Breaking Benjamin Leaves Fort Wayne Breathless

Originally published in Through the Lens Magazine on March 31, 2016

Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey

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FORT WAYNE, IN – Upon approaching Piere’s Saturday evening the first noticeable phenomenon was the tremendous line wrapped like a snake around the building. It slithered in and out of crevices utilizing every inch in order to make the most room for the enormous hordes of people. Often people time their travels to arrive mid to end of the opening act to avoid just such a colossal traffic jam. The opening band, Starset, has an amazing reputation, however, so the house was to be packed very early.

Starset is an American alternative rock band from Columbus, Ohio. Formed by Dustin Bates in 2013, they released their debut album Transmissions the following year. Some of their influences include Nine Inch Nails, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Deftones, Angels and Airwaves and Breaking Benjamin just to name a few. Leading the band on vocals and keyboard is Dustin Bates, Brock Richards is guitar & backing vocals, Ron DeChant is bass guitar, keyboard & backing vocals, and Adam Gilbert is on drums. Their stage design and costumes had the audience transfixed just as much as their spectacular songs. Their impressive light show was not just limited to the illuminations dancing above and around the stage. The costumes of all but the lead singers were adorned with lights on their helmets as well, like halos around their faces. They came to Piere’s to spread a broad awareness of “The Message” through music and media. Their fans were definitely out in droves, and receiving it clearly. Starset kept the audience riveted throughout the entire set with their symphonic resonance. By the end of their time they had them hungry for more, and hankering for the headliner.

 

The headlining act for the evening, Breaking Benjamin, is a rock band founded by guitarist, singer, and songwriter Benjamin Burnley.  He is joined by Aaron Bruch on bass & backing vocals, Keith Wallen on rhythm guitar & backing vocals, Jase Rauch on lead guitar, electronic strings & programming, and Shaun Foist on drums, electronic percussion & programming. Breaking Benjamin packs houses from small venues to large stadiums with their mind melting melodies, and takes their breath away time and time again. They have always demonstrated a strong support for America’s troops and veterans with a fierce dedication making sure to call out their heroism every chance they can vocally and through music. This night would be no different as Benjamin himself delivered a heartfelt speech in support, and made sure everyone in house knew who to thank for their freedom. After the speech the band broke into a compelling and impassioned execution of “Unknown Soldier”. Although the front man woke up a little under the weather he was still determined to show Fort Wayne the best night of their lives. He enlisted the help of the audience to sing, and they were happy to oblige. Of course Aaron, Keith, Jase, and Shaun had Burnley’s back to aid on some vocals, and Dustin Bates of Starset even stepped up to the helm for a bit to take a chance at the mic. All in all they performed quite a few fantastic fan favorites from Breaking Benjamin’s older albums, a little of the phenomenal new melodies from Dark Before Dawn, and even some extraordinary covers like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to the delight of the masses.

As the evening drew to a close the band broke into a startlingly powerful rendition of “Give Me A Sign”, and Benjamin paused the song to thank his fans, and show his love. He told everyone how absolutely incredible they were, and how bright they shined on the inside and out. He then coaxed them to show their shine on the outside by turning on the flashlights on their phones, and holding them high in the air. The venue lights were all simultaneously cut, and the phone lights made up a blanket of stars lying softly atop the crowd, and comforting their souls. The house was a sight to behold as it glowed with a shine brighter than the Moon of Endor. It was truly a sign like a beacon shining in the dark for any lost souls trying to find their way home. The whole house finished the song together singing in one giant harmonious manifestation of love. Soon it was time for the end of the show, and the beloved band had to take their leave from the beautiful devotees. They slowly walked off stage leaving behind them a saddened crowd until they quickly reappeared for an encore performance of “Diary of Jane”.

From beginning to the very last second of the show the room remained wall to wall people. It seemed no one dared be late to miss this show, and not a soul was bothered by thoughts of leaving early to beat the traffic on the way out. In fact, any troubles that existed for any of these Hoosiers outside of Piere’s that night had already melted away long ago with the searing heat of the guitar riffs sailing through the air. The giant gathering was over with all too soon for everyone in the room including the band as they finally left the stage with just a hint of sorrowful hesitance in their strides. The show was finally over, but will never be forgotten by anyone present that night. Breaking Benjamin brings out that inner shine in people that sometimes no one else can. This extraordinary glow they brought to their fans that night at Piere’s will be there for eons of time to come, and will always be there to show these incredible men the way back to their second home in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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Melodie Yvonne

Melodie Yvonne Ramey, owner, editor, & contributor at Photographic Melodie, grew up in the small southern Indiana town of North Vernon. She picked up her first camera at the young age of 5, and was immediately hooked. Every trip, even just to the local park, was turned into a fantasy scene of her own imagination that would later be turned into epic tales in word and photos.

Melodie spent her teen years learning from and mentoring under professionals such as Richard Young, John Sheckler, and The Grand Conundrum. She received an Associates of Applied Science in Visual Technologies majoring in Photography from Ivy Tech in 2002 after studying under acclaimed professors such as Hoosier photographer Darryl Jones, Jonathan Wilson, and many other masters in the field.

Melodie’s main focus has always been music photography. Growing up with photography and listening to amazing musicians inspired her dream to create visual images that made people feel the way they do when they hear the music. She wanted to help people SEE the music by capturing every magical moment of concerts that she could only dream about as she gazed into music magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin.

Melodie has done numerous jobs around the country ranging from working for bands to even being the official photographer on many southern Indiana Poker Runs. Her specialties are in nature, music, and candid event photography, as well as one of a kind photographic creations. Melodie published her first print book Photographic Memories: In the Beginning, a collection of poetry, in 2011, and has since published 2 more print works, Photographic Memories: Meet me in the Middle and Hoosier Heavens, her first photo book. Melodie currently acts as publisher, editor & lead contributor at Photographic Melodie and does freelance work with many other media outlets, venues, and artists.

Melodie says, “I started out with a Tweety bird camera and a dream and I never let go. I will always love photography and the vessel it has given me to share the images of my heart and mind with the world. I have found that every single person on this earth visualizes the world in very different ways. Some people are optimists, some are pessimists. Some people are daydreamers, and others keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. Photography allows me to show some of these different visualizations. It allows the rationalist to see that it’s okay to dream, it can show the monsters hidden in the dark, and it can show even the saddest of people that there is still joy in the world.”

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