For the final gig of my whirlwind “Three Shows in Four Days” run I was fortunate enough to be a part of rock and metal history. DISTURBED was playing Theater of the Living Arts here in Philly, a place that holds 800 people. You read that right, nothing wrong with your eyes. This band can fill places twenty times bigger, but they wanted to do a run of intimate small to mid-size shows before they dominate the big festivals and the like over the summer. Along for the ride is NONPOINT, a band who I was never really into but quickly made me a believer with their blistering live set. So let’s start there, shall we?
I remember reading about them back in an old Metal Edge “Bands to Watch in 2001” feature so I bought the Statement album and was less-than impressed. But live they are a whole different story. Vocalist Elias Soriano really puts everything he has into these songs, and he’s fun to watch.
The band behind him made up of Robb Rivera (drums), Rasheed Thomas and B.C. Kochmit (guitars), and bassist Adam Woloszyn (bass) also work their asses off and the real fans in attendance were rowdy, loud, and proud with each passing number.
To an uninformed fan like me the tracks that really stuck out were opener “Misery”, “Breaking Skin”, and “F**K’D”, all from 2014’s The Return. Stuff like this makes me rethink my earlier position on a band and pick up some records to see what I’m missing. Title track “Miracle” from the 2010 record was another surefire winner, as was closer “Bullet With a Name” off of 2005’s To the Pain disc. All around me the excitement was palpable and it was impossible not to get caught up in it. Good job by the NONPOINT boys!
A short time later I met this wonderful couple named Larry and Cheryl who turned into my concert buddies for the night and future shows. Together we had a great vantage point from the second floor to see the Mighty DISTURBED. When the house lights dimmed the roar was deafening, and when “Ten Thousand Fists” started that roar got even LOUDER! Cheryl in particular was loving every second of it, rocking out like there’s no tomorrow. “The Game”, long one of my favorites from the 2000 The Sickness debut was next and the crowd singing along was almost as loud as David Draiman..
Newest and fifth consecutive #1 album Immortalized made an appearance with “The Vengeful One” followed by “Prayer” and “Liberate” from 2002’s Believe. I thought during this one a girl by the balcony might fall over she was jumping around so much, but luckily she didn’t.
One thing DISTURBED excels at is the cover song. On just about every record they have one that totally slays. So you can imagine how nuts I went when GENESIS’ “Land of Confusion” started from Ten Thousand Fists.
Then I was pleasantly surprised to hear older gem “Meaning of Life”, something that was totally unexpected, but rocked balls nonetheless. Speaking of vintage classics, they rolled out “Stupify” next and the faithful responded as you would expect, all of us screaming at the tops of our lungs.
Then it was time to strip it down a bit and bust out the acoustic guitars for “Darkness” followed by current worldwide hit, SIMON AND GARFUNKEL’S “The Sound of Silence”, a cover that recently earned original writer Paul Simon’s stamp of approval. During the performance the respectful silence from the fans was nice, but when it was done the place erupted. One of my Top Five DISTURBED tunes was next with “Inside the Fire” and it was glorious.
And speaking of upper pantheon tracks, “The Light” stands to me as one of the finest songs this band has written, and it was a privilege to witness it in such an intimate setting. The melody hits you in all the right places, especially live.
I originally scratched my head at the medly that came next, but it was pretty cool hearing NIN’S “Closer” into U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” into THE WHO’S “Baba O’Riley”,and then…David brought Elias from NONPOINT back to join him on “Killing In the Name of…” from RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Holy fuck, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? In my wildest dreams I never expected to see something like this, and neither did Larry and Cheryl. He was really pleased because RATM is one of his favorite bands in the world. THAT was awesome!
Closing out the regular set was “Indestructible” which capped things off perfectly. But we weren’t finished yet…for the encore Dramain, guitarist Dan Donegan, drummer Mike Wengren, and bassist John Moyer pulled out “Voices” and “Down With the Sickness” to bring the house down around our ears. It was incredible, this performance. And, just to show he was a good sport Draiman led the place in a “Let’s Go Flyers” chant to make up for an earlier joke at their expense about the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals loss to his Chicago Blackhawks. When it was over Cheryl, Larry, and I were exhausted and stunned. A week later I still can’t believe we were able to see DISTURBED in a place like the TLA.
I have to give a hearty “Thank You” to Freeman Promotions for allowing me to witness such a historic night of rockin’, rollin’, kickass metal with 799 other rabid lunatics, and also for allowing me to give NONPOINT a second chance. Also, big thanks to the TLA staff for all their help on such a crazy packed night. DISTURBED is back, ladies and gents!! And from here on out it’s nothing but arenas, so I’m glad I got to see them up close and personal this time around.
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY