DISTURBED with Breaking Benjamin and Jinjer, FivePoint Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA, 07.20.23

with Breaking Benjamin and Jinjer
Take Back Your Life Tour 
FivePoint Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA 07.20.23


The one and only time I had ever seen Disturbed live was back in the day when they were touring to promote their newly released album, The Sickness, with Drowning Pool opening. To this day, I remember how charismatic David Draiman was that night, grabbing my attention from the first note and refusing to let go until the house lights came on. Since then, I have remained a diehard Draiman fan.

I was delightfully surprised to find out that the Ukrainian metalcore band Jinjer was opening this show. Despite going on at 6:30 pm in 187 degree heat, Tatiana Shmayluk (vocals), Roman Ibramkhalilov (guitar), Eugene Abdukhanov (bass), and Vladislav Ulasevich (drums) came out hard and delivered a short set that exceeded all expectations.

Jinjer opened with “Perennial,” and then “Call Me a Symbol” and “Vortex” from their 2021 album, Wallflowers. They ended their set with “I Speak Astronomy” from 2016’s King of Everything and Wallflower’s “Copycat” and “As I Boil Ice.”

Next up was Breaking Benjamin, with Benjamin Burnley (vocals, guitar), Jasen Rauch (guitar), Keith Wallen (guitar), Aaron Bruch (bass), and Shaun Foist (drums). They opened with “Failure” and “Breath.” It was right around the time that they started playing “Until the End” from their 2006 album, Phobia, that I realized that the silhouette towards the back of the stage was a child playing guitar along with the band. Burnley informed the audience that the child is, in fact, his son, who clearly was born for the stage.

Their set consisted of the band’s biggest hits and fan favorites, including “Polyamorous” and “Blow Me Away” from 2004’s Halo 2 soundtrack. They ended their hour-long set with “Dance with the Devil,” “I Will Not Bow,” and “The Diary of Jane.” 

After 20 years, it was finally time for Disturbed to make my head explode! A giant white curtain blocked the stage. All that could be seen were the silhouettes of the band members, David Draiman (vocals), Dan Donegan (guitar, keyboard), John Moyer (bass), and Mike Wengren (drums), as a giant spotlight flashed back and forth between them all as they posed and readied themselves on the stage. The curtain rose and they immediately started the set with “Hey You” from their newest album, Divisive, and the glorious classic that is a must in every playlist, “Stupify.” 

For “Ten Thousand Fists,” the entire stage lit up from fire everywhere. Disturbed continued with “Prayer” from Believe, “Are You Ready” from Evolution, and “Bad Man” from Divisive. Before they went on to “A Reason to Fight,” a video played of Draiman talking about the devastation that depression can have on a person’s life and the lives of the people who love them. After the song, Draiman needed to take a minute to compose himself as tears fell from his eyes, and he talked more about addiction, depression, and the friends he lost. It was particularly difficult, as this was the birthday of Chris Cornell and the anniversary of Chester Bennington’s death.

After an incredible solo by Donegan, they moved forward with their cover of Genesis’ 1986 political anthem, “Land of Confusion.” When the intro music for “Droppin’ Plates” started, I nearly died from happiness, since they have not played that song live for years. They beautifully transitioned to the jaw dropping solo by Wengren before moving on to “The Game” from The Sickness. Covers are a staple on all of Disturbed’s albums. Each uniquely done in a way that only Disturbed can do. When Immortalized came out in 2015 with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s timeless masterpiece “The Sound of Silence,” I didn’t think any song could be covered so beautifully. Hearing Draiman perform it live was soul altering and haunting. 

They closed out the night with a head banging, awesome solo by Moyer, followed by “Indestructible,” the uplifting “The Light,” and “Stricken.” 

Then the night was over, and we all quietly went home. Just kidding. Of course, there was an encore. First was “Unstoppable” from Divisive. Then, the song we all wanted and waited our entire lives for, 2000’s game changing head banger, “Down with the Sickness.” Finally, and this really was, sadly, the last song of the night, “Inside the Fire” from Indestructible.

I waited a long time to see Disturbed again, and it was well worth the wait. Draiman is still one of the most charismatic singers I have ever had the pleasure of seeing live and I refuse to ever miss a show again.