The highly anticipated return of Ben Burley and the new lineup for Breaking Benjamin was brought to fruition this past weekend just outside his home town of Wilke-Barre, Pennsylvania. Ben scheduled a show for Friday and Saturday evenings with a max capacity around 700 tickets, and both shows sold out in a matter of hours.
Both entrances had lines going around the corner hours before the show, and Ben didn’t disappoint. He made sure that he came outside and said his hellos and thank you’s to each and every person, signed autographs, took pictures, and answered any questions that the fans had. He appeared to be genuinely appreciative that everyone came out and kept saying “BB is Back!” (which resulted in cheers from everyone around), implying that they were here to stay this time.
Once the show began, Breaking Benjamin came out with tons of energy which was only matched by the intensity of the crowd, most of whom had driven hours to see the coming of their favorite band. They opened with So Cold, and the crowd sang along the lyrics at a volume I’ve never experienced before (and I’ve been to hundreds of shows both indoors and out). The fourth song they performed was Unknown Soldier, which they dedicated to all the service men and women who were serving our country. The room had an eerie feeling to it during the song, maybe it was the hundreds of people behind me singing along or maybe it was the fact that it finally sunk in, Breaking Benjamin was back.
They played for over 100 minutes, including covers of Alice in Chain’s Them Bones and Tool’s Prison Sex, Ben stating that those bands were some of his biggest influences on his music career. The entire setlist was comprised of fan favorites (such as Polyamorous, Give Me a Sign, Breath, Evil Angel, and more) and of course some had to be left off due to time. The setlist had mostly everyone leaving the show having heard their favorites, with very few people upset that they didn’t hear their favorite BB songs (such as Dear Agony, Firefly, and Sooner or Later). He followed up the set with Lights Out and The Diary of Jane and after the band left the stage everyone was shouting the usual “One more song!” and I have to admit, it was the first time I have ever seen the security crew yelling along with the crowd for an encore. Ben came out for an encore by himself with his acoustic guitar and played Here We Are and Rain, although it was hard to hear him sing because of 700 people singing along with him.
All in all one of the best shows I have ever attended. Breaking Benjamin played a total of 22 songs (including encores and extended intros) and NOT ONCE did I have someone shoved into me, a mosh pit break out, or have a crowd surfer go flying overhead. The crowd was amazing, the venue amazing, and most of all Breaking Benjamin was amazing. Once he was done with the encores, there were chants of “Break-ing Ben” and “B B Back” that came from all the fans in attendance. With the energy displayed by the band I have no doubts that they are back and look forward to what they have in store for us next, whether it be new music or a tour (hopefully both). Until then, I’ll be patiently waiting along with the millions of Breaking Benjamin fans around the world.