Outdoor summer concerts can be a hit or miss, especially in Kansas in early September. While the mindset can easily be put into the fall mentality, it isn’t the case here when temperatures still reach up into the 80s and sometimes even into the 90s. Luckily, for this event, the weather was bright, slightly breezy, and reaching temps of the 80s without much humidity. With this awesome weather came an awesome show experience that those who attended should never forget.
Doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and Dorothy would immediately play at 6:00 p.m. I didn’t exactly agree with the way that was scheduled but I somehow still managed to wait in line and get to the stage before they went on. Dorothy plays a bluesy hard rock, which is pretty different from the other bands on the bill already. Honestly, they aren’t a type of band I’d listen to on a regular basis, but they did get the crowd into it right off the bat. They put on an excellent opening set all things considered.
Three Days Grace performed next, bringing about nostalgia from the One-X days (2006) and playing quite a few songs from the album. “Riot”, “Never Too Late”, and “Animal I Have Become” were among my favorites, as well as the crowd’s. I had witnessed Three Days Grace when they had Adam Gontier as their frontman, one of my favorite vocalists when I started getting into music, and hearing these songs by Matt Walst (My Darkest Days) was a little jarring at first. While the songs didn’t feel the same as they did years ago, there was a new energy to it all, even if it didn’t quite mesh the same way. Seeing the band pump out their “classics” as well as perform their new material without hesitation really showed how confident they were in their showmanship. I’d definitely like to see them again, maybe on their own headlining tour or slightly further up on the bill.
Chevelle took the stage, immediately setting a different mood to the night that went along with their music. Fog filled the area, heavy riffs emanated from Pete Loeffler’s guitar and Dean Bernardini’s bass, completed by Sam Loeffler’s drums. Of course, their setlist contained “The Red”, “Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)”, “The Clincher”, and “I Get It”, among many other favorites. The synergy between the band members was astounding as well. Hearing every one of their songs sounding even more dynamic than the recording made it worthwhile to wait until now to see them. Not to say that the previous bands didn’t sound good in their own right, it’s just that Chevelle completely shattered my expectations. They also played the perfect role in setting up for the final act, Breaking Benjamin.
This is the biggest stage I’ve seen the band perform on, having seen them numerous times before at small venues as well as mid-sized theaters. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, considering their history with bad lighting and a small stage to work with. Luckily, within a few minutes of their set starting, it was clear that this would be their best-looking performance to date.
Breaking Benjamin’s set contained material from every release. My favorites were “Breath”, “Sugarcoat”, “Blow Me Away”, “So Cold”, and “Dance With The Devil”, especially on the bigger stage containing impressive lighting, fog, and even pyrotechnics. I’m still not quite sure about how I liked the sound. I know the band has been touring extensively for months now and most likely getting to a point where the exhaustion surfaces itself, and even especially more so considering Benjamin Burnley’s health issues. This didn’t seem to stop the band from having fun and playing their hearts out to the hundreds of people present. Children and adults alike were rocking out left and right, and some were even invited on stage to observe from behind the band. This kind of interaction is rarely seen when it concerns some of the bigger named rock acts, and honestly, I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen this occur on such a big stage.
Memories were made by many, and while there may be some mixed reactions on how Breaking Benjamin and some of the bands performed, I still feel it is one of their strongest tours to date. Seeing them grow from a band with barely any weight to their name, to being on stage playing to what felt like a sold-out outdoor amphitheater venue is breathtaking in its own right. I’m hoping the band continues to ride this success and makes their own dent into rock history before they call it quits (whenever that may be). If you have a chance to catch this show, or any of their future shows, do it. They never disappoint and value their fans to a degree that isn’t seen often anymore.
All Photos by Jeffrey Allee