Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin & Jinjer 8.23.23

Bank of NH Pavilion
Gilford, NH

Words & Photos by Arlene Brown

What happens when you have 9,000 people attending the biggest group therapy session of our lives? You get almost every single person at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in tears for an experience none of us will never forget.

Disturbed’s “Take Back Your Life” tour swept through Gilford, NH with so much raw and honest emotion led by the breathtaking David Draiman, vowing to each and every person there that our lives matter and that our lives are important. Mental health affects everyone; either ourselves or someone we know who is living with depression, anxiety, and/or other debilitating issues. 

“We are not alone.”

Disturbed’s night started with their normal “Hey You,” “Stupify,” and the pyro backed “Ten Thousand Fists” in which everyone was pumping their fists (not phones) in the air. Every single person was singing every single word to every single song. The whole night. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen a crowd so enthralled and engaged. How can you not be 100% in with David leading the charge?
The rest of the set was almost like going to church.: “Prayer,” “Are you Ready,” “Bad Man,” “A Reason to Fight.” Dan Donegan’s Guitar Solo really showed how much of a master he is of his craft. They continued with their Genesis cover of “Land of Confusion” before Mike Wengren went off on his drum solo followed by “The Game.” 

Now, by this point in the show, we’ve already cried with David as he shares his testimony of his own battles with the darkness of depression. We’ve cried with those sitting/standing around us as we discover we are not alone and we all have our own demons we fight. The emotional roller coaster of the night brings us to Disturbed’s Simon and Garfunkel cover of “The Sound of Silence.” Of all the covers in the world, this is by far my all time favorite. And again, every single person was singing every single word to every single song, and the crowd became one with David. The night could have ended here with everyone in happy bliss, but we were in for so much more.

John Moyer took us on a bass filled ride back to reality, moving the band into “Indestructible,” “The Light” and “Stricken.” After a few minutes of anticipation, the boys came back to finish off the night with “Unstoppable,” and my two favorite songs: “Down with the Sickness” and “Inside the Fire.”

Special shout out to Alberto (and Jessica) for sharing with the entire 9,000 people in the crowd his testimony of going from a deep depression and how “A Reason to Fight” helped him realize that he could not do things on his own and that he needed help. He suffered from depression, self harm, and suicidal thoughts since he was about 5 or 6  years old. When that song hit, he knew he needed help. And three years ago he found a therapist and it’s been 2 years since he’s had any negative thoughts. Any moment he needed that extra bit of help, he turned on “A Reason to Fight.” 

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact 988 and someone will be there for you. You are NOT alone. We are all right there with you.

Supporting Disturbed’s tour through New Hampshire, Jinjer and Breaking Benjamin started off  the night with incredible sets, as well. 

If you haven’t heard of Jinjer, do yourself a favor and feast your eyes and ears on this incredible Ukrainian originated band. Tatiana Shmayluk takes complete control of the stage from the first step on stage. And you can’t take your eyes off of her. Tati goes from sweet angelic singing to the deepest growl I’ve ever heard come from anyone. Ever. She’s incredible. Period. 

Joining her on stage was Roman Ibramkhalilov on guitar, Eugene Abdukhanov on bass, and Vladislav Ulasevish on drums. Touring their fourth album titled, Wallflowers, I can’t wait to hear more from them. And to be honest, I wish they would have played “Pisces,” since it’s my sign, but google it if you want to hear their best song.

Breaking Benjamin never disappoints. I’ve seen them four times, and each time they are spot on and always great. Touring with their new music from “Aurora,” Benjamin Burnley (lead singer and guitar) stays mostly in the dark during their set, which I think makes his voice so much more powerful. The calm between two storms of Jinjer and Disturbed seems an understatement for the power that comes from these guys. Joining Ben were Aaron Bruch on bass guitar, Shaun Foist on drums, Jasen Rauch and Keith Wallen on guitar. 

Disturbed’s “Take Back Your Life” tour ends on Sept 6th in Raleigh, NC, with Wage War. As David Draiman says, “You are NOT alone.” Call 988 to speak to someone about your mental health. We need you.

Jinjer Setlist: Perennial, Call Me a Symbol, Vortex, I Speak Astronomy, Copycat, As I Boil Ice

Breaking Benjamin Setlist: Failure, Breath, Until the End, Red Cold River, Polyamorous, Blow Me Away, Simple Design, Follow, Sooner or Later, So Cold, Dance With the Devil, I Will Not Bow, The Diary of Jane

Disturbed Setlist: Hey You, Stupify, Ten Thousand Fists, Prayer, Are You Ready, Bad Man, A Reason to Fight, Dan Donegan Guitar Solo, Land of Confusion (Genesis cover), Mike Wengren Drum Solo, The Game, The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover), John Moyer Bass Solo, Indestructible, The Light, Stricken

Encore: Unstoppable, Down With the Sickness, Inside the Fire


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