Rock was alive and well in Bristow, VA Thursday evening as Breaking Benjamin’s summer tour swept through the area. With big name acts, such as Three Days Grace and Chevelle, joining the lineup, as well as newer acts, Diamante and Dorothy, opening up the night, the night was filled with reminders that rock is not dead.
Starting off the night was Diamante, a solo artist whose career skyrocketed after her collaboration with Bad Wolves on the well-received single “Hear Me Now.” Her vibrant blue hair is memorable for sure, but not nearly as much as her killer vocals and stage presence; she knows how to work a room, no matter the size. As she owned the amphitheater’s stage, Diamante’s short, but intense set drew captivated the concert goers present. Although it was still early in the evening, and rush hour traffic kept numerous ticket holders away for the early portion of the evening, those in attendance for Diamante’s performance were not disappointed. With her debut album out for a little over a year, Diamante is one to watch.
Speaking of one to watch, following Diamante’s set was hard rock band, Dorothy. Having formed in 2014 and fronted by vocalist Dorothy Martin, this band brings all the feels and vibes of southern California in the way of hard and blues rock. Starting off her set with her 2014 single “After Midnight,” concert goers could be seen swaying back and forth with their devil horns high in the air. Dorothy’s voice is hypnotic, it’s hard to restrain yourself from doing the same as these concert goers. Much like Diamante’s set, Dorothy’s was relatively short and left everyone wanting more.
Three Days Grace is a name that has been on the rock scene for several decades, with many fans arguing who has the better vocals: former lead vocalist Adam Gontier or current lead vocalist Matt Walst. Nevertheless, this band turned up the energy levels of the audience up to eleven. The pit was completely filled with concert goers before Three Days Grace even began; once the lights went out, and the promise of the band soon emerging became evident, cheers erupted from every corner of the amphitheater. Once the music kicked in for their hit single “The Mountain,” fans were throwing horns and crowd surfing almost immediately. It was pretty entertaining at one point though, as Matt attempted to start a chant for “Three! Days! Grace!” but some fans heard “U!S!A!” and chanted that instead. Hey, whatever works, right? Among the headbanging hits, lighters and cell phone flashlights were raised high in the air during “Never Too Late,” before closing out the set with circle pit inducing “Riot.” The crowd was left wild.
Next on the docket was Illinois rock band, Chevelle. Although this band rocks hard, they were tame compared to the rioting Three Days Grace. Having been around for several decades with the continuous comparison to Tool, Chevelle have made quite the name for themselves and know how to get a crowd headbanging. With hits, such as “The Red,” “Send the Pain Below,” and “Vitamin R,” coursing through the night, Chevelle brought a heavier, yet also calmer atmosphere to the crowd. Even with a storm brewing overhead, Chevelle played on, much louder than any thunder.
Finally, the headliner of the evening emerged from the darkness to the roars and cheers of the crowd. Starting off as just silhouettes behind a large sheet, the sounds of Breaking Benjamin’s “Red Cold River” cut through the silence of the darkness that fell over the patient crowd. It’s well known that the lighting of Breaking Benjamin’s set is always pretty dark, making it sometimes difficult to see the members. Although the stage was still dark compared to other bands’ lighting, something was different about this group this tour. Not only was the lighting better (not fantastic, but better!), but the members were far more engaged with the crowd as they made use of the entire stage. In tours past, members of Breaking Benjamin were pretty sedentary during the entire set. Not this time. This time, all members played the stage, performing for the crowd…not at them. During their set, Breaking Benjamin played numerous hits, such as “I Will Not Bow,” “Sooner or Later,” and “So Cold.” Their famous musical mashup was included halfway through the performance, beginning with the Imperial March and leading up to the grand drum solo. Of course, what Breaking Benjamin performance is complete without “The Diary of Jane”? None, which is why the ended with their most famous hit. The night came to a rowdy end as everyone tried to find their place in the diary of Jane.
Needless to say, this is a tour not to be missed. With such a variety of acts, both well-known and up-and-coming, there is something for everyone on this tour. Remaining tour dates go through September 25 ending in Salt Lake City, UT. Head on over to www.breakingbenjamin.com to see remaining tour dates – this is a tour you do not want to miss out on.
Photos and Review by Gretchen Smither
Three Days Grace