Being that Jess’s favorite band of all time is Breaking Benjamin, I knew when they announced this concert we would be going. I am also a fan of their music as well as Bush. As far as Alice in Chains, who isn’t a fan? One of the original grunge bands out of Seattle who have made their mark on the music world. We not only bought our tickets when they went on presale but we bought level 2 VIP for Breaking Benjamin. Ill talk about the levels and what our level included in a minute.
The day of the show, Jess and I left earlier than we usually do. We already leave early for most shows but this one being her all time favorite band we wanted to make sure we were first, and if not, at least be close to so we could get the best spot we possibly could. On the drive up I told Jess I would be surprised if we weren’t first in line but there was always that chance. Because of that we planned the night before by having the car packed with our chairs, we bought our energy drink, shooters and a lunch so that we wouldn’t have to stop the day of the show. Most concerts we go to Denver or even Springs we usually stop somewhere to eat. Not this time we didn’t want to lose any time once we headed to the venue from Pueblo. When we got to the venue we had to drive around to find the spot where VIP had to check in at. When we first pulled up there was already 1 person standing in line. We pulled up next to him to ask if he knew where VIP was supposed to line up and it turned out the guy was an old friend of ours, Chad. We had met and seen him at so many shows pre covid. The funny thing about that is every show we ever saw him at he was always there before us. After chatting with him for a few minutes and talking to a few people who worked at the venue we found out we needed to line up somewhere else as Chad just had basic GA. Jess and I moved to the VIP area where we were now first in line. It was several hours before anyone else come and got in line with us. The first couple to get in line with us recognized us from Three Days Grace or some other show. They weren’t the only ones there was another girl who lined up after then who also recognized us from that Three Days Grace show.
As they were getting ready to let us in we were also waiting for the Breaking Benjamin guy who was coordinating the VIP thing to come and set up the tent. He finally got there and set things up and realized he had the wrong VIP list. He had the list from the night before. It took him awhile to get back with that correct list. Once he did we got checked in and they let us in. They let all the VIPs in at the same time but each level had different perks. Level 3 was just early entrance into the pit and access to early merch. Level 2 which is what we had included that and also included an acoustic set with Breaking Benjamin and a Q&A session. Level 3 got all that plus they got to stand side stage during Breaking Benjamin’s set. We didn’t do that level because we wanted to be on the rail for all the bands and if we had side stage for Breaking Benjamins we wouldn’t have had the rail for Alice in Chains. All the VIP’s also got a back pack, hand sanitizer, a pin, water bottle and some commemorative tickets along with a lanyard. Once we got inside we had to wait for them to set up the acoustic area which was in the VIP lounge not on the main stage. They were running about 30-45 minutes behind their schedule. This ended up shortening the acoustic set and Q&A. When they let level 1 and 2 VIP in the lounge they locked up our phones so we couldn’t record or take any pictures. As we walked in we were also given a complimentary root beer. They had the bands equipment set up with a rope just 10 feet away where we all got to stand, so we were close to the band and we ended up being right in front of Ben the singer. When he walked out he was wiping his microphone down with so much sanitizer it was funny. Jess had told me he was a germaphobe but he was proving it in that moment with how much and how long he wiped his mic and stand down for. He joked about stage hand touching their crotches then setting up his stuff and putting their hands all over his mic. It was funny to listen to him tell that story. They did a few questions to start. The questions were asked by a band rep who had taken the questions from a form everyone got to submit a few days before the show. You not only got to ask a question but you got to summit your top 5 songs you wanted to hear them play. The songs that got the most votes were the ones they were going to play. After they did a few questions they played a song. They started with Away. Then they did a few more questions and back and forth between songs and questions. They only played 3 songs instead of 5 and I’m sure that’s because they were behind schedule. The whole VIP acoustic session was cool and the band seemed laid back and continued to make jokes as they picked on the singer from Rush. It was a whole thing. The only bad thing about the private acoustic set is we were directly in the sun and it was hot. Jess and I both ended up getting burnt, her on her chest and me on my face. Once it ended I left to get in line and let Jess unlock our phones. I managed to get 2nd in line which meant we had a great shot at getting the spot on the rail that we wanted. Once they opened the gates and let us in we in fact were the first people on the rail and we picked our spot just off center to the right (side stage left). We managed to hold a spot next to us for Chad who we had talked to earlier. On the other side of us was the kid we meet at Sum 41 so we had a good group around us.
The opening band was supposed to be Life Project but they had some van issues and weren’t able to make it so in their place the guitarist from Breaking Benjamin played his solo stuff, Keith Wallen, played an acoustic set and played without any other band members since his other band wasn’t traveling with him or knew he was going to play on this day. He did pretty good considering he was a 1 man performer warming up the crowd for Bush, his main band Breaking Benjamin and of course Alice in Chains. He said that was the biggest crowd he had played solo in front of up to that point. Though I didn’t know any of his material I again thought he did a good job warming up the crowd.
Bush was up next. This was my 2nd time seeing them live. The singer and all the band members came out with a lot of energy. The singer was dancing all over the stage and even ran out in the crowd up to the lawn section at one point. He engaged with the crowd and of course hyped up the other bands still to come on. They played a lot of their old songs like Glycerine, Everything Zen, Machine Head, Come Down. He also played some new songs which I wasn’t as familiar with. Though they put on a great set and really got us all pumped up I know Jess was ready for Breaking Benjamin as was I along with Alice in chains. I should say that I managed to get a Gavin Rosedale guitar pick thanks to the help from one of the security guard that I had made friends with while we were standing there. I thanked him and told him if he could help us get a Breaking Benjamin pick that would be great since it was Jess’s favorite band. Unfortunately, when they came on he moved to the side of the stage away from us.
By the time Breaking Benjamin hit the stage Jess and I had a good buzz going. The plan was to get a buzz early then ride it out so we could still drive home. They came out playing Blow Me Away then Sooner or Later and it was just a great mix of their songs, all of the hits. Of the 16 songs they played I knew 12 of them, of course Jess knew them all. I hope she had I great time as I know I did (of course I always do when I’m with her). The crowd did start to mosh and push during their set but not too much. At one point this guy did push up into me and really jarred my neck (I was sore for days afterwards). He did apologize for pushing into me, I told him that was fine. I know how people are at concerts up near the stage or anywhere really in the GA section a pit can start up any time and any place. I did end up pushing him back once and after that he stopped running into me. There was another guy more behind Jess who was starting to act up and at one point told me to let him through when Alice in Chains came on or he was going to go over us, but he was going to get on stage. He never did try and even if he did he would have never made it. Speaking of the crowd I was just a little surprised that Ben didn’t come down off stage and sing to the crowd like he had in past shows we saw with him. I guess after covid he isn’t going to take that risk any more. Even though the security guy I had first made friends with moved, we still managed to get 2 Breaking Benjamin picks. That was still thanks to the security guy in front of us. I had made friends with him as well and he so kindly handed Jess one of the picks. The other fell right in front of me on the other side of the barrier. I had to lean over and get it. My feet left the ground to make that happen, not an easy thing for a big guy like me. Needless to say I was glad we were able to get a couple picks from them for Jess.
In between Breaking Benjamin and Alice in Chains Chad the guy next me offered to buy me a beer, Since I hadn’t drank anything since before Breaking Benjamin I thought that would be fine. However, he didn’t have an ID so they wouldn’t sell him one. Jess asked me if I wanted to go get a beer and the girl who was standing behind us who said if I go get a beer would I get her one and she hands me a 50. I thought yea I can do that and you can buy mine. I left to grab those beers and there was only 1 place selling beer at that point. The line was fairly long so I walked up towards the front and asked this guy if I buy him a beer will he let me cut in line with him. He says “I don’t know” and just then the guy in front of him tells me he will let me cut if I buy him a beer. I told him “done” then he tried to get me to buy him 2 I told him “no way”. I went back to the guy behind him and asked again. At that point this guy who was several people behind him walked up and told me I couldn’t cut in line. I told him that’s fine. I had no choice but to go back to the end of the line. The line did move quickly and just as I was heading back Alice in Chains were hitting the stage. I managed to make it back to my spot on the rail during their first song.
This was my 3rd time seeing Alice in Chains, well there was that time in Seattle when they opened for Guns N Roses and I got into the venue as they were finishing Rooster so I don’t count that. They came out playing Again of their self title album and they continued to play hit after hit from their old to some of their newer stuff. I was a little surprised they didn’t play anything of Rainer Fog their latest album. I was still very pleased with the overall set list they choice to play. They even did a tribute to Layne when they played Nutshell. I just wished they would have played Stay Away, that’s a song I have never heard them play live and probably never will sadly. I was also surprised that during their set they didn’t throw out very many played picks. I remember them throwing more out in the past show. Thankfully at the end of their set they did come out and throw handfuls out in the crowd and I managed to get couple I got one from Jerry and one from William which was cool. I would go see Alice in Chains again no doubt. I would go see any of these 3 bands again given the opportunity. Which I am sure will happen again at some point in my life.
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