Disturbed at Madison Square Garden
Disturbed has come a long way from releasing The Sickness in 2000 to their newest album Evolution nearly two decades later. As if their tours after their long hiatus wasn’t enough, they now headline Madison Square Garden, the venue that housed Guns N Roses, Black Sabbath and some of the greatest legacy rock bands. Disturbed came in with their guns loaded with an incredible setlist of both their older material and their newest stuff off of Evolution. Disturbed packing out Madison Square Garden goes to show the rock and metal is anything but dead.
First we get the opening act, Three Days Grace. Many die hard Disturbed fans have appreciated Three Days Grace, so it was a perfect package. Opening up with The Mountain, they came in full swing and it didn’t take much to get the audience moving. Of course, we have to hear some of the classics such as Home, The Good Life and I Hate Everything About You. Even with a different vocalist, Matt Walst performed them perfectly with the range of Adam, but at the same time, made them his own. I never would of thought after hearing him in the My Darkest Days era that he would be able to hit the notes of Adam. This was not just a typical “opening slot”. Three Days Grace got the whole venue involved with moshing, crowdsurfers and when they played Never Too Late, there were lighters and cell phone lights as far as the I can see. The venue lit up both physically and metaphorically. Three Days Grace pulled no punches.
After a quick intermission, the lights dimmed and we get Disturbed. Before they came on, the buildup they gave was remarkable. “The Sickness is the cure”, “Every Fist has a Voice” “We are all indestructible”. As we stared at that screen, we were not just entering concert, we were entering a new dimension, an environment and an atmosphere. The hairs on the arms of those fists were standing up as high as the audience, and then we finally here, Are you Ready. Mike jumped behind the kit and then John, Dan and David all came out swinging. After that we get a classic song such as Prayer. From an aggressive song that does not let go, to an anthem that hit our hearts. Once The Vengeful One Kicked in, we get full taste of the production, because the stage practically went down in history but up in flames when the pyro was unleashed behind the kit.
David Draiman did have to give some of us crazy New Yorkers a bit of lecture on respect in the pit. Being that we had already over dozens of crowdsurfers over the barriers (God bless the security and photographer’s souls) it didn’t surprise me. Great on David for making sure that everyone was ok. Next we get some classics such as Stupify and Voices. In between those two songs, we get a full jam session of Dan, John and Mike. Its this moment where you see just how technically impressive the band is with their instruments and their stage presence. There was plenty of respect in the pit at this point. After a beautiful solo intro of Land of Confusion, they kick in with it full force with amazing audience participation singing the backups.
We get another new song and our first take of the acoustic portion of the show next. It was a great way for the audience to catch their breaths. Hold On to Memories is played and in the back of the screen we get some photos of the band from over the years to see how far they have come. That’s one way to make the audience feel old, but thankful that Disturbed has remained all of these years. Afterwards we get a full bass solo from John and a full Drum solo from Mike. John’s bass solo was eerie and emotional. It made the environment we were in unsettling and mysterious, and then when Mike hit the drums full force, it made everyone jump up out of their seats. Then David and Dan would return to the seats and we hear SURVIVOR and Boom!!!! Right into Ten Thousand Fists. With the audience jumping up and down, it was more like Ten Thousand Bodies.
After another classic, The Game, that is when we get a touch of reality and a chilling turn of atmosphere. Unfortunately it was something that needed to be said since these 4 individuals lost some very talented friends. The screen offers a public service announcement, showing the harsh reality of addiction and depression. This was a somber, but necessary moment in this show. “Our world is plagued by an epidemic, a disease that has no mercy.” We joined in a moment of silence for those who have lost this battle. This is how a musician is able to relate to those who are struggling. That is when the band would end up in the middle of the audience to further show this and be there for the audience. After playing “A Reason to Fight”, they further demonstrated their support of those in need when David asked the audience how many of us have struggled with these demons. Seeing so many raise their hands, there is no doubt that people were saved that night to see that in this moment of release at their show, that they will not be alone when they exit the venue. After another new song, Watch you Burn, they returned to the main stage for their classic cover of The Sound of Silence. These moments were a moment of tenderness and unity that only can be experienced at a rock concert.
As the concert comes to end they come out in their army uniforms paying respects to the troops like they always do and kick into Indestructible. Things then would get pretty damn hot (literally) when they kicked into Inside the Fire. After the signature evil laugh of David Draiman fire reigns down from above and rises from below. This further immersed us into the realm of Disturbed. They would step off stage for a brief moment before returning for an epic encore.
A moment of humor arrived when David brought up one of his old Twitter buddies on stage. The Inquisitive as they call him to sit in front of the drums for The Light. Once those lines from the chorus kicked in, just about every lighter and cellphone light lit up and shined the whole venue. No concert lights would have been needed in that moment. I can only imagine how many followers The Inquisitive got after that moment. Followed by Stricken and one more new song No More to end things on a heavy note. Last but not least, we get the famous Double Bass beat and the noise that shook the world in 2000. OH WAH AH AH AH. We all came Down with the Sickness.
The warming of hearts did not end once that final line hit. All four members had their families present for a big moment of any rockstar’s dream. Their family joined them on stage and assisted the band in throwing picks, sticks ect to the audience. Anyone who was left unmelted from the pyro was definitely melted after such a sweet moment seeing these kids hug their daddies on stage.
Disturbed creates more than a concert when you see them. They create an atmosphere, an environment, a release that you will not find elsewhere. As someone who attends over 300 shows a year, I can tell you that there was not one moment I looked away from that stage. The Sickness was the cure that night. Every fist did have a voice. Everyone was Indestructible. Seeing Disturbed Evolve so much, Evolution could not have been a more appropriate title for their new album. From an epic performance on a technical level, with the power of David’s voice, the shredding of Dan’s guitar, the haunting of John’s bass to the aggression of Mike’s drums, to the interaction with the audience, to the world we are immersed in the second those lights dimmed, We all are brothers, sisters and blood. We all are Disturbed