–By Valerie Helton
–Photos by Sean Derrick
Breaking Benjamin opened their 2019 United States tour in St. Louis on Sunday, July 21st at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater and brought with them Diamante, Dorothy, Three Days Grace and Chevelle as support acts. The night started out very hot and humid, but that didn’t keep fans from filling the amphitheater, including the lawn section, to a near capacity level.
Diamante, a hard rock band with the namesake of vocalist Diamante Azzura Bovelli, kicked off the tour with a rock solid high energy set that set the stage for the rest of the night. Diamante was both visually and audibly stunning, with her sapphire colored hair giving extra oomph to her metal whips and killer vocals.
Dorothy came on next after a delayed start from technical issues, which shortened the time of their set. This was the first time I heard Dorothy’s music. It had a bluesy feel, and the lead singer, Dorothy, had a great voice.
Three Days Grace was up next, and got the crowd amped by piping “Living On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi through the sound system before coming out. The stage had two screens behind them playing different clips and graphics with their songs. Lead singer Matt Walst also switched between his old timey mic and newer mic for a few songs, and really added a cool effect to his vocals.
I used to listen to Three Days Grace years ago, so I was nervous hearing them for the first time with “newer” lead singer, Matt Walst. His vocals were a little rough the first song, and a bit here and there throughout the entire set, but once they started playing “Animal”, he really proved himself. “Animal” was my favorite song they performed, mostly because it included a snippet of “Seven Nation Army” in it.
Three Days Grace played most of their older singles, which the crowd LOVED. They started chanting “THREE DAYS GRACE!” between songs multiple times. Walst yelled at the crowd to start mosh pits while jumping off speakers and chanting “Riot!”, before playing the crowd’s’ favorite song. He really knew how to work the stage and keep the crowd entertained and it showed in his performance.
Three Days Grace Setlist:
The Mountain Home
The Good Life Pain
I Hate Everything About You
Animal I Have Become (with snippet of “Seven Nation Army”)
Never Too Late
Chevelle was up next and opened their set with some of their newer songs. Pete Loeffler’s vocals were on point as usual, and sounded just like their CD. At first, their stage set up seemed extremely basic with 3 silver shiny squares behind them, but as the set went out, the squares lit up with different colors and patterns.
I used to listen to Chevelle years ago, so I don’t know many of their newer songs, and it seemed like the crowd felt the same way. During the first 5 songs, the crowd didn’t seem to be as interactive with the band, and walked around and talked to each other. This completely changed once “Hats Off To The Bull” started playing.
As usual, Chevelle sounded pristine with crisp vocals, guitar riffs, and heavy hitting bass licks. They finished the set by playing what seemed to be the crowd’s favorite song; “I Get It”. Everyone was singing and jumping around, and showered the band with approving cheers as they left the stage.
Face to the Floor
Door to Door Cannibals
Hats Off to the Bull
Send the Pain Below
I Get It
Now came the band everyone was waiting for. While Breaking Benjamin set up, they had a large white sheet hiding the stage, which they later used during the opening for some cool shadow effects. About 15 minutes before Breaking Benjamin came on, Tony Patrico from The Rizzuto Show on 105.7 came out to introduce them. He said “Let’s start a slow clap” which everyone followed, but eventually died out after he said it would be a few minutes. This was my third time seeing Breaking Benjamin, and they always put on a good show, so I was excited to see what they were going to do.
Breaking Benjamin started their set about 15 minutes later than scheduled. The large white sheet had fog lit up behind it that kind of looked like clouds and lightning. The sheet dropped a few moments into “Red Cold River”.
The stage set up was similar to last year, with the drummer being elevated higher than the rest of the stage. It also had sections for fireworks and fireballs to shoot out during multiple parts of the set.
After Breaking Benjamin finished playing their opening song, frontman Benjamin Burnley stated how he couldn’t even hear anything, the crowd was SO loud. He also said that tonight was the start of the tour, and he regretted starting here because none of the other shows will compare. I’ve heard before that Breaking Benjamin has their biggest following in St. Louis, and they aren’t even from here. You could really tell that they have a huge local following.
Benjamin Burnley was the most interactive with the crowd that I have ever seen in a front man, which I really love. It’s good to see his personality and how much fun he has on stage. He sang directly to a little girl in the front row, while holding her hand (which he later brought on stage with her brother and dad).
He was also comical and entertaining, during one point of the set, he sat right in front of the AC vent tube because it was extremely hot. He also threw water bottles to the crowd towards to the end of the set, making sure it only got to the females. He told them they could share it with the males around them if they wanted to.
My favorite part of the show was when Burnley started playing a drum set that had Star Wars type Lightsabers attached to it, that actually made the sound when he touched it. They also played famous covers from bands such as Nirvana, Metallica, and Rage Against The Machine, which I always love.
Breaking Benjamin ended their set with Benjamin Burnley in the middle of the crowd singing. As always, they put on a great show. Their sound was amazing, and kept the crowd entertained the entire time, even though this set seemed to be almost identical to last year’s set.
Be sure to check out the photo gallery from the evening after the last setlist.
Breaking Benjamin Setlist:
Red Cold River
I Will Not Bow
Medley:The Imperial March / Cowboys From Hell / Smells Like Teen Spirit / Bohemian Rhapsody / Enter Sandman / Bulls On A Parade
Drum Solo Sooner or Later
Blow Me Away
Dance with the Devil
Torn in Two
The Diary of Jane