by Declan Poehler
On Tuesday, September 16th, Breaking Benjamin announced two comeback shows at Gator’s Pub and Eatery in Luzerne, PA. Seven hundred tickets went on sale for Friday, September 19th, and Saturday, September 20th.
These shows marked their first live appearances in six years. The band had been broken up for four years, but last month there was an announcement and teaser on their Facebook page that they were back with a new lineup.
I was lucky enough to get tickets within a few hours of them selling out. Here’s my review of the Saturday show.
I arrived to the venue around 4:40 PM, with doors opening at 7 PM and the show starting at 8 PM. The parking lot was very small so we were forced to park on a local side street. About fifteen to twenty people were lined up at two separate doors.
After about twenty minutes of waiting in line, front man Ben Burnley came out to greet fans and take photos. He was generous and humble, and you could tell how much he appreciated everyone coming out to see the band. One girl told him how his music saved her life and prevented her from suicide. He warmly responded and addressed the rest of the line saying, “Never give up”.
Fans began filing in the venue at 7 PM and everyone was very friendly to each other. Autographed shirts were available at the merch table and made for a great souvenir of the once in a lifetime experience.
The lights went out and the packed venue cheered as Breaking Benjamin made their entrance to the stage.
The band began the show with “So Cold”, and there wasn’t a single person not singing with them.
The band went on to play other favorites such as “Follow”, “Unknown Soldier”, “Home” and “Breath”. They also did a rendition of “Them Bones” by Alice in Chains, which Burnley began by saying, “This is a song by one of my favorite bands’.
The crowd was the best I have ever seen at a show. There was no moshing or pushing and even the security guards were singing the songs. This allowed Burnley to come to the guard rail and get even closer to the fans.
Burnley took a moment toward the end of the show to say, “With all the people in this world, I want everyone here to treat everyone kindly and take time out of every single day to do one good deed”.
The band ended their set with perhaps their biggest hit, “Diary of Jane”. They then huddled and threw out guitar picks and drum sticks out into the crowd as they exited the stage.
The crowd began chanting, “One more song!” After a minute of chanting, the crowd erupted with applause as front man Ben Burnley came back to the stage.
He did two more songs solo and then left the stage saying, “I love you guys. Thank you so much for coming out”.
As he left, more chants began saying, “BB (Breaking Benjamin) is back!”. Burnley looked like he had a few tears in his eyes as he looked at the crowd one last time and went backstage.