Words By: Raven Benwait
Photography By: Anna Sklavos
The summer to fall transition can be a tough one, but the Toronto music scene definitely brightens the mood. On Tuesday, September 17, Breaking Benjamin arrived at the Sound Academy for their tour with 10 Years and Starset.
Breaking Benjamin coming to Toronto is a big deal – why? Because they do not come here often, infact, they usually just keep their tours limited to specific places in the United States. Vocalist Benjamin Burnley has a phobia – the fear of flying, which has prevented Breaking Benjamin from touring other countries. And ofcourse, this led to their album, Phobia.
Anyways, back to the night… from the minute you arrived to the outside of the venue, until you got inside, it was jam packed with fans consisting mainly of teenagers and young adults, as well as very few adults. Seeing how early the fans came, you could tell they were filled with enthusiasm and prepared for a memorable night.
10 Years opened for Breaking Benjamin, bringing lots of excitement and creativity to the stage. They opened with “From Birth to Burial,” which is from their most recent album, released in April. Their 8-song set list consisted of tunes from their 2012 album Minus the Machine, Division from 2008 and The Autumn Effect which was for the long-time fans in 2005. They closed with “Shoot it Out”, from their 2010 album Feeding the Wolves. Overall, their stage presence was lively and they knew how to keep the crowd entertained.
Fans were quite happy after 10 Years played their set, but the happiness didn’t last. We waited and waited. 20 minutes, 30…40, 45, 50 minutes. Breaking Benjamin did not come onto the stage. Standing in the crowd, I overheard many angry people complaining about the wait time and how they shouldn’t do this to fans. Finally, a full hour later and after much anticipation, Breaking Benjamin finally arrived on the Sound Academy stage, greeted with cheers. They are lucky to have such patient fans!
Instantly, American Rock band, Breaking Benjamin opened with “So Cold” and the fans knew every word. You could already feel the passion. The next song they played was “Follow,” leading to “Angels Fall,” which brought some tears in the crowd. “Breaking the Silence” and “Hopeless” were also two very passionate ones, especially being an adolescent dealing with tough experiences at such a vulnerable age, these two songs are the kind you can connect to.
Breaking Benjamin also played some covers through the night. “Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen, as well as “Aenema” by Tool which was quite awesome. Then there was a mash-up of “Imperial March,” “Schism,” “Smells like Teen Spirit” and Pantera’s “Walk!”
You could tell they put a lot of thought and creativity into their set. Each member of the band, excluding the drummer, performed a song. The bassist and guitarist both had voices to blow the crowd away as they sang and kept the crowd 100% entertained.
A fan favorite included “Blow Me Away,” as it is from the well known Halo series. I’d say this was probably the most exciting mosh-pit song of the night as it is an aggressive song for a game filled with shooting and winning – “only the strongest will survive” – I mean, how could you not mosh to that line?
“Breath” was a more calming one and “Give Me a Sign” was definitely the most emotional song of the night. Hearing people scream the lyrics together, you could feel an emotional connection throughout the crowd – a special connection that almost represents the crowd as one. Some more great ones were “Until the End” and “I Will Not Bow.”
As many fans predicted, they closed with “Diary of Jane,” which is a well known hit around the world, from their most famous album, Phobia which was released in 2006.
The amount of passion you could feel in the crowd was special – like none other. I attend several shows, and I review several shows, but this one… it was different. This is the most emotional show I’ve ever been to in my life. Breaking Benjamin have these words in their music; they’re so meaningful and touch your heart. It’s something we can all relate to – life, death, loneliness, competing, strength, giving up, courage, rejection, intimacy and holding on. Despite the one hour wait, this was definitely a special show, and by the end of the night you could see the happiness in the Toronto rockers eyes.