Sunday, May 8, 2016

Concert Review: Disturbed @ Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham, Alabama 05/04/16

After taking a few years off, the band Disturbed did a show in Birmingham, AL this past March.  The show sold out before I could get tickets.  Last Wednesday night, between hearing some of the band's biggest hits along with some stunning covers, I got to see exactly why the earlier spring show sold out so quickly.

 Disturbed are from Chicago, Illinois and consists of lead singer David Draiman, bassist John Moyer, guitarist Dan Donegan, and drummer Mike Wengren.  The band is currently on a spring tour in support of their 2015 album Immortalized, their first album in 5 years.  The band is currently touring Southern states with Pop Evil, Sixx A.M.,

and Rob Zombie.

Although I listen to Disturbed, I had never seen the band perform a live concert before Wednesday night so I had no idea what to expect.  I went in with high hopes of a great, loud, heavy show and that's exactly what I got, in spades.  What I didn't expect was an almost reverent experience celebrating the dark, tangled spaces inside each of us, not being ashamed of those places but embracing them.

Warner Brothers Records granted the blog a ticket and a photo pass for the show so I couldn't have been any closer to the stage than I was when the band came onstage.  I was right underneath the band, able to shoot from any angle.  David was dressed in black pants, black shirt, long, black overcoat, and black boots.  He almost looked clerical but like no cleric you would want to baptize your child.  The rest of the band looked pretty normal, if you consider "normal" as typical rock star attire.

David's booming voice opened up the show with the band's hit "Ten Thousand Fists" and didn't stop or falter all the way through the very heavy set of 14 songs, 17 if you count the cover montage they did (I'll get to that epic cover montage in a bit).  Taking a break from the hard stuff and showing off not only David's undeniable talent but the band's versatility in more classical instruments, Disturbed performed their most recent hit "Sound Of Silence".  Their cover of the old Simon & Garfunkel tune was a highlight of the night for me, even though my husband has worn me out on the song by playing it every single time we're in a vehicle together.  David's voice is every bit as good live as it is in the recorded version and I actually felt humbled to hear the song live.  Here's a fan video of the exact performance I got to see.

The other highlight of the night for me, eclipsing "Sound Of Silence", was the epic cover montage Disturbed did.  David introduced the cover segment with "This one's for the ladies" before assaulting every sense we had with Nine Inch Nails' "Closer", U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", The Who's "Baba O'Riley", and last but certainly not least in my book, Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name Of".  They absolutely made every cover their bitch and I wish the band would release THOSE covers.

Press can only take pictures for the first three songs of a concert so after I exited the photo pit, I sat alone in the seat that Warner Brothers Records had provided.  I was to the right of the stage in the first tier, calmly observing and taking notes on my phone like the good, objective music blogger I am until David said "I expect to see each and every one of you jumping the fuck up and down" right before the band shredded through "Killing In The Name Of".  You can hear in the video below as they're starting up, one guy in the crowd said, "REALLY?".  It was surreal yet totally fitting that the band was covering that song and they made it their own, killing it and the crowd.  Dan Donegan masterfully made his guitar make sounds I didn't know were possible to render from a normal guitar.  I was gone.  I put my phone away and joined in my section's jumping, screaming, fist pumping, scene of total chaotic rebellion.

The band didn't give the crowd a break as they finished up the regular set with "Indestructable".  The band left the stage only briefly before coming back for the two finale songs, "Voices" and lastly the band's most famous angry song "Down With The Sickness".  David introduced "Down With The Sickness" by saying, "We've played this area many, many times, and it's always been very, very obvious that each and every one of you are infected with the sickness!"  Every word, every furious rant from the recorded version, was exactly what David sang/yelled onstage that night, not a word missed.

As the stage hands took instruments from the band, I started walking up the stairs toward the back of the venue but David wasn't done yet.  A very high dude stopped me to pet my shoulder affectionately but it wasn't creepy at all, surprisingly.  It was from this perch with High Dude that I watched the band take a selfie with the crowd in the background.

I started walking up the steps a second time, only to be interrupted by David's deep voice once again. Apparently, I was about to miss a very important Disturbed concert ritual.  I stood in awe as most of the crowd knew exactly what to do when he started an almost religious sounding chant by asking "We are?" The Disturbed fans in the crowd yelled back, "DISTURBED!"  The chant went on a few times, back and forth, climaxing with David and the crowd simultaneously and emphatically declaring, "WE ALL ARE DISTURBED!"  And with that, Father David released us as an audience, collectively fucked up but embracing it and feeling damned good about it.

Disturbed put on one hell of a show.  Even if you aren't a fan of their entire catalog and only like a couple songs, it's worth the ticket price for the covers alone.  This existing band member roster has been together for a long time, since 1996.  Twenty years and six albums later (five of those debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard 200), it's apparent to see that they still enjoy what they do.

Disturbed still more than provides a very complete and exceptional show for every concert goer, from loyal fans to people there only because of the earlier bands in the lineup.  The changing backdrops of the band's album covers, their mascot "The Guy", and the pyrotechnics were amazing all on their own.  I know it's a show I'll never forget.

Thank you to Warner Brothers Records and Disturbed for making it possible for me to review the concert and take pictures.  You can check out Disturbed's latest album Immortalized on Spotify here. You can visit the band's website here to check out upcoming concert dates.

'Till next time, y'all!


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