It is about once every year that I’m anxiously hoping for a very solid and complete tour package that focuses almost entirely on rock music to hit the road and make us have a good time in Dallas. Almost none of them have the ability to prove that rock isn’t dead, it just needs to give the opportunity to young and talented bands. This year, the spot on my list for THE rock concert of the year clearly was stolen by BREAKING BENJAMIN, CHEVELLE, and THREE DAYS GRACE.
I still remember the first time I saw each one of those bands live, and I remember the great first impression that they left on me. I knew of their existence, but never really took the time to listen to any of their songs. This show took place at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, and it was going to be one for the books.
An interesting thing to highlight is that the tour itself wasn’t selling very well during the first few months after the announcement, but surprisingly (and fortunately) we showed up to a packed venue with people that were just ready to not care about going back to work the following day. I was not able to catch the start of THREE DAYS GRACE’S set, but it felt so powerful to listen to them on the way to my seat. These guys bring an incredible amount of energy in their shows, and are a great fit to warm up the fans while they do what they do best.
This band played ten awesome songs, and started off with “The Mountain” from latest album Outsider followed by “Home” and one of my favorites “The Good Life”. One of the interesting things about THREE DAYS GRACE is that their setlist is a roller coaster of intensity, with tunes like “Pain”, “Infra-Red”, “Break” and “I Hate Everything About You.” Things didn’t calm down, and most of the attendants were obviously having a great time. Closing things, “Animal I Have Become” and “Never Too Late” took care of business before saying goodbye with the adrenaline rush of “Riot”, also one of my favorites.
Moving on, I was more than ready to see CHEVELLE show us what they’ve got. It’s been three years since I had a chance to see them, and I was more than ready for another round.
Song after song. Hit after hit. Without further ado “Young Wicked” made its way through Pavilion speakers, immediately followed by “The Clincher”, which turned things much heavier. Others included “Take Out the Gunman”, “Door to Door Cannibals” and “Hats Off to the Bull”. All these with the commonality of making some fans headbang and others just watch the show uninterruptedly.
The second half of the show included some of the older, but more popular tunes like “Face to the Floor”, “Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)” (which sounded incredible), “Send the Pain Below” and “The Red”. These last two couldn’t be dropped from the set. The vibe was out of this world, the momentum hit its peak, and all came to an end with “Still Running”, followed by “I Get It.”
This is a track that I still clearly remember from the very first time I saw the band and it was the one that probably made me go all in with my exploration of their discography. So far the night was incredible. The fans had already seen great rock bands, but nobody was ready to leave yet.
After a long wait, each second was one less to witness BREAKING BENJAMIN in Dallas. The months of waiting was all worth it once the lights went off for the band to face the crowd in Texas.
The set started off with one of my favorite songs from their latest record Ember, “Red Cold River”. The blast in the face that everyone felt was just right with older stuff like “I Will Not Bow”, “Evil Angel” and “Never Again” which has become one of my favorites after listening to the setlist over and over again.
A great high note occurred when BREAKING BENJAMIN played “Breath”, which took over most of our lungs to sing as a whole family.
The band pleased their fans with way older songs like “Sugarcoat” and “Polyamorous” before entering into a ten-minute jam that featured a mix of riffs from things and bands like Star Wars’ “Imperial March”, PANTERA’S “Cowboys From Hell”, NIRVANA’S “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, QUEEN’S “Bohemian Rhapsody”, METALLICA’S “Enter Sandman”, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’S “Bulls On Parade” and a drum solo, courtesy of Shaun Foist. Talk about a good night, and we didn’t even meet half of it at this point.
Right after the long jam ended, there was no break for “Sooner or Later”, “Simple Design”, and “Blow Me Away” (along with some pyro work included) to continue the party. After this, most of my favorite songs started to pop up, starting with “So Cold”, the very first BREAKING BENJAMIN song that I heard live and made me think “WHO THE HELL IS THIS BAND AND WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN BEFORE?”
Moving on, “Angels Fall” and “Failure” from Dark Before Dawn took over my voice and some hundred others’ as well. Before the encore, “Dance With The Devil” was played and I was also sold with the entire performance for those minutes. It’s amazing how the power of live music feels. “Torn in Two” left us all wanting more from the band. Everything had already been great, and we were all ready to end things on a high note.
After the main set, Burnley came out to say a few words, tell some stories and just have a good intimate moment with the fans before he decided to come to the pit section and sing “Rain”. This moment is exactly what I love from band members: connection with their crowd and humbleness.
It was definitely a highlight for me to have the lead singer of one of my favorite rock bands just walking close by and giving this experience to the fans. As the clock kept ticking, “The Diary of Jane” just had to close the best rock show of the year.
After all the time spent in the venue, there was not a single second where the energy felt low. Even when the bands were transitioning to take over the stage, the energy and excitement that the fans had to see their favorite artists was amazing. I wish that more of these tours had such success as the scene will need different headliners for music festivals very soon. The talent is out there, all that is needed is continuing support, and it will be very hard to say “No” after a single taste of live music from any of these bands.
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN/GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE