For my second bit of musical therapy to kick off 2019 I headed over to Wells Fargo Center to catch the Philly stop of DISTURBED’S Evolution Tour. One thing I will say about this band; whether or not the album they’re touring in support of is a home run or not, live they always bring the fucking ruckus and thunder. And that’s why I see them every chance I get. As an added bit o’fun THREE DAYS GRACE was direct support. I hadn’t seen them since 2004, and I am a big Matt Walst fan, so I was looking forward to hear him sing not only tunes from their latest record Outsider, but also put his stamp on the signature ones.
Chris Minor from Rockview Live was our photographer and also driver because well, I hate driving to Philly with every fiber of my being. After a rather long wait for our photo pass (during which time I made a new friend in the lovely and talented Estelle, owner of COUCOU Photography, who was covering the show for Madhouse Magazine), I headed over to what can only be described as an amazing seat in the front row of section 113. I didn’t have to wait very long before THREE DAYS GRACE took the stage with vim and vigor, opening with new song “The Mountain.” Great way to kick things off, then “Home” hit us, Walst owning it, proving once again that he truly belongs in this band.
Other set highlights included “Pain” “Infra-Red”, and “Right Left Wrong”, the last two from the new disc as well. “Infra-Red” is probably my favorite from that record, and it sounded awesome. And for the last few songs it was a trip down memory lane starting with “I Hate Everything About You”, which again Walst nailed beautifully. “Animal I Have Become”, “Never Too Late”, and “Riot” closed us out with a triple play from One-X. The fans ate it up like candy, and I was glad the guys put on such a great set. They are extremely energetic live and I’d see them again for sure.
Now it was DISTURBED time!! After the house lights went down and the video montage ended, out came the band with “Are You Ready” from latest release Evolution. Man alive, these guys were fired up from the very first note. Behind lead singer David Draiman, the band attacked their gang vocals of, “ARE YOU READY!!” with a vengeance. Guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer, and drummer Mike Wengren all looked and sounded like thoroughbreds at the starting bell, while Draiman himself gave a commanding performance and masterful vocal. And holy shit, Donegan and Moyer were getting all kinds of air, not just during this tune, but all night long!
“Prayer”, “The Vengeful One”, “The Animal”, and “Stupify” served to simply take the intensity level up a hundred degrees, as Draiman made some very eloquent points about the world we live in and life in general between certain songs. “Voices” was one of my favorites of the night as was their world-beating cover of GENESIS’ “Land of Confusion.” Things slowed down for “Hold on to Memories”, which featured a montage of photos from the band, their friends, fans, and families. It was tastefully done, and only made the song that much more powerful in the moment.
Now it was finally time for my anthem, “Ten Thousand Fists”!! Easily a Top 5 DISTURBED song for me, I always lose my shit when they play it live, and this night was no exception. This bled right into “The Game”, yet another classic, and I screamed even more. At the other end of the arena was a smaller, stripped-down stage where the band went to do some acoustic stuff like “A Reason to Fight”, which is a song that urges those who are feeling suicidal to please, please seek help. Draiman took to the mic to say that he is tired of watching his friends die, and that we have all learned of the death of a friend or loved one and thought to ourselves, “I could have done more.” He’s 100% right.
Another powerful moment came when he asked us to, “Raise your hand if you, or someone you know has been affected by addiction.” A lot of hands went up, but quite frankly EVERY hand should have been up. Still, it was one of those real things and I’m glad I was there for it. “Watch You Burn” sounded amazing, then the guys made their way (through the crowd!) back to the main stage where they would perform “The Sound of Silence.” We all know how great their version is, but on this night it made the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand on end. David sounded more inspired than ever, and it was truly a thing of beauty to witness. Annie Atlasman captured some real magic, and I can’t thank her enough for the photos.
“Indestructible” and “Inside the Fire” closed out the main set before encores “The Light (another favorite!), with fans on the stage, then “Stricken”, “No More”, and “Down With the Sickness” brought the evening to a close. Once again DISTURBED came to town, and once again they kicked the living shit out of those in attendance. These four men look, sound, and play like a band 15 years younger, and they are clearly on a mission to bring the best live metal show they can to each and every person who bought a ticket. In 18 years of being a fan and seeing the boys live four times, THIS was the best I’ve ever seen them. Amazing music with a message we can all get behind, thank you DISTURBED for a remarkable evening!!
LIVE IMAGES: ANNIE ATLASMAN PHOTOGRAPHY/ROCKVIEW LIVE
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO