After driving over an hour to the House of Blues Anaheim, I couldn't have been more excited to shoot Breaking Benjamin. While the music was well played the on stage performances were a little lacking. Each member stood at their designated microphone playing their respected instrument for most of the show. As a photographer, up close performances can really help my work shine.
The music was fantastic though and the crowd was really into the show. The venue was packed to its absolute maximum making for a very intimate experience, both with the band and unfortunately some of the people around you.
One of the many highlights of the show was when Ben made a short Star Wars speech followed by the band playing the Imperial March. When bass player was supposed to start the next song, there was only silence. Then Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper came into stage and surprised Ben with a Death Star birthday cakes and an awesome Kylo Ren guitar because his birthday was the next day. Well done Disney.
The song “Give Me A Sign" was really sick because Ben instructed the crowd to whip out their phone flashlights and light up the room. The House of Blues turned off all of the house lights making the flashlights the only source of illumination.
From time to time, there would be massive pillars of smoke bellowing from the stage which really added to the intensity of the show. After attempting to wander around taking pictures and failing due to how packed the venue was, I decided to find a seat in the balcony. While it was a good place to watch the rest of the show, the lighting designer kept shining retina melting beams of light directly into my eyes.
Ben also had some of his other bandmates sing main vocals on some songs which I thought was a very interesting choice. It definitely changed the sound of some of the songs and made them more unique to the live show. During the song “Breath,” Dustin, the vocalist from Starset, came on stage and joined Ben with the vocals. Usually opening bands do this in order to bring extra hype to their show but I haven’t seen a headliner bring the vocalist from the opening band on stage for a very long time. It showed how close Breaking Benjamin and Starset truly are.
It was great to finally check Breaking Benjamin off of my bucket list as I have never seen or photographed them live before.
So Cold, Follow, Sooner or Later, Angels Fall, Firefly, Unknown Soldier, Simple Design, Ashes of Eden, Blow Me Away, Imperial March / Schism / Smells Like Teen Spirit / Walk, (Birthday celebration for Ben), Polyamorous, Give Me a Sign, Believe, Breath (With Dustin from Starset), Failure, Fade Away, Until the End, I Will Not Bow, The Diary of Jane