The summer of 2016 featured a very interesting package of concerts and tours that seem to be filling the void left by the now-defunct Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. As we all know, the hotter months of the year are usually the best ones to go out there and listen to some huge bands play our favorite songs. While I can mention many artists with their respective shows and lineups, there’s one in particular that I have a very strong connection with, and it’s precisely why I’m here to describe it.
DISTURBED, after a (relatively long) five-year hiatus was finally back to infect their fans with the sickness. It was August 12, when the tour reminded us what their shows are like, along with the sensational BREAKING BENJAMIN, alternative rock band ALTER BRIDGE, and the rock supergroup SAINT ASONIA at Dallas’ Gexa Energy Pavilion.
SAINT ASONIA is one that I’m hardly familiar with. The only thing I knew about them before they played was the lead singer, Adam Gontier, used to lead THREE DAYS GRACE. The setlist involved a mix of both SAINT ASONIA and THREE DAYS GRACE songs. With a very entertaining style of rock and tracks such as “Fairy Tale”, “King of Nothing”, “Dying Slowly”, “Better Place” and “Let Me Live My Life”, SAINT ASONIA warmed up the excited crowd for following bands. A perfect plus for this performance was the addition of THREE DAYS GRACE’S “Just Like You” and “I Hate Everything About You”. Definitely a very interesting set to see.
Moving on with the second act, which was definitely one that I didn’t want to miss, ALTER BRIDGE started their set with strong riffs and a huge load of energy that was directly discharged through their fans. I remember going back to October 2015 when I saw Mark Tremonti perform for the first time with his band, TREMONTI, but after many times of hearing Myles Kennedy, I never had the chance to see him live until that day, along with band members Brian Marshall (bass) and Scott Phillips (drums). Among the songs included in the setlist were “Come to Life”, “Farther Than the Sun” (super heavy track, by the way), “Isolation” and “Metalingus”, which was definitely my favorite song! ALTER BRIDGE had much energy during the time that they were playing for their fans, and after a solid set, they definitely proved that they have their own style and can bring it to the crowd!.
The following act is one half of the reason why I was so hyped about this show. BREAKING BENJAMIN is one of the VERY FEW bands that I’ve ever seen that caught my attention the first time I heard them back in 2015, and instantly made me a fan. Although their style is not necessarily metal, their music and lyrics are so meaningful that I felt connected in many ways. Like many people in the venue, I was uncontrollably excited to see them perform again with a more distorted sound and harder drums, as opposed to the their unplugged tour back in January. Once I got set up on the lawn, the God of Rain sent us some, and there we were, lightly soaked and ready for the show. As soon as the lights went off and the sound started “So Cold” gave me back some of the best goosebumps I’ve ever felt.
It was time to let loose and feel the music that we all enjoy. From their newest album Dark Before Dawn, “Angels Fall” followed the party, which caused even more excitement to everyone present. We also got a dose of rock medication with “Sooner or Later” and “Blow me Away”.
After this, an historical event was about to happen. First of all, a medley was brought to us by BREAKING BENJAMIN, but closed with the high note when DISTURBED’S David Draiman was invited to the stage to sing PANTERA’S “Walk” in full! Since the show took place in Dallas, where Dimebag’s soul is resting, the people were more than pumped during the song. History being made right here.
Still connecting the set, other songs followed such as “Polyamorous”, “Believe”, “Breath” and my favorite song from Dark Before Dawn, “Failure”. The time was about to come for BREAKING BENJAMIN to turn off their amps and leave the stage for the headlining band.
Before leaving the stage, the fans sure had a great time with even greater songs from the band. Adam Gontier was invited to the stage as well to sing “I Will Not Bow”, followed by “Until the End” and all concluded by the song that has given me tears before: “The Diary of Jane”.
The circumstances weren’t much different from the last time, and this time sure marked a hard check mark among the great moments of my summer and as part of my celebration of ten years listening to metal music in general.
And speaking of such a big celebration, the following act was about to hit the stage, and to me, it meant to reliving my first metal experience that happened in the year 2006, and continued until the Mayhem Fest in 2011, with a pause of five years.
I never considered myself a huge DISTURBED fan, but the band was part of the packet of bands that I got to see in my first metal show: OZZFEST 2006.
I can’t describe the feelings of seeing David Draiman, John Moyer, Dan Donegan and Mike Wengren walk to the stage to play the songs that were part of my high school years and some college again. With a very complete setlist, DISTURBED had some solid material to bring the sickness and keep it in Dallas, TX. The opening track, “Ten Thousand Fists” reflected exactly that: more than ten thousand people lifting up their fists after a long rest. “The Game” continued with the stellar opening, so many people singing lyrics and yielding to their emotions at the time.
Since DISTURBED released a new album last year, Immortalized, first single, “The Vengeful One” was added to the setlist for the enjoyment of everyone, which includes a very niche chorus and loads of energy.
The comeback of the headlining band meant obviously that the fans were eager to hear old tunes, and DISTURBED brought “Prayer”, “Liberate”, “Land of Confusion” and “Stupify” as part of the menu. When all these songs played their part, the cover of “The Sound of Silence”, which to me is the best single released by DISTURBED to date, conquered everybody’s ears. I have to admit that I don’t remember hearing so many people singing so loud, with so much passion to a song. Unbelievable. After this, things only began to be even more interesting since most of the following tracks have been my favorites since their release.
“Inside the Fire” kicked everyone in their throats with its fantastic riffs. David invited all the fans to enlighten the venue for “The Light”, which has become a very common trend in big gigs, but still amazing to watch. Going back again to the action “Stricken” took no time to move the crowds around and keep the heavier tones up, followed by one of my favorite songs, “Indestructible”.
Before putting and end to the show and the night, “Voices” served as the preparation to move forward to DISTURBED’S “Down with the Sickness”, which is not necessarily my favorite song, but it felt fantastic to hear it live after five years. Overall, the whole thing was amazing, with a very complete variation of bands with huge talent to make that Friday night a special one. I was definitely looking forward to this show since its announcement, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend and enjoy it with all the metalheads that decided to be there as well. Hopefully we get many, many more shows like this one and that all the fans are able to keep metal alive for many more generations to come.
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE