Whenever BREAKING BENJAMIN plays a show in Pennsylvania, one can easily expect the band to have a little extra pep in their step. Originally from the Wilkes-Barre, PA region they rocked the Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Friday, August 5 to an almost full house – if it wasn’t full it was a 99.99% sell-out!
The hard-rock/metal band took the stage promptly at 9:00PM and began their almost 90-minute spectacle with “So Cold” off the sophomore album We Are Not Alone. The crowd raucously welcomed them with open arms and a standing ovation.Following up the momentous opener with another track from their second album, the group slammed right into “Simple Design” & “Sooner or Later” With new guitarist/backing vocalist Keith Wallen (formerly of ADELITAS WAY) taking the lead on “Sooner or Later”, lead singer Benjamin Burnley gave up the spotlight and let Keith showcase his set of pipes.
Next, the band launched into recent Dark Before Dawn single “Angels Fall”. With the crowd dutifully singing along to the radio-friendly single, it truly showcased how much impact this band has had in the area. Being away for a number of years, BREAKING BENJAMIN burst back onto the scene in 2015 with a new lineup and quickly rose back to the top of the charts.
Granting the capacity crowd a mere moment to collect themselves from having their faces rocked off through the first gathering of songs, “Ashes of Eden” presented a nice change of pace. The song was recently featured in a new music video released last month and is a beautiful composition from this typically hard-rocking group. A direct comparison would have to be with We Are Not Alone track, “Rain”.
A short time later, lead vocalist Benjamin Burnley wielded a lightsaber and dedicated a four-song medley to lord Darth Vader and the First Order. The medley-“The Imperial March” theme song, TOOL’S “Schism”, NIRVANA’S “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and PANTERA’S “Walk” – was a great crowd pleaser. Everyone singing along to BREAKING BENJAMIN tearing through the hits of years past was another special moment for all involved. Where else can you and over 2,500 of your closest friends jam out all night and echo every word sang?
Throughout the rest of the set, the boys from PA sprinkled in hits such as “Polyamorous”, “Bury Me Alive”, “Breath”, among others which the Bethlehem crowd sang along to every word. Ending the main set with the powerful “I Will Not Bow” was a great way to send the crowd home happy. Until the band came back on stage, led by Burnley.
The last words spoken for the night before launching into smash hit “Diary of Jane” were those of lead vocalist and band namesake, Benjamin Burnley. “These are your accomplishments too,” Burnley said. “Thank you for sticking with us all these years”. I would like to say thank YOU Ben for sticking with it and following your dream for all these years. Shows such as this really show what kind of people make up the production, band, and crew to put on a tremendous production like this night after night. Thank you BREAKING BENJAMIN and crew.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: CMZ PHOTOGRAPHY