As I gassed up my Jeep it occurred to me that this was my 5th show in Tampa in the last 3 weeks. Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to limit my travel due to the sky-high gas prices and it’s a well- known fact that a trip from Orlando to Tampa can go from 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours in a heartbeat. With that said, I navigated my gas-guzzling Rubicon onto the I-4 gauntlet and hoped for the best. 3 hours later I pulled into the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, and I realized it was totally worth it. Disturbed was headlining tonight’s event and when it comes to live performances it would be difficult to find a band that sets the bar higher.
Kicking things off at 6:30pm was Keith Wallen, who in addition to his solo project, is also the rhythm guitarist for Breaking Benjamin, who was slated to go on next. Joining Wallen was Lucio Rubino on guitar, Mike Warren (guitar/bass tech for Breaking Benjamin) on bass, and Shaun Foist (Breaking Benjamin drummer) on drums. Braving the high temps, Wallen and company delivered a spirited 30-minute set that had the early birds on their feet. Filling in for Jinjer, who had to briefly leave the tour for an appearance at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany, Wallen proved up to the task of setting the tempo for the evening.
Keith Wallen: Lead Vocals, Guitar
Lucio Rubino: Guitar
Mike Warren: Bass
Shaun Foist: Drums
With the arrival of 7:30pm came my 2nd opportunity to cover Breaking Benjamin. Even though the 1st time was an outdoor show 4 months ago, I’m pretty sure that today was hotter. The curtain dropped to the sound of 2015’s “Failure.” On deck was 2006’s “Breath,” one of my favorites. Founding member and vocalist, Benjamin Burnley was front and center flanked by 2 large ventilation tubes used for pumping out cold air. I was told that it was cold air, but unfortunately none made it into the pit so I’ll have to take their word on it. Wallen had time to change, but probably not much more.
Songs like “Blow Me Away,” and “So Cold” sounded great live. Burnley ventured out to the edge of the stage several times to play to the crowd and also took time to jam with Wallen. Guitarist Jasen Rauch and bassist Aaron Bruch frequently alternated their positions, giving the crowd a chance to see them both. Two epic classics, “I Will Not Bow,” and “The Diary of Jane,” closed things out. With a respectable 1-hour set time, the band pumped out 13 songs that had the fans begging for more. Until next time, follow the band online (links at bottom).
Benjamin Burnley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Jasen Rauch – Lead Guitar
Keith Wallen – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Aaron Bruch – Bass, Backing Vocals
Shaun Foist – Drums, Percussion
3.Until The End
4.Red Cold River
6.Blow Me Away
9.Sooner or Later
11.Dance With the Devil
12.I Will Not Bow
13. The Diary of Jane
At 8:45pm we headed to the pit and the excitement and anticipation burning its way through the crowd was palpable. Little did I know that my idea of hot was about to be redefined. As the house lights went dark,the large translucent stage curtain lit up with alternating colors. Silhouettes of the band members also appeared and with a shout of “Hey You” from vocalist David Draiman, the curtain dropped to reveal the band playing last year’s “Hey You” amidst rows and layers of fire.
“Stupify” was next and included several synchronized jumps by guitarist Dan Donegan and bassist John Moyer. Singer David Draiman glared out into the crowd while wearing his signature black duster. Draiman yelled “survival” and the band exploded into 2005’s “Ten Thousand Fists.” As hot as it was in the pit, drummer Mike Wengren must have felt like Hades, as his kit was encompassed by flames. My favorite song, “Are You Ready,” saw the stage go from green strobes into an exploding firestorm with sparks raining down from above.
The performance included several cover songs including Genesis‘ “Land of Confusion,” and the highly popular “The Sound of Silence,” the latter of which had a flaming piano and a blazing rainbow-shaped arc of fire. The rendition of “A Reason to Fight” was proceeded by an emotional support video and the heartfelt performance brought Draiman to tears. The set also allowed each member to shine, as guitar, drums and bass solos were included.
After thoroughly thrashing fans with 17 songs, it was time for the encore. “Unstoppable” had the entire venue on their feet and it was quickly followed by the slow, grinding melody that led into the mega-hit “Down with the Sickness.” This was the song that first introduced me to the band and Draiman’s signature screeches back in 2000. The final song of the night was “Inside the Fire” and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate choice given the incendiary nature of the performance. Tonight’s show will definitely go down as one of the best shows I’ve covered to date. There are still plenty of dates left on the tour, so do yourself a favor and check it out.
3.Ten Thousand Fists
5.Are You Ready
7.A Reason to Fight
9.Land Of Confusion (Genesis cover)
13.The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
19.Down with the Sickness
20.Inside the Fire
Follow Keith Wallen Online:
Follow Breaking Benjamin Online:
Follow Disturbed online:
I’ve had a love for photography since I was young. Whether it was a Polaroid or a Kodak 110, I was always the kid with the camera. My love of music goes back even further. Nothing beats being at a show when those lights go down and the crowd goes nuts.