the fan was giving him the finger. After not being able to hear what his response was he continued to the next song. Still flipping the singer off, when the song ended, Draiman acknowledged the fan again, and asked him to come closer so he could hear what he was saying. The fan responded incoherently something about making a bad deal with someone, and screwing him over. Draiman responded by saying that he didn’t think he made a bad deal and everyone is entitled to their opinion. He then said “But sir I would appreciate it if you would show me the respect I deserve by not flipping me off while I’m up on stage.” Disturbed ended one indestructible evening with “Down With The Sickness.” Disturbed showed why they are Immortalized by many.