: There are some bands that just shouldn't be allowed to play stadiums. Disturbed is one of them. Not because their unique brand of alpha-male heavy metal belongs in a more intimate setting but because they (by which I mean singer Dave Draiman) don't have the chops to wow a crowd of that size.
Granted, the rows and terraces of the amphitheater grew thin following the preceding act Avenged Sevenfold's set, but still, fair amount of people getting down with the sickness. It probably didn't help disturbed's case that Avenged Sevenfold put on a high energy show featuring a far more dynamic performance by their singer Matt Shadows.
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
This is how it went down: Dramian (looking like a cross between Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now and Mr. Clean) wore a sleeveless black jumpsuit. For the entire set, he waddled back and forth grunting like a Mountain Gorilla. His psuedo-rapping sounded more like the Morse code; combined with his lackluster stage craf, it fall flat at the photo pit as opposed to resonating across the terraces.
A large screen behind the band projected huge flames and the musicians played competently, though guitarist Dan Donegan's solos were a little stiff and lacked finesse. But in the end, nothing could salvage the glaring shortcomings.
DIsturbed even made the audience sit through a painfully long rendition of Genesis' "Land of Confusion." It remains unclear how trading the pulsating synthesizers of the original and replacing them with chugging guitars improved on or made the song interesting in any way.
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Thank god for Avenged Sevenfold. Playing to a hometown audience following the overdose death of drummer James Sullivan aka "The Rev," the band played like it wanted to be heard. And the crowd's response was deafening. The show started with an unknown individual, theoretically harnessed, dropping from a catwalk and writhing as he hung by the neck from the end of a rope. As the man swung like a pendulum, the band played the song "Nightmare."
Aside from the energy was present in singer Shadow's delivery, the guitar work of Avenged is top notch. Both Zacky Vengeance and Synister Gates do some mind bending solos, but more impressively they perfectly harmonize many of the complicated leads. The resulting sound is reminiscent of great metal bands, not the least of which is Metallica. The entire set was rounded out with some cool pyrotechnics and stage props rigged to look like cemetery gates. Toward the end of the set, Avenged dedicated the song "So Far Away" to drummer Sullivan. Shadows said to the crowd that the band would continue playing to honor Sullivan's legacy.
The Crowd: Younger than one tends to find at metal shows. Lots of Disturbed hoodies and girls with biker boots. One young woman who was obviously pregnant was wearing a tube top and putting her full-term glory on display. Her protruding stomach was burnished with a Sharpie drawing of the Avenged Sevenfold skull and batwings also klnown as the "Deathbat."
Personal Bias: While growing up I listened to a fair amount of Metallica, Slayer and Pantera, I do not consider myself a metal fan. Further, while I am aware there are metal purists who don't think Avenged Sevenfold is a legit band, there were moments when they reminded of some of my early music listening experiences.
Overheard: "The graphics were pretty cool, but the energy just wasn't there," said one fan leaving the loge section during Disturbed's set.