Breaking Benjamin Concert Review
U.S. Cellular Coliseum
July 21, 2015
Breaking Benjamin is back.
Breaking Benjamin is a rock band from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania fronted by Benjamin Burnley. Breaking Benjamin is back from a five year hiatus. Burnley is the only remaining member of the original band. The band reformed in 2014 with new members, Aaron Bruch as bassist, Keith Wallen on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Jasen Rauch as lead guitarist, and drummer, Shaun Foist. The single “Failure” dominated charts for several weeks. The latest album Dark Before Dawn was released on June 23, 2015 and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard charts.
Fans flocked to U.S. Cellular Coliseum to see the band in its new form. Many fans were seeing Breaking Benjamin live for the first time, myself included. The venue was almost sold out. The show was on a Tuesday night and only two bands were on the bill. A show with two bands is perfect for a weeknight show as fans have to work in the mornings most weekdays. I wish more shows would follow suit.
The show was opened by Starset. They are self-described as cinematic rock. Their band has an electronic, symphonic rock sound similar to a modern Moody Blues or Pink Floyd. The band is a vision with vocalist Dustin Bates wearing a bow tie and black-rimmed glasses. He uses a transparent touchscreen that is similar to screens in the movie Minority Report. The rest of band wears mask with LED lights that change colors and spacesuits. Their stage set is flanked by LED screens. The story is the band is spreading the message by The Starset Society to “publicizing scientific discoveries which have been silenced or otherwise stolen by public or private agents.” A graphic novel is out now to explain their mission. A novel is slated for release later this year to explain the message in depth.
Starset’s set was ethereal and hypnotic. They performed songs off their album Transmissions. Their setlist contained their latest single “Halo”, “Carnivore” and their hit song “My Demons”.
Breaking Benjamin took the stage without a lot of stage props or special lighting. Their stage highlighted the band without any superfluous parts. One thing fans look for is the patch that Ben Burnley wears on his left sleeve. He has several different black button down shirts but with different patches on the sleeve. Tonight it was an Autobot symbol from Transformers. He must have be feeling like he wanted to be on the good side of the Autobot-Decepticon rivalry.
The duration of Breaking Benjamin’s set quite lengthy. We were treated to twenty-two songs including a cover medley including “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Walk”. The audience participated in many sing-alongs. The one they sang most passionately was “I Will Not Bow”.
The fans were hoping that the show would be as good as shows from the past and I think the fans were surprised by how excellent the show was. Ben Burnley’s singing was magnificent. Shaun Foist’s drumming skills were incredible on “Shallow Bay”. Aaron Bruch sang a respectable cover of “Ænema” by Tool. The show was everything we expected and more. It was a triumphant return of a band that inspires and encourages many who relate to their music.