By Beth McCallister Nov 15, 2015
In a world that is often confusing, violent and uncertain, a Breaking Benjamin show can be a powerful antidote. Life isn’t always easy in Youngstown either, so after a long work week area fans showed up in force and ready to rock out in the Covelli Center on Saturday, November 7th. The show sold out and there were few spots left even for VIP or media to get in. In speaking with fans it was evident many were from out of the area and drove for hours from cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh which were not on the tour schedule.
Not a single seat appeared to be empty as frontman Benjamin Burnley, clad all in black as is customary to his style, took the platform with his fellow band members. Benjamin has the stage presence of a rock and roll super hero with his tall frame and Clark Kent like dark hair. His vocals were fantastic and spot on throughout the night. One of his greatest talents is that he can project the emotion of his lyrics in a way that few can. Many lead singers have a stage presence that seem overly practiced and superficial at times. But not Benjamin. He transcends stage theatrics with an honest passion that draws the crowd into the performance in a very intimate way. When the tempo slows down, Benjamin’s voice can pierce your soul like an arrow as in Ashes of Eden which he performed about half way through the set.
Benjamin admitted to the Youngstown Vindicator that he’s a big Star Wars fan and worked in a plug for the upcoming Star Wars movie. Apparently no life form in the galaxy is safe from the cross promotional efforts of the Disney Corporation. A few of the other cover songs that were pieced together were Schism by Tool, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, which is Benjamin’s favorite band and admired influence, and then they wrapped it up with Walk by Pantera.
Later in the performance there was a slight delay while some equipment was being checked and a female fan close to the stage got over-heated and passed out. Benjamin’s genuine concern for his fans and heroic attitude kicked into high gear as he directed first aid efforts from the front of the stage. He had water brought down from his crew for her and directed fans to clear space for her which was no easy task with so many people packed tightly in and against the security gates. While being carried out she held her hand up as high as she could with the rock and roll sign to let everyone know she would be ok.
During Give Me A Sign Benjamin asked for all the lights in the entire auditorium to be turned off blacking out all ability to see. He then told everyone who had a cell phone to shine their lights in the air. He went on to empower the mass of people explaining how important each and everyone was to the world and without them we would all be in darkness but with the light of each other we could never be lost.
The last song The Diary of Jane was bittersweet but Ben wanted to thank all his fans and asked if anyone had ever had the dream to be up on stage in front of a huge fan following. He then started to point to overjoyed individuals who had raised their hands in answer to his question. He scanned the crowd looking for enthusiastic people to share the spotlight with and was heard saying “Absolutely” to as many as he could safely fit on the set. They all lined up facing the hoard of followers ecstatic to be so close to their idol unable to believe what was happening. One such fan, a wild red head, couldn’t contain herself and after hugging and refusing to let go “But I don’t want to” she was heard saying. Ben smiled and wiggled away since he was after all trying to sing a phenomenal ending number for us.
Breaking Benjamin’s current band members have been hand selected by Ben himself and he is pleased with the assembled artists since they were all reportedly friends of his that could help with back up vocals as well as meticulously rock out to the powerful riffs and hard hitting drums that could be felt in your chest. With Aaron Bruch on bass and back up vocals, guitarist and back up vocalist Keith Wallen, lead guitarist Jasen Rauch, and drummer Shaun Foist the band is a force to be reckoned with. Their lastest album Dark Before Dawn is the fifth one to be release and hit the shelves just this past summer.