Live at Ozzfest

San Bernardino, CA

September 24th, 2016

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Even though Disturbed have been a huge act for nearly twenty years, somehow I just found out about them. I recently listened to their latest release, "Immortalized" and was blown away by it. It is a powerful tour de force of Metal that combines a vigorous, yet melodic assault of epic anthems.

I was more than excited to see that they would be direct support for Black Sabbath's final West Coast performance at this year's Ozzfest. With tickets acquired, I familiarized myself with their back catalog in preparation and quickly realized why they had garnered the success and chart positions that they had in their career.

Hailing from Chicago, the band consists of vocalist extraordinaire, David Draiman, multi-instrumentalist Dan Donegan taking care of all guitars, keyboards, and back vocals, John Moyer on bass guitar, and founding member Mike Wengren on drums.

Disturbed opened the set with the hugely appropriate, "Ten Thousand Fists", quickly getting the audience on their feet and their fists in the air. Inmensely compelling, the music is moving and exhilarating and they chose a great song to kick off the set.

They moved to another fan favorite from their debut album with "The Game" before playing one of the songs that converted me to an instant fan, "The Vengeful One", from their latest release.

"The Vengeful One" is dark and heavy, yet melodic and uplifting in one perfectly devised delivery. This sound pretty much sums up Disturbed as a band, they combine dark and disturbed material with dynamic and compelling music that fills you with its energy.

Touching upon the numerous hit songs off of equally successful albums, they performed "Prayer" and "Liberate" back to back. The audience was ecstatic, singing along with every chorus but this energy seemed to somehow double when the song "Stupify" began.

After that fan rallying moment in the set, the band left the stage and all the lights dimmed. When they came back up, the band had gathered at the front of the stage with a new instrumental arrangement. In addition to a grand piano, acoustic guitars (including a guest player on second one), and kettle drums, a live cellist and violinist accompanied the core band. David started sitting on a stool near the other members as "The Sound of Silence" began but by the end was standing for the intensely moving performance.

The entire gigantic amphitheater worth of concert goers had lighters or cell phones lit up, holding them in air and it was like a sea of lights stretching away from the stage out into the night as far as you could see.

I have seen this Simon and Garfunkel song covered numerous times over the years; from Metal bands like Atrocity and Lacuna Coil, to Industrial and Gothic acts to other folk and pop stars, but none of them have the impact that David's voice brings to it. They have garnered quite a bit of mainstream notoriety from this cover recently and it is very much deserved.

Kicking the concert back up in terms of riffage, they played "Inside the Fire" next followed by another new song, "Light". This song is almost hymnal in quality as it has a very uplifting message and I have recently heard it in bars around Los Angeles that don't normally play that good of music so it is nice to see excellent Metal material encroaching on our every day lives.

They played "Stricken" leading in to David introducing the next song. He said that Metal music was meant to invigorate you, to make you feel powerful, to make you feel "Indestructible"! This brought about a huge cheer from the audience, some of whom had apparently been waiting all day to hear this song.

"Voices" was their selection for the second to last song of the set so it was pretty much a given that their final song for the evening would be one of the hits that put them on the map so many years ago, "Down With the Sickness". Up to the very end, the audience sang along and cheered at maximum volume.

David finished the concert by saying Disturbed owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sharon and Ozzy for their support and inclusion in the Ozzfests over the years and that they would not have the success in their careers they do now without their help and friendship.

Everyone cheered for Ozzfest and were content to wait for Black Sabbath to take the stage after this amazing performance by Disturbed.

Whether you know Disturbed or not. Whether you have never listened to them before or just have not checked them out in a while, I highly recommend listening to their latest release, "Immortalized", it is really well done and instantly brought a new fan into the fold. Seeing them live cemented that fandom and I have been listening to their entire back catalog repeatedly since the concert.

Unlike Black Sabbath, they are not done with performances on the West Coast yet, so I highly recommend going to see them live, it is an amazing experience.

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