GIG REVIEW: Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Alter Bridge & Saint Asonia Live At Molson Amphitheater, Toronto
Disturbed and friends pulled into Toronto’s Molson Amphitheater for an evening of rock music beside the lake on Monday August 8th. After a few years on hiatus, and now a new album to promote, the Chicago-based Disturbed has hit the road, touring with a heavyweight complement of friends: Saint Asonia, Alter Bridge, and co-headliner Breaking Benjamin. Although a hot and humid day, a nice breeze was coming in off the lake as the crowd filled fast, and things got underway.
Saint Asonia, comprised of members already established from other successful bands, started the show off. Adam Gontier, formerly of Three Days Grace, held the crowd’s full attention, while offering a selection of songs from Saint Asonia’s debut album (self titled), as well as performing a couple of Three Days Grace classics as well. The rest of the band are Mike Mushok (Staind) on guitar, Rich Beddoe (Finger Eleven) on drums, and Corey Lowery (Eye Empire) on bass. I was lucky enough to see their debut performance at Rock on The Range 2015, and they are getting better with each performance. In Adam’s words, they aren’t a supergroup, they’re refugees that get along creatively. They’ve signed a multi-album deal, so you can expect them to be a force to be reckoned with for a long time to come.
Alter Bridge, formed in 2004 in Orlando Florida, took to the stage next. Featuring former Creed members Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall, and Scott Phillips, as well as vocal powerhouse Myles Kennedy, they are acclaimed far and wide for their live performances. Myles is a dynamic and engaging front man, along with a vocal range matched by few. He isn’t able to move around the stage much, as he has to play guitar as well as sing, but Tremonti and Marshall line up with him often, partly for fans’ photo ops, but also just to have a great time doing what they enjoy. The Toronto crowd was treated to a great set, featuring “Come To Life”, “Blackbird”, and “Rise Today”, among others. Be sure to get out and see Alter Bridge if they play a town near you, as well as pick up their new album, expected later this year!
Co-headliners Breaking Benjamin hit the stage, performing “So Cold”, followed by a collection of their hits including “Breath”, “Blow Me Away”, and “The Diary of Jane”. Although disbanding and reforming with several different members over the years, Breaking Benjamin is on top of their game with this lineup. Singer Ben Burnley is a captivating and engaging front man, although I think there were some technical issues on this night, as I heard a lot of complaints that the vocals were hard to hear over the music. They also incorporate a visual aspect to their show with fog cannons and a variety of blue and red mood lighting.
The lights dimmed, and the sold-out crowd prepared for the treat that was to come. David Draiman took command of the stage, as band mates Dan Donegan, John Moyer, and Mike Wengren took their spots behind and beside him, and opened with their hit “Ten Thousand Fists”. Vocally, David is on top of his game. You may as well be listening to the cd at home, as it’s hard to hear any differences at all. Added to this, Disturbed uses an array of huge pyrotechnic effects that make their show larger than life. The excited crowd sang along word for word, through a set filled with an array of songs from their recent release, ‘Immortalized’, as well as old classics like “Stupify” and “Down With The Sickness”. A highlight for me was hearing a live performance of the Simon and Garfunkel hit “The Sound Of Silence”, which I believe sounded better live than it did even on their recording. Between the fire, the horns and fists in the air, and the incredible live show that Disturbed delivers, make sure you see them if they play near you! You won’t be disappointed.