With rumors of a sold-out show and an estimated 3000 people packing the Clive, Iowa-based 7 Flags Event Center, it’s clear the people of Des Moines were thrilled to see Breaking Benjamin hit their town on Friday, May 22, 2015.
As many know, Breaking Benjamin isn’t in its original formation. There were some high-profile legal battles over the Breaking Benjamin name. But now that frontman Benjamin Burnley has retained the rights to the name, all seems good with Burnley at the helm. It probably helps that Burnley was wise in choosing musicians for the new line-up who truly have the right backgrounds to take the band to a new level. Two of the new members – guitarist Keith Wallen (Adelita’s Way) and bassist Aaron Bruch (Forever Oeuvre) – have past singing experience and can contribute harmonies. Guitartist Jasen Rauch, formerly of Red, is another strong addition, as well as drummer Shaun Foist, previously in Picture Me Broken.
Shaman’s Harvest opened the show as the only opener. They kept it short and sweet, playing not much over a half hour. Their set included their song Dangerous, which has received a good deal of radio play nationwide. As well they played their cover of Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana, which is also currently being played on radio stations across the country. Their gritty persona seemed to resonate with fans of Breaking Benjamin, much of the audience standing against the rails shouting and singing through each song.
While it’s not uncommon to see shows stacked with 3+ openers, it was refreshing to see only one opener on the bill, treating the audience primarily to the headliner, who they really came to see.
Breaking Benjamin hit the stage shortly after 9 PM, opening the show with the song So Cold from their 2004 album We Are Not Alone.
Breaking Benjamin played close to a two hour set. The average hard rock radio listener may not realize just how many Breaking Benjamin songs they know until they are standing in front of them, but being in the audience at one of their shows makes it clear they’ve done a great job scoring radio play. Check out some of their other songs on the Des Moines setlist, including Break My Fall, Give Me a Sign, Polyamorous, and I Will Not Bow, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Additionally Breaking Benjamin whipped out some classics including a cover of Metallica’s Through the Never. And they freestyled a mashup of some classic guitar solos including the Star Wars’ Imperial March, Tool’s Schism, Pantera’s Walk and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Breaking Benjamin appropriately closed the show with their widely popular song The Diary of Jane from their third album Phobia. It’s possibly their most notable and successful single, placing #1 under three rock charts.
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