The night before setting sail on the high seas with the Shiprocked Cruise, Breaking Benjamin gave a bon voyage and brought their A-game with them to their sold-out performance at Orlando’s House of Blues. At 9 p.m., the crowd was restless and ready to rock out to one of the greatest rock bands of our generation. Minutes later, the lights went dim; guitarist Keith Wallen could be heard playing the opening chords to “So Cold.” Slowly, the song began to build up, eventually reaching the breaking point. Suddenly, bursts of smoke began to shoot into the air while lights flashed in synchronization to Shaun Foist’s drumming. As the song’s energy began to calm down, frontman Benjamin Burnley joined the band on stage, urging the crowd to “sing together [with the band] all night long,” leading the crowd to along during the chorus of every song performed during the night.
During their performance, Burnley’s vocals were so amazing, it was as if you were listening to the in-studio recording of an album. Every scream and note were hit perfectly. Guitarists Jasen Rauch and Wallen contributed their vocals to songs throughout the night, with Rauch taking the lead vocals for “Simple Design” and “Evil Angel,” while Wallen sang lead for “Believe.” Despite the fact that neither musician recorded vocals for the tracks when they were originally released, it would be surprising if you mistook their voice for Burnley’s.
During their set, Burnley also helped the crowd embrace their geek side when the band performed the Halo 2 theme song “Blow Me Away.” Afterward, the band performed a cover of the Star Wars films’ “Imperial March.” Burnley took out a red lightsaber and exclaimed, “This next song goes out to the Empire and Lord Vader!” For the non-geeks in the audience, the band played a few short snippets of well-known songs, including Pantera’s “Walk,” and Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.” These cover choices were surprising but were an excellent way to get the crowd hyped.
Whether you’ve been a fan from the beginning or recently discovered them, there was a little bit for everyone. Throughout the night, the band played songs mostly from their albums Phobia, We Are Not Alone, and their most recent album, Dark Before Dawn,, including the defiant anthem “Never Again,” the old fan-favorite “Polyamorous,” and unapologetic “I Will Not Bow.”
As the band prepared to wrap up their performance, Burnley announced to the crowd that the band is currently in the middle of working on their next album and that they look forward to before closing the show with “Diary of Jane.”
Opening for Breaking Benjamin was Wilson. Wilson’s performance was reminiscent of major rock acts from the ’90s and ’00s. They performed an electrifying 10 song set, which included their songs “Right to Rise,” “The Flood,” and an intense cover of AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
If you get the chance to catch Breaking Benjamin in concert, you won’t be disappointed at all. Longtime fans will be blown away by their performance, while those unfamiliar with their work will sooner or later be entranced by their epic riffs and will surely be singing along to their songs by the end of the night.
Breaking Benjamin Live Review by James Strassberger, edited by Matthew Weller.
Breaking Benjamin Live Photos by Jenn Ross.