Well, here I am again, starting another year full of excellent music and packed with live shows all over the place. 2016 had a bit of a twist as far as my “first show of the year” concerns. The date was January 18 at the memorable House of Blues Dallas to witness a rare performance from a band that I just became a big fan of not even one year ago. BREAKING BENJAMIN announced in late 2015 a unique set of tour dates that have the particularity of being played in an acoustic show.
I have to admit I initially wasn’t excited for this show, but as long as this journey started to write almost by itself, I’m glad I took my open-mindedness with me that day.
For almost two decades, BREAKING BENJAMIN has been writing very powerful songs that, as a consequence, filled the venue to its very last spot in a sold-out night. Getting the honor of opening the show, STARSET performed a somewhat decent set, in which I wish people would at least pay more attention and leave the conversations behind. You don’t go to a show to see how your buddy has been doing, you go to get wasted with the music you love.
From a concertgoer’s point of view, and especially one that has gone to probably almost 150 shows, crowds become very easy to identify when the show hasn’t even started. The only negative thing about this night in particular is that it was a Monday night, and surely more than 90% of the people going had something interesting to do the following day, but there are always old ladies that don’t give a rat’s tail to mess up your well-being.
Moving on to the show, the headlining band was about to take the stage, and the strange thing was that I felt exactly the same goosebumps that took over my body back in May of last year when I had absolutely no idea who BREAKING BENJAMIN was. The show seemed very mysterious, I had no knowledge of how long the setlist was going to be, nor the songs that were going to be included in it and my mind had already played the typical trick of going back home because it was Monday.
“So Cold” is my jam, and it sure made my day a lot better when that was chosen to open the set; very energetic, less heavy, but with an excellent mix from that dude to just get another experience and perspective from acoustic shows. After all, it was my very first time experiencing a big rock band play their songs in another style. Benjamin Burnley encouraged all of us to just enjoy the moment and have fun, and it’s what everybody just did during the 1.5 hours of excitement. “Follow” created a better vibe among the crowd, along with “Simple Design”, which are songs that I’m not familiar with very much, but I’m sure I’ve listened to them somewhere in the past.
BREAKING BENJAMIN were not necessarily promoting their latest album released Dark Before Dawn (with a number one debut on the Billboard Top 200 chart), but some of their singles were not to be left behind this tour. “Angels Fall”, “Ashes of Eden” and “Failure” (my favorite out of all three!) were transformed from a not-so-typical radio single to songs that you just had to sing along with the many unfamiliar faces joining you that night to do one thing they have in common.
In between these tracks we also had a few jewels to go back in time where the band had less experience but the same energy, such as “Sooner or Later” and “Blow Me Away”.
This is barely half the set and by this time I was really into this type of acoustic show! All band members were performing excellent, making an incredible connection with the crowd, and the lead singer even took a few minutes to do a stand-up comedy show (which really wasn’t, but made everybody laugh and forget the stress about other things). A couple of other songs, “Breath” and “Away” made a good compliment to continue just before doing a killer cover of TOOL’S “Aenima”. The show in general was going excellent so far and at this point I couldn’t be more excited about what was to come up next.
The ending part of the set was feeling nowhere near, and everyone still got a pretty dense shot of adrenaline with tunes like “Home” and “Give Me a Sign”, but other sensational hits like “Polyamorous” and “I Will Not Bow” could not be forgotten to conclude it before coming back for an encore with another one of my favorite tracks “The Diary of Jane”. It was amazing to see everyone enjoying their favorite songs in a different way, raising their beers up high and maybe even crying for the reasons that only they know.
One of the first things I thought just after leaving the venue was if, and I insist, IF you like BREAKING BENJAMIN, and you LOVE to sing… you HAVE to go to this show! Just drop everything else and spend some time in this different experience.
Do it for yourself, have some fun, and see how amazingly Benjamin, Aaron, Keith, Jasen and Shaun are capable of performing. This unplugged show is just different, not the best I’ve been to, but I wouldn’t even think of not going to one like this one again. It looks like this tour is selling out, so I encourage you to be part of BREAKING BENJAMIN’S history and lose your voice while you sing and gain some positive vibes for your life. May it be fulfilled with some good rock music and lots of beer.
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE
LIVE PHOTOS: GUZPIX