Over ten thousand fists were held high in Toronto on another breathtaking (and very emotional) performance by one of the most important metal bands of the past three decades.
OPENING ACT: Theory of a Deadman
Concerts on Mondays are always exhausting, it doesn’t matter who’s playing, the time of the year, and even if you’re on vacation or not. However, it didn’t look like a Monday last night at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, with THEORY OF A DEADMAN and DISTURBED continuing the Canadian leg of the Take Back Your Life Tour 2023 before heading to Europe for several summer festivals, and then returning for the US leg of the tour. The ingredients for the same type of awesomeness from their last appearance in the city back in 2019 were there, including thousands of avid fans (many already off from college or university, which means nothing to do the next day), an ass-kicking new album, a very decent weather and so on, turning it into another memorable night of modern metal music in the city.
The band chosen to be Disturbed’s opener, North Delta, British Columbia-based Alternative Rock/Metal act THEORY OF A DEADMAN, hit the stage precisely at 8pm armed with their fusion of classic and modern Rock N’ Roll, plus a brand new album named Dinosaur, entertaining most of the fans who were already at the venue. And I said most of the fans because I was one of several who were not entertained at all, I mean, I’m either getting too grumpy with age, or my growing taste for extreme music is now blocking me from enjoying anything that’s way too soft like the music by those Canadian rockers. They’re competent musicians, no doubt about that, and some of the songs from their setlist worked really well like Bitch Came Back and Bad Girlfriend, but overall it was a semi-snooze fest with their boring cover version for Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game being the icing on the cake (in a bad way). Not even the snippets from Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City and Pantera’s Walk made me bang my head, perhaps because they were just snippets, but that’s fine. At least the younger kids were enjoying the show, so it’s all about our personal taste for music, right?
Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond song)
Bitch Came Back
Two of Us (Stuck)
Hate My Life
Paradise City (Snippet)
Tyler Connolly – vocals, guitars, piano
Dave Brenner – guitars, backing vocals
Dean Back – bass, backing vocals
Joey Dandeneau – drums, backing vocals
It was close to 9:30pm when the main attraction of the night, Chicago, Illinois-based Alternative Metal titans DISTURBED began their always electrifying performance, driving everyone at the venue crazy already to the first few notes of their new song Hey You, from their 2022 album Divisive. David Draiman, Dan Donegan, John Moyer and Mike Wengren were obviously sharp and focused, and not even the fact that their stage was not as detailed or innovative as the one from 2019 took away the energy from their entire set.
Songs like Ten Thousand Fists, The Game and Indestructible sounded as awesome as usual, but their new songs Bad Man and Unstoppable, plus the ballads A Reason to Fight and The Light, were the ones that stole the show and made yesterday’s performance so captivating. Bad Man was amazing because David himself said the band was eager to play that song live to their fans, and the feedback form the crowd, with tons of headbanging, fists raised in the air and some mosh pits put a big smile on the faces of the band members. And when they played the other new song, Unstoppable, they came out all wearing Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys, talking about how the “curse” of not advancing to the second round of the playoffs has been broken after 19 years, and that it’s time for the Leafs to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada. Well, let’s see if the Maple Leafs are as unstoppable as Disturbed in the coming weeks, right?
And although it was supposed to be a metal concert, which means speed and heaviness, it was during two of their ballads that things got serious and David took the moment to send powerful messages to everyone at the concert. As you might already know, every single time Disturbed play A Reason to Fight, David gets very emotional and dedicates it to his deceased friends Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) and Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave), among others, always saying he’s tired of losing such close friends to suicide and talking about the importance of reaching out to your friends and family when you suffer from mental issues; however, this time David (in tears, by the way) opened up and mentioned that he also has to deal with addiction and depression (in fact, all members of the band have to do so as well), and that around eight months ago he almost joined his friends on the other side. That was a shocking moment for all of us fans, but it also showed no one is safe from mental diseases, and that we must all stay together to fight that, saying that mental issues are like an invisible cancer growing inside of us and taking over our entire body until it’s too late.
The other emotional moment of their performance connected with that message, when he called fans Sean and Charlotte (who were part of the Meet & Greet with the band earlier yesterday) to the stage, both going through tough times and suffering from mental issues, before playing the beautiful The Light. Actually, it was the second Sean who was supposed to be on stage all the time, but apparently John Moyer confused him with another guy, and there he was the “wrong Sean”, visibly drunk, enjoying his time with the band on stage. Anyway, those fans had the pleasure of enjoying the entire song sitting near the drums, while David asked everyone to raise their lighters or smartphone flashlights when he said the words “the light”, creating a stunning effect inside the arena while reminding everyone of the positive power of music in our lives.
One of the most electrifying moments of the concert was of course when they played their undisputed hit Down With the Sickness, with all fans jumping up and down, engaging in some action inside the mosh pits, or screaming the famous “Oh, ah, ah, ah ,ah!” together with David during the entire song, and after everyone got down with the sickness there was still time for another incendiary song, the excellent Inside the Fire, inspiring all fans for one last round of insanity inside the pit on a Monday night. So remember, everyone, to keep banging your heads while enjoying high quality heavy music like what Disturbed are always providing us with, and if you need any type of mental help or support in Canada you can contact the Canadian Mental Health Association, COAST Hamilton, the Suicide Prevention Middlesex-London, or the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, among others. We all want to see YOU at the next Disturbed concert in Toronto, raising your fists in the air together with one of the most important metal bands of the past few decades.
Ten Thousand Fists
Are You Ready
The Vengeful One
A Reason to Fight
Land of Confusion
The Sound of Silence
Down With the Sickness
Inside the Fire
David Draiman – vocals
Dan Donegan – guitar
John Moyer – bass
Mike Wengren – drums