Summertime is made for late night, outdoor concerts. Risking heat exhaustion, having too many beers, waiting an hour to get out of the parking lot after the show…it’s all part of the experience. While this all normally happens at festivals sadly, there was no Rockfest this year in Kansas City. Just a few miles away from the Speedway, though, some 10,000 fans poured into Sandstone Amphitheater (it’s Sandstone, it will always be Sandstone, corporate sponsorship be damned) to rock out, and rock hard.
When you’re putting on a show, it’s always great to have some other bands on the bill, and Breaking Benjamin brought a lot of friends with them on the road. Three Days, Chevelle, and a band that has quickly been making a name for itself on the scene, Dorothy.
Blowing things open with a short, but powerful set, were LA rockers, Dorothy. Wholly aware of were they were, Dorothy joked that it was nice to finally be in Kansas. (The Oz jokes would continue on Instagram). I had seen Dorothy last year at the Recordbar, and it was a pretty packed house then; it was nice to see them on a bigger stage, playing to a bigger crowd. Powerful vocals, and a bluesy bend, Dorothy is a wonderful departure from the heavier sounds in the current rock scene, that still packs a punch, and sounds modern.
Up next were Canadian rockers, Three Days Grace. The venue was starting to fill, and the sun was going down, but it was still plenty hot out. The heat didn’t stop 3DG from putting it all out there, or letting it all hang out. With a setlist ranging from The Mountain, and The Good Life to I Hate Everything About You, and Riot, our neighbors from the north put on a set worthy of the headlining spot.
Of course, everyone had come to see headliners, Breaking Benjamin. With projection screens behind them, flames shooting from the stage, and wash of blue and red lights, the boys in BB brought a theatrical display worthy of their powerhouse performance.
Things were still hot, and the flames didn’t help any, but the gang kept cool with a cooling system snaking its way up the stage, fighting the monitors for real estate. Makes things hard to see, but you just need to hear the music, right?
Things opened with a punch with Red Cold River, with lights to match, and jumping into I Will not Bow. Of course covers were peppered into the set, with a medley of ranging from Star Wars and Queen, to Pantera and Nirvana. Truly something for everyone.
The band was very aware of the audience, and took interaction to a new level. Early in the set, frontman Benjamin Burnley invited a young fan from the front row, to join the VIPs onstage with him, along with his mother. Truly a tender moment, and something he’ll carry with him a lot longer than a drum stick that will get lost in the parking lot.
With all the crap going on in the world today, it’s nice to be able to go out for an evening, be entertained, and not hear anything political, whether you agree or not. It was a powerhouse lineup, and a killer tour that should not be missed by any.
Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin