Tonight was a first for me on two fronts with this being my first visit to the rather splendid Alexandra Palace set in lush open grounds. which total a huge 192 acres and the original home of British TV first broadcasting in 1936. On arrival mid afternoon in glorious sunshine we are greeted with a cricket match taking place and numerous dog walkers and kids larking about with their parents, after walking through the grounds to the huge 10,000+ capacity venue, people were chilling out with beers and just kicking back and lazing in the ample facilities of the outside beer tables and grass to sit on. The other thing about tonight, this was my first ever Disturbed concert that I have attended, and to be honest up until 2 years ago I had never heard anything by the band but due to some educating from a few people and reviews that I have read the opportunity was too good to miss. Due to the distraction of the beer and the sunshine I never caught the support act and made my way in with roughly 15 minutes before show time. The first thing that hit me as well as most other people was the heat, this was going to be a hot sweaty evening with the arena suitably heaving with a mass of bodies.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4382UVl0oc&w=560&h=315]
With an impressive introduction via the big screen its a chaotic call to arms with “ARE YOU READY” also the opening song from he bands 7th and latest album “EVOLUTION” this obviously was the perfect track what with the lyrical content to open the show, and with David Draiman making the place erupt with his unique vocal technique including his trademark gulps and yelps from the back of his throat it became apparent to me this was going to be a momentous occasion. “PRAYER” and a colossal version of “ THE VENGEFUL ONE” follow in quick unrelenting fashion with guitarist Dan Donegan cutting some tidy riffs whilst prowling the stage. Then we get the first of the intense flames and the heat that was felt by myself half way down the arena, must have paled in comparison to those in the front rows and those flames kept on making an appearance throughout the duration of the gig. “LAND OF CONFUSION” a cover song originally done by Genesis is a master stroke and showed the more complex side to Disturbed with the song ebbing and flowing until its triumphant ending. “TEN THOUSAND FISTS” gets the fists raised and the devil horns on full show and what a song a rally cry if ever I heard one with David Draiman having EVERYONE eating out the palm of his hand. The only thing by this point that can be taken as a negative is the Guitar/ Drum/ Bass solo’s that did eat into a fair few minutes and I’m sure the time would have been better spent on playing an extra song from the new album ( STRONGER ON MY OWN ) being a fine example of a track that was sadly left out of tonight’s set but that’s just a minor quibble because many people around me were enjoying the solo spots.
A beautiful version of “HOLD ON TO THE MEMORIES” soon gives way to “THE SOUND OF SILENCE” a vocal performance delivered with such passion,restraint,delivery, and just a unbelievable god given gift of a voice box that your truly was left speechless and was the first of two emotional moments that I witnessed this evening. “INDESTRUCTIBLE” and a crazy brutal version of “INSIDE THE FIRE” with yes you guessed it enough flame to make KISS nod with approval. So with the main set ended the band[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2QTtdeL3dE&w=560&h=315]
return with a message displayed on the giant screen all about a subject close to my heart a subject that people still try to ignore and brush under the carpet, The subject being the fight that is mental health depression / anxiety, with THE SAMARITANS phone number being shown on the screens and David Draiman visually emotional talking about his mates like Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell and people he has lost its straight into “THE LIGHT” with a montage of video clips of the band in the early days hanging out and goofing around with some of the people that are sadly missed, the power of music is better than any remedy and from someone who has hit rock bottom like myself to hear such uplifting well meaning words from a band that genuinely care about their fans was fantastic. Set closer we get a wedding proposal on stage ( She said yes ) and a young man who has been bed ridden for months on end with a leg operation that went wrong and decided to get out of bed for the first time to attend the show so with a little help from a crew member and his crutches he told his story to a massive roar of approval, and was told to sit on the drum riser with the husband and wife( to be ) while “DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS” ripped the roof off the ALLY PALLY. What a night what a roller coaster of emotions what a huge band DISTURBED are going to be. In the UK they have done the clubs and the halls and now up to arenas. On tonight’s performance the skies the limit and don’t be surprised if they end up filling the stadiums.
Review by Steve Bruty for metalplanetmusic
Photography by Stewart Marsden – www.stewartmarsden.co.uk