Breaking Benjamin with Shinedown
Venue: The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Date: October 22, 2015
Start Time: 7 PM PST
Benjamin Burnley – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Aaron Bruch – bass, backing vocals
Keith Wallen – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Jasen Rauch – lead guitar, electronic strings, programming
Shaun Foist – drums, electronic percussion, programming
When I decided to start including concert reviews on my site it was because I knew that this concert was coming to Las Vegas. There is a rich, and yes colorful history to the band that you can easily find elsewhere so I won't go into that here. For me, my love of the band began in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I lived in a small town just beyond this city but if you lived anywhere in Northeast Pennsylvania you likely heard of Breaking Benjamin even if it wasn’t your style of music. The beauty of the music scene in my hometown was that there was a deep appreciation for local music. Whether original or cover the music there always had a great vibe to it no matter what genre you were into. That is something I miss now that I live in Las Vegas. It is very different here.
I saw this band a few times before I moved to Las Vegas. The last time was at the Staircase in Pittston, PA. The lineup of the band has changed since then but musically they are very much the same lyrically driven band I knew. Their new album Dark Before Dawn was released on June 23, 2015 by Hollywood Records. I had downloaded the album on Spotify and was immediately hooked. It was similar to the sound of previous albums but that was exactly why I enjoyed it. After several years without new music it was nice to hear them again.
This album came at a time when I was going through a lot so this album really was a blessing to me. I was most drawn to the song “Failure” because it was how I felt, tired of feeling like I was lost and a total failure after the end of a ten year relationship. I just wanted to start completely over. Begin again with an entirely new slate.
Time will take our place, we return it back to one
The calm before the cold, the long and lonely road
Look for the light that leads me home
Tired of feeling lost, tired of letting go
Tear the whole world down, tear the whole world down
Songwriters: BURNLEY, BENJAMIN
We all have music that fits a certain time of our lives and this one. A time when music felt like the only way I was getting through the pain of what was happening to me.
Needless to say I was excited when I learned I would be able to see them perform in my new home state. By the way, that announcement came after the rest of the tour was announced. Prior to that I considered going to Tennessee or California to see them play but the choice was made easier with the added date for Las Vegas. I purchased my tickets and after a summer of craziness I splurged and bought the VIP package as well. My friend Laurie from high school was going to be in town and even though she only had a surface knowledge of the band she bought the same tickets so that we could have a night out while she was here visiting. I have a personal connection to the band itself. One of the tour managers (John Phillips) is a friend of mine from Pennsylvania. I also knew one of the band members from another band in PA as well (Aaron Bruch).
Now, let's talk about the concert itself. The biggest issue I had was with the venue not the performance. We arrived to the VIP area after being instructed by a Security Guard to come back because we were too early. Naturally we went over to the Center Bar to kills some time but by the time we went back to that same area everyone else had already gone through. Yet, when I asked Security Guard #2 about that and pointed to the people with posters in hand and lanyards he said that were exactly where we were supposed to be and were first in line. I stayed put and Laurie went out to the main area and found the VIP booth and actually secured our packets. Now, with lanyards on hand we waited but after about 10 minutes I got frustrated at being told different things and just went for it. We got out of that line and into the area where we needed to be in the first place.
After that it was smooth sailing for a bit. I saw my friend John introducing everyone to what was going to happen with the Meet and Greet. Once upstairs the band came in and we each got to get our picture with them. I saw John at the front of the line and gave him a huge hug when I got to where he was. Ben Burnley said "Hi there!" and waved me over to stand next to him but as I made my way but I said "One second I have to see him first" and pointed at Aaron. I laughed as Ben just grinned and said "I see how it is". I gave Aaron a hug after he assured me he remembered me (it was several years since I last saw him in person). I am immensely proud of both these guys for meeting a goal I know they have had for a very long time. Dreams do come true people!
After that we headed downstairs and waited, and waited, and waited some more. We were never really told what was the delay but did technically get early entry. It was just enough time to scope out a front row spot in general Admission and to grab drinks. The concert itself was amazing. The opening act Nothing More was very good. I am usually anxious about seeing the main act but they did not disappoint.
Breaking Benjamin was up next and opened with my favorite song off of Dark Before Dawn, "Failure". They played a well honed mix of previous music with new and were 100% engaged with the audience. It was one of my favorite concerts that I have attended in a long while. Plus, the added bonus of seeing one of my hometown bands play here was simply amazing. They even did a Star Wars nod to the new movie. Here is a glimpse of that moment:
Downlaod Dark Before Dawn Today!
Advisory: Mature Language Used in this Clip
I didn't hear much of Shinedown because I was trying to meet up with my friends at that point but from what I heard from them and the reaction of the crowd, they put on a great set as well.
For me the only drawbacks to this event were those few setbacks with security but after the music started, that was nothing but a distant memory.
To learn more about Breaking Benjamin, their remaining #BBTour2015 dates, or to download their latest album please go to https://breakingbenjamin.com/ for the most updated information.