For almost 20 years, Disturbed has decimated radios and stages across the world bringing fans together to unite, mosh and to give them a chance to hear that famous ” ooh ah ah ah!”. Their debut album Down With The Sickness changed the game and set the band apart from the competition. Between the unique vocal style of singer David Draiman and the riff machine that is Dan Donegan, they had left their mark and started their ascension to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world.
Over the course of the bands seven albums, you can hear how one record progresses from the previous and how they all manage to be fresh and original. A big part of being a successful band is having not only the talent and drive, but also having the ability to transform yourself and your music, to constantly find ways to reinvent and to evolve. Welcome to the Evolution that is Disturbed!
As the bands intro video plays on the wall of LED displays, it depicts a small visual/audio evolution of the band with “When Music Is The Weapon…” and the title of an album or song worked in to complete the phrase. After the five minute intro gets the building rocking, the stage lights start to strobe on and off as the beginning of “Are You Ready?” start to echo through the PA. As if it couldn’t get any louder, when Mike Wengren, Dan Donegan, John Moyer and David Dariman take the stage, the volume elevates to a point where you can barely hear the track playing. And then you hear that familiar voice yell “GET UP, GET UP!”. It was a sight to see thousands of people jumping up and down at the same time as Disturbed commands the stage.
The first half of the show was packed with classic tunes including “Stupify”, “Vengeful One” and “Voices” as well as an explosive guitar solo by Dan Donegan. The band then slows it down a bit with the acoustic “Hold Onto Memories” as the photo memories float on the display behind them that span back to the very early days of the band, but if you were fast enough to catch it, there was a couple photos of the band with with our metal angels Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. John Moyer and Mike Wengren pick the pace back up and try out out do Donegan with impressive solos of their own. Followed up by the heavy hitting “The Game” off their first album and the hit single from the bands newest album Evolution with “No More”.
Being a public figure in any outlet gives you a bigger platform to have your voice heard and bring attention to important issues. Disturbed has been advocates for helping those with addiction and mental health, even giving fans a chance to tell their stories as a part of the music video for the ballad “A Reason To Fight”. As David Draiman speaks to the crowd, the hotline for National Addiction and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are displayed for all to see and use if they need it. He reflects on the battles of people close to the band and even the band members themselves who have delt with these issues and made it perfectly clear to all in attendance, that “you are not alone”.
Draiman calls out the names of those that we have lost to suicide or addiction including Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Paul Grey, Keith Flint, Scott Weiland and Wayne Static. And to prove a point that addiction and suicide has no prejudiced, he has the house lights to come on and then asks the crowd ” By a show of hands, who has dealt with the demons of addiction or depression or know someone that has?”. I witnessed almost an entire arena raise their hands and I truly think that the time Disturbed took to acknowledge this with their fans, will help people in that building through some of the toughest times in their lives.
A full acoustic setup is then brought on stage, setting up for the band to play to “A Reason To Fight”. After the song ends, the light go dim and the crew pulls a piano onto the stage, which is a trigger for the fans as they know “Sound Of Silence” is next on the setlist. Not only does this give David Draiman the spotlight to show off his incredible vocal range, but also Dan Donegan’s talents on the black and whites. Even with it’s somber ambiance, Disturbed found a way to still keep it metal by having fire emerge from the piano itself.
As the arena is in total blackness, the sound of fighter jets, helicopters and air raid sirens begin to sound. As it all comes to a peak, the band stands on stage in desert camo jackets and complete with drone visuals for the crushing “Indestructible”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get heavier, “Inside The Fire” is greeted by thousands of head banging fans. This would be the pyrotechnic grand finale of the show with not only the fire balls shooting off behind the drum kit or the posts the would ignite, but ropes of fire drop from the lighting rig above just as Dan Donegan breaks into the virtuous guitar solo.
While the stage is being broken down, the front man takes the time to read a letter written to him by a fan and at which point he calls the fans name out and tells him to “Come on up here”. After he makes it on stage, Draiman proceeds to read the letter out loud, detailing how the bands music has helped with through the passing of his father to suicide. After the letter is read, the fan is asked to watch the “The Light” from the drum riser. The other members of the band made him feel right at home by taking selfies and fist pumping right up until the song started.
After the two song encore concludes, the fans here the drum beat they’ve waited all night to hear which would be the opening of “Down With The Sickness”. Hearing this song takes me back to the first time I had seen the band way back at Ozzfest 2000 while promoting their debut album. If you look back at the other names on that second stage, only Soulfly and our friends from Chicago are still out here making it happen after all this time. These guys show no sign of slowing down and we thank them greatly for it. If this tour is any indicator of the future of this band, it will be heavy, original, intense and VERY Disturbed!