David Draiman being weiled out on stage at Madison's Music As A Weapon Tour - photo by Sarah Paske
On the final leg of their fourth Music as a Weapon tour, Disturbed once again rocked Madison, WI at the Alliant Energy Center on May 10, 2009. This lifestyle festival style event surprised even the veteran concert goers. Gates opened at 2:00 pm for a special free outside collaboration of music, tattoo, and sports. Local artists Serienna and The Lords of Discipline hit the Ernie Ball Stage with touring acts Spineshank, Bury Your Dead, and Crooked X.
“The diversity in the lineup with bands such as Bury Your Dead mixed in with Lacuna Coil and Killswitch Engage really added a lot of flavor to the tour,” Disturbed bassist John Moyer said.
Not only was music constantly blasting from the second stage, but TNT Freestyle Motocross sponsored a showcase of riders Tommy “Tom Cat” Clowers, Myles Richmond , and Destin Cantrell. These riders shocked attendees with their complex mid-air stunts. Though there was a little hesitation at first from some of the more amature riders, they were flying through the air grasping their handlebars, doing flips, and contorting their bodies in any way possible in no time. Tattoo artists Vic Bak, Dizzle, Jason Willis, and Megan Hoogland were also in attendance to do on-site tattooing. Though the wait was long, concert-goers waited in anticipation to be permantly marked by these well-known artists.
At around 6:30 pm the doors to the arena opened for ticket holders to enter the headlining show. Chimaira opened the show with their bone shattering hit “Power Trip.” Their seemingly short but intense set list also consisted of “The Flame,” “Secrets of The Dead,” “The Dehumanizing Process,” “Destroy and Dominate,” and “Pure Hatred.” Second on the bill was Lacuna Coil. By blending strong instrumentals, dark male vocals, and erie powerful female vocals together, fans knew that Lacuna Coil had everything that they needed to put on a performance of epic proportion. They did exactly that. Kicking off their set with, “To the Edge” and “Fragments of Faith,” they quickly built up the energy in the crowd for their latest single “Spellbound.” It was nearly impossible to follow all of the action on the stage. Band members were jumping, running, and interacting with the crowd through their entire set. Though their set was once again extremely short, the band topped off their set with what could easily be considered their most recognizable song “Our Truth.”
Main support, Killswitch Engage, surprised all by their LED lit up backdrop. Vocalist Howard Jones then initiated a “wall of death” in the crowd where the crowd was to split in half and on his count crash into each other. If that wasn’t enough for crowd interaction, at the end of his set, Jones ran off the stage into the crowd and up the seats performing their cover of “Holy Diver.” Though the crowd’s exhaustion could be seen throughout the arena, the energy only amplified as crews quickly assembled Disturbed’s set.
Disturbed vocalist, David Draiman, made his stage entrance one to remember. Tied up with a straight jacket, mask, and leaning on a coffin shaped dolly, Draiman was wheeled out by a man dressed up as a surgeon. He carefully untied the jacket and removed the mask only to break out with their first song “Voices.” The lights flared up revealing the rest of the members and the giant pyramid in the back that the drumset was placed on top of.
“We wanted to create something for people to remember. It’s not like watching just four guys on a stage walking around. We are trying to incorporate more staging and perhaps a bit of theatre,” Moyer said.
The pyramid, stacked amps, and Draiman’s opening costume weren’t the only visual entertainment of the night. About half way through the set, the stage turned into what looked like combat zone, and Draiman was the leader. If that wasn’t enough, a handful of fans were escorted onto a catwalk above the band to face the crowd during “Ten Thousand Fists.” Lastly, for their encore, everyone but drummer Mike Wengren exited the stage for an intense solo. Distracted by his talent, the crowd watched intently as singer Draiman snuck around to the other side of arena. After the solo, Draiman was then raised on a large square platform over 10 feet in the back of the crowd and preformed “Down With the Sickness.” Their set was a perfect concoction of the band’s older hits, such as “Liberate” and “Stupify,” with newer singles like “Inside the Fire” and “Ten Thousand Fists.”
In the end, Music as a Weapon IV proved to be much more than a much anticipated yearly tour. Not only did great bands like Lacuna Coil, Killswitch Engage, Chaimara, and headlining Disturbed put on a show to remember, but the lifestyle aspect to this tour created a permanent ripple in the music industry for others to follow suit. Mixing freestyle sports, tattoos, and music on a much smaller tour than say Ozzfest, Mayhem, or Warped tour was a brilliant idea, and those who were in attendance could easily agree.