Yes, I brought my earplugs. No, I didn’t use them. I probably should have…
Opener: Breaking Benjamin
One of those bands that has had significant success on rock radio that I haven’t ever really paid attention to, I figured this would be a good opportunity to see what the fuss is all about. I recognized a couple of their songs although I surely can’t name them for you. This was basically the rock anthem vibes I expected although there were several songs where the lead singer really got after it and gave us some legit screams and cookie monster-esque vocals.
As is frequently the case for opening bands at arena shows, their sound mix just didn’t feel quite right and the vocals were distorted and hidden behind the music for most of their set. I don’t necessarily blame them for this, but it is noteworthy since Korn’s sound was nearly perfect.
Guitarist Keith Wallen was celebrating a birthday, and was presented a cake and a “Happy Birthday serenade from the crowd- although he clearly was ready to just get back to work and give the spotlight back. There was a little too much cliché banter for my taste, but I’m a live music vet and cynic- most folks were having a blast and eating it up.
Although I’m bummed I didn’t get to see this group during their turn of the century heyday, I’m happy to report that time has been kind to their live show. Not only did they sound great, with Jonathan still belting it out at 100% effort, but they now have an impressive and deep collection of songs to choose from. In fact, they just celebrated their 25th anniversary, which Mr. Davis pointed out as he thanked everyone who listened and supported them along the way. He didn’t talk too much during the set, which y’all know makes me happy, but he did refer to us as Nampa instead of Boise, which is rare at these Idaho Center shows. Nice nuance, sir.
There were a few highlights on this night, which I will get to shortly, but after six songs which included three from their most recent album, they took a brief break. After a minute or two, Jonathan emerged with his trusty bagpipes for an extended intro to “Shoots and Ladders”- the crowd went totally bonkers. Never have the pipes been greeted with so much joy, not even on a drunken St. Patty’s celebration. The end of this song included a terrific outro of Metallica’s “One”, a real crowd pleaser.
The crowd erupted when “Got the Life” kickstarted, with handclaps by the thousands during the bridge, and the band got a moment to noodle and jam out before they tore into a viscous version of “Somebody Someone”.
The encore was absolutely tremendous, with personal favorite “Twist” catching people by surprise and then a killer one-two punch of “Coming Undone” (with a quick “We Will Rock You” snippet) and “Falling Away From Me”. These guys may not get much love from critics, but they have sold tens of millions of records and have a massive cult following for a reason- they fucking rock. For ninety minutes, I was back in high school and having a blast. Good stuff!
Here to Stay
You’ll Never Find Me
Can You Hear me
Shoots and Ladders
Got the Life
Make Me Bad
Freak on a Leash
Falling Away From Me
Spotify playlist link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6Z8OMxJeQfOLm1tjZ54XIA?si=tipPdxGjRRyU9w8e98QlvA