Starting off the show was Diamante. I never heard of them before, and I never got a chance to hear their stuff ahead of the show, so I didn't know what to expect. I later found out from an on-stage introduction, that Diamante is the name of the vocalist, and it turned out that she was a solo artist. One thing that was off-putting about their set was that the drums sounded too muffled. It might've been because of where I was sitting (I was sitting right at the side), but it could also be that the drums were mic'd awfully. I found Diamante's music to be a little on the bland side. It was standardized radio rock with a heavy edge. There's certainly music of that type out there that's great, but her's didn't really entice me. One thing that she forgot to do, is something that every solo artist should do, and that is give her backing band props. Since she was an opening act, she didn't have to name them off one by one, but she could've at least asked the crowd to give a round of applause to the band members. My two cents. Second up was Dorothy. Just like Diamante, I never heard their music before. Their sound was a little more in that classic bluesy rock sound, but it still did very little to entice me as an observer. I will say that Dorothy Martin has got one great set of pipes though. The other saving grace about their set was that the drums certainly sounded a lot better than during Diamante's set.
It was now time for Three Days Grace to take the stage. It goes without saying that Adam Gontier's departure from the band in 2013 has split the camps. I can remember listening to the self-titled debut album and One X a lot during my junior high and high school years, so hearing some of those songs (even though it's with a different singer now) took me back to those days. I certainly enjoy the old stuff more, but I'm not going to pick sides whether I prefer Adam or Matt Walst more. Anyways, sorry for digressing. The majority of the band's 10-song set was focused on the first three albums (which is really not surprising because those are the songs that people want to hear). Of course, songs from the last two albums with Walst were included as well. Like I said, it was a pretty big nostalgia trip to hear songs like "Home", "Pain", "Break", "Never Too Late", "I Hate Everything About You", "Animal I Have Become" and "Riot". A couple of rather cool moments that happened during their set was that they brought out 12-year-old James Walst, the son of bassist Brad Walst and nephew of Matt Walst, to play guitar on "Animal I Have Become", and Matt ran a lap in the crowd close to the end of "Riot". Did I enjoy seeing Three Days Grace after 13 years? Sure. Do I think it's different with Matt Walst on the mic? Absolutely. Would I see them again? I wouldn't say that I would go out of my way to see them at a headline show because I don't listen to them all that heavily anymore, but if they're opening on another bill that I just happen to be going to see, then I'll certainly watch them. However, I have to say that Three Days Grace gave Breaking Benjamin a little bit of a run for their money due to the audience reaction. It wasn't really that surprising because they were playing to a hometown crowd.
Closing out the night was Breaking Benjamin. As I mentioned above, this was my first time seeing them, but over the years, I heard mixed reactions regarding their live show. Some people said they put on a great show, while others say it isn't all that exciting. There were certainly moments from both sides from what I got to witness, and I will address them here. Let's highlight the good stuff first. First off, Breaking Benjamin is another one of those bands that I don't consider myself a "fan" of, but they've got some great songs that I really enjoy, and the band played a majority of those songs, like "Never Again", "So Cold", "Failure", "Angels Fall", and of course "Diary Of Jane". In the middle of the set, the band played a medley of some of rock and metal's biggest anthems. It started with the Star Wars "Imperial March", during which Ben Burnley brought a little boy who was part of the VIP side-stage viewing, to the front of the stage, and he just happened to be wearing a Stormtrooper mask. Ben then played the drum line to the theme on a drum set that had a bunch of red lightsabers taped to it. The drum line resembled Diamond Head's "Am I Evil". The medley then continued with "Cowboys From Hell", "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Enter Sandman", "Bulls On Parade", and it ended with a drum solo from Shaun Foist.
In the encore, Ben went and sang "Rain", while walking around in the floor section of the venue. He then makes another little boy's dream come true by inviting him on stage to rock with the band during "Diary Of Jane". He quickly became the center of attention during the song because everyone was cheering so loudly at him whenever he would motion them to make some noise. That is a rock star in the making, ladies and gentlemen. Watch out for him in the next 10 years, or maybe earlier. Great job to all the parents raising the next generation of rockers! Now for the slightly sour parts. Physically, the band doesn't seem all that energetic on stage. They're energetic musically, but not much physically. That kind of took away from the show a bit. Plus, Ben's voice didn't seem to be all there. I guess the slight lacking of the physical element was the biggest downside of the entire show.
In conclusion, I had a great time. It's not the best show I've seen all year by a long shot, nor would I say it was one of my favourite shows of the year. It was just a really enjoyable night out with some good rock bands, and kind of a nice trip down memory lane. Would I see Breaking Benjamin again? I can't really give a solid answer at this point. At the moment, I'm going to say "no", but could that change at some point? Most certainly. We'll see what I think in the future.
Benjamin Burnley - Lead vocals & guitars
Jasen Rauch - Lead guitars
Keith Wallen - Rhythm guitars & backing vocals
Aaron Bruch - Bass & backing vocals
Shaun Foist - Drums & percussion
Label: Hollywood Records
THREE DAYS GRACE
Matt Walst - Lead vocals & guitars
Barry Stock - Guitars
Brad Walst - Bass
Neil Sanderson - Drums & backing vocals
Label: RCA Records