Disturbed at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI

Hard rockers Disturbed fire up a wild crowd on their Take Back Your Life Tour with support from Falling In Reverse and Plush.

Rising band Plush gets the evening off to a great start with a short but rocking set. The foursome from New York hit the music scene a few years ago with their self-titled debut album. “Athena” and “Champion” from that album get the early arriving fans cheering. They have a new EP that was just released on January 19 called Find The Beautiful and they play the song “Run” from it. They also play their killer cover of “Barracuda” by Heart which is powered by the bass playing of Ashley Suppa, drumming by Faith Powell, and guitar by Bella Perron. You must give credit to lead vocalist Moriah Formica whose soaring voice is like that of legend Ann Wilson. Throughout the set, Ashley is actively moving around. The powerful song “Hate” slows things down a bit but still hits hard. Another new song, “Hope It Hurts,” and the rocking first single “Left Behind” close out their set. The fans show their appreciation with loud cheers. Be sure to arrive early for any shows on this tour and catch them on their headline tour in the Spring. They have a bright future.

Next up is Falling In Reverse, who hits the stage to loud screams and cheers. It seems there are a lot of fans here to see them tonight. Having put out some of the most popular songs in hard rock the past few years, it is not surprising. They open with one of those songs, “Zombified,” which finds lead vocalist Ronnie Radke pacing the riser up front from side to side as he sings and augments by waving his arms, pointing to the crowd, and occasionally flipping the mic in the air and catching it. They follow that up with “I’m Not a Vampire” which is driven by the rapid drumming of Luke Holland. The fans are having a great time as they bounce and sing along. 

After “Losing My Mind,” they really get the fans fired up with “F**k You and All Your Friends,” and then play one of their early hits and a fan favorite, “The Drug In Me Is You.” Guitarist Max Georgiev joins Ronnie on the riser and blazes a trail with his fingers across the fretboard. Falling In Reverse also consists of guitarist Christian Thompson who is wearing a studded mask that covers his whole head, and bassist Tyler Burgess who both add their talents to these catchy songs. Ronnie speaks his mind freely and does not mince words. He takes a moment to ask the crowd, “Raise your hand if someone you know is an asshole. Raise your hand if it’s you.” Pretty much everyone in the crowd raises their hands. That transitions into what could be Ronnie’s theme song, “Just Like You.” They wrap up their set with several of those radio hits from the last few years, “Watch the World Burn,” “Voices in My Head,” and “Popular Monster,” which leave these rabid fans wanting more. Every tour they seem to gain more and more fans and are on a trajectory to move up to headline larger venues, like when they will take the main stage near the top of the bill at the Sonic Temple Festival in May.

After a break, a curtain now blocks the view of the stage. The lights dim and lights from behind cast the silhouettes of the Disturbed band members onto the curtain. They start playing “Hey You” as the curtain drops, and the fans erupt with cheers. Singer David Draiman is wearing a long black coat and stalks the stage from side to side and pumps his fist. They follow up with one of their earliest hits, “Stupify,” and then play “Prayer.” Guitarist Dan Donegan and bassist John Moyer play up to the crowd, and move from side to side at various times, with both throwing in an occasional jump. Behind the band, there are flames at various levels and angles adding a cool vibe.

Disturbed has been a band since 1994, but their current incarnation with David, Dan, John, and drummer Mike Wengren, have been together since 2004. With eight studio albums from the 2000 release The Sickness to the 2022 album Divisive, they have become one of the most popular bands in hard rock today on both the radio and on tour. They recently were nominated for a 2024 iHeartRadio Music Award for Rock Artist of the Year.

They pull songs from across all but Asylum tonight, including “Bad Man” from Divisive and “A Reason to Fight” from Evolution. Dan goes into a killer guitar solo and then they launch into their cover of the Genesis song, “Land of Confusion.” Mike wows the crowd with an awesome drum solo before the band plays a setlist staple, the hard-hitting “The Game” from the 2000 debut album The Sickness. This song is loaded with heavy bass and David’s grunts of “rah, rah.” It also has sparks shooting up from the stage and down from overhead, along with smoke and cool poofs of flames at various levels behind the band. The crowd reacts by pumping their fists in the air.

Many fans may not know this, but David has some classical vocal training and that comes into play on their haunting cover of the classic Simon & Garfunkel hit “The Sound of Silence.” The song also features Dan on piano, a cellist, a violinist, and some kettle drums. John Moyer shows off his mastery of the bass during a solo before they transition into the heavy “Indestructible.” For their latest single, the emotional “Don’t Tell Me,” they are joined on stage by Moriah Formica from Plush. The studio version featured Heart’s Ann Wilson, and Moriah is a perfect fit to handle those vocal duties tonight and absolutely crushes it. It is such a powerful performance. 

David has a great connection with the fans. He takes a moment to recognize a fan up front celebrating his birthday. He also brings a dad and his three kids to sit on stage during “The Light,” with band members giving them drumsticks and guitar picks, and even taking selfies with them. “The Light” is an emotional song with meaningful lyrics that engages the fans as they light up the arena with their cell phones. Following that song, they exit the stage to loud cheers.

Returning to the stage, David takes a moment to thank the crowd for keeping him going. They had to shorten the set a bit due to him not feeling well, or as David describes it, “I feel like recycled canned ass.” They then begin the encore with one of the most upbeat and aggressive songs of the evening, “Unstoppable,” which has David spinning across the stage. Going back to their first album, they play what might be their most well-known song, “Down with the Sickness,” which has the fans fully engaged, singing along, waving their arms, and headbanging. They close out the set with another of their popular songs, “Inside the Fire.” For this song, they crank up the heat with flames shooting crisscross from various locations on the stage. Dan and John are all over the stage and playing off each other, with Dan tearing it up on some blistering leads. The fans really got their money’s worth tonight with great performances by all the bands.

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About Gary Pahlow 62 Articles
Gary is located in Rochester Hills, MI and has been officially photographing and writing concert reviews since early 2016. His main music interests are metal and hard rock, but he is also a fan of most genres including alternative, indie, jazz, and even some pop and country. When not covering or attending concerts, you can find him traveling with his wife or watching the Detroit Red Wings.