jakub | March 2, 2024

Disturbed Blazes Through The Kia Center In Orlando, Florida On February 26, 2024


 

As the evening approached, I could feel my anticipation growing. After spending the day celebrating another trip around the sun, I was more than ready to head over to the Kia Center for what promised to be an explosive night. Disturbed is winding down their Take Back Your Life Tour and they were bringing along their friends in Falling in Reverse and Plush. I was lucky enough to cover Disturbed on the 1st leg of the tour when they came through Tampa, Florida last August. In addition to that, our magazine has covered the tour twice in the last week, which creates a predicament: try not to be repetitive. Easier said than done but I’m up for the challenge so let’s get this rolling.

 

After meeting up with the other photographers and grabbing our credentials, we headed to the media room. On the way there we walked past Disturbed guitarist Dan Donegan who was chillin’ outside the banquet room. With not much time to spare, we geared up and headed to the pit for the 6:45pm opening set. I have seen so many photos and videos of Plush and am constantly being told that I must catch them live. I have been streaming them pretty much non-stop for the last few weeks and now the bar had been set. The band wasted no time in heating things up as “Athena” kicked off the set. One of my 1st observations was how powerful vocalist Moriah Formica’s pipes are. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering that she had been a contestant on the tv show The Voice when she was only 16 years old. Bassist Ashley Suppa was all smiles on bass and guitarist Bella Perron laid out some serious licks. Drummer Faith Powell displayed a lot of intensity but still had time to flash a smile or two. The band’s most recent release, Find The Beautiful, dropped last month and accounted for a little more than half of the set including “Run,” “Hope it Hurts,” “Left Behind,” and a cover of Heart’s “Barracuda”. These ladies are the real deal and given the fact that their ages range from 19-23 means that the sky is the limit. Once this tour wraps up in March, Plush will continue on with a slew of dates across the U.S. 

 

Plush:

Bella Perron: Guitar, Backing Vocals

Moriah Formica: Lead Vocals, Guitar

Ashley Suppa: Bass, Backing Vocals

Faith Powell: Drums

 

 

Setlist:

1.Athena

2.Champion

3.Run

4.Barracuda (Heart Cover)

5.Hate

6.Hope It Hurts

7.Left Behind

 

Next up at 7:45pm was Falling in Reverse (FIR), a band that occupies more than a few spots on my playlist. As with Disturbed, I was fortunate to have caught FIR last September while they toured with Avenged Sevenfold. With that in mind I knew what was in store for me, some great music, an awesome performance and a high level of difficulty in regard to the actual photographing. I knew to expect the catwalk that is in place at the very front of the stage and runs side to side, but the stage height was greater than when I saw them last. The lights went dark right on time and the intro from “Zombified” blared loudly as the band took the stage. Lead vocalist Ronnie Radke leapt onto the catwalk where he would spend most of the night stalking back and forth. In between the strobes and flashing red lights I was able to snap a shot of Radke waiting to catch his mic that he tossed in the air. I wasn’t so lucky when it came to the rest of the band. Guitarist Max Georgiev did make a few quick appearances on the catwalk, but guitarist Christian Thompson and bassist Tyler Burgess were only visible from the chest up. Drummer Luke Holland was equally difficult. At one point early on, Radke simulated throwing the mic into the crowd which was a nod to a 2012 mic stand throwing incident that ended up playing out in the judicial system.

 

 

Performance wise, FIR was outstanding, and the fans ate it up. Songs like “Losing My Mind,” and “The Drug in Me Is You” brought such a strong energy that it was palpable. Radke mentioned that the last time they had played in Orlando was at the House of Blues. He went on to thank the fans for all of their social media likes and merch sales and said that they were responsible for bringing rock n’ roll back to the forefront. Radke said that he felt like he was being too nice and that he was feeling very uncomfortable. He said he might need therapy and asked the crowd to raise their hands if they or someone they know was “a fucking asshole.”  He said that he was very aware that he was “a fucking asshole, just like you.” This was the perfect lead-in to 2015’s “Just Like You.” “Popular Monster,” and “Voices in My Head” brought us to the last song of the set, last year’s “Watch the World Burn” which was punctuated by 4 plumes of flame shooting upward into the dark realms of the arena. I already can’t wait to see these guys again, hopefully without the catwalk.

 

Falling In Reverse:

Ronnie Radke: Lead Vocals, Keyboards

Max Georgiev: Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals

Christian Thompson: Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals

Tyler Burgess: Bass, Backing Vocals

Luke Holland: Drums

 

 

Setlist:

1.Zombified

2.I’m Not A Vampire

3.Losing My Mind

4.Fuck You and All Your Friends

5.The Drug in Me Is You

6.Just Like You

7.Popular Monster

8.Voices in My Head

9.Watch the World Burn

 

Shortly before 9:00pm, we arrived at the pit but had to stand back until the giant Kabuki curtain had dropped and been removed. Right at 9:00pm the arena grew dark, and the curtain was illuminated by alternating lights that revealed outlines of the band members. The voice of vocalist David Draiman was heard beckoning to the crowd with a forceful “Hey You.”  It seemed like an eternity for the curtain to drop and be taken away, but it was well worth the wait. My 1st observation is nothing short of an assault on the senses. The band was hammering out 2022’s “Hey You,” while the entire stage resembled a towering inferno. Draiman prowled around the stage in his signature black sleeveless duster while guitarist Dan Donegan and bassist John Moyer were a whirlwind of perpetual motion. Drummer Mike Wengren was seated behind a sick-looking  kit and for tonight’s performance it really was the hot seat as the wall of flames was directly behind him.

 

 

The 2nd song of the set, “Stupify,” was highlighted by synchronized jumps from Donegan and Moyer. One of my favorites, “Ten Thousand Fists,” included an upward shooting firestorm. The tempo slowed for a soulful performance of “A Reason To Fight,” which was preceded by a prerecorded speech in which Draiman discusses addiction and depression. This awe-inspiring set also included instrumental solos from Donegan, Moyer and Wengren along with a smashing rendition of Genesis‘ “Land of Confusion.” The cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” is always a spectacle to behold. Whether it’s Donegan playing fire-engulfed piano or Draiman’s haunting vocals, this is always one of the most spectacular highlights of the performance.

 

Plush’s Moriah Formica lent a hand as she joined Draiman for 2022’s “Don’t Tell Me,” a duet that was originally performed with Heart’s Ann Wilson. Disturbed has always been very interactive with the fans and tonight was no exception. First, Draiman summoned wounded Iraq war veteran Kyle Johnson to the stage where the entire venue showed their appreciation for his service. Johnson credited family and music for his ability to confront his demons. Next up to be called to the stage was a little girl named Sophia. It was last year at a Florida concert when Draiman stopped the show because little Sophia appeared to be terrified. After comforting the girl, the show went on. Tonight, Sophia and her mom were brought on stage where she gifted Draiman 2 bracelets. The 1st bracelet had Draiman’s name on it and the other had the Hebrew phrase “Am Yisrael Chai,” meaning “The People of Israel Live.” Draiman was notably touched by this gesture and talked briefly about the ongoing war and the horrors of the attack at the Nova Musical Festival. The band fittingly played “The Light,” before closing out the regular set with “Stricken.”

 

The stage remained dark for a few minutes before the band returned for the encore. Draiman got the crowd screaming before jumping into “Unstoppable.” Wengren pounded out the unmistakable intro to “Down With The Sickness” followed by Draiman’s famous “Ooh-wah-ah-ah-ah” and the fans sang loudly to the 2000 mega-hit. If there was any extra pyro being held in reserves, it was brought out for the finale, “Inside The Fire.” Disturbed is one of those bands that you go to see each and every chance you get because they never get old. I’m going to summarize the entire night with what I heard a front-row fan tell his friend, “If I die tonight, I’ll die happy because this was the best concert of my life.”

 

Disturbed:

David Draiman – Lead vocals
Dan Donegan – Guitar
John Moyer – Bass, Backing Vocals
Mike Wengren – Drums

 

 

Setlist:

1.Hey You

2.Stupify

3.Ten Thousand Fists

4.Prayer

5.Bad Man

6.A Reason to Fight

7.Guitar Solo

8.Land Of Confusion (Genesis cover)

9.The Vengeful One

1o.Drum Solo

11.The Game

12.The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)

13.Bass Solo

14.Indestructible

15. Don’t Tell Me (with Moriah Formica)

16.The Light

17.Stricken

Encore:

18.Unstoppable

19.Down with the Sickness

20.Inside the Fire

 

 

 

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