September 8th was an abnormally warm night in Irvine, 90 degrees at show time with 900% humidity! The temps were only a small sign of what was about to take place at FivePoint Amphitheatre. With headliner Alice in Chains joined by popular rock acts Breaking Benjamin and Bush, it was a magical night of great tunes.
The show got an early start with Thunderpussy taking the stage at 5:30 p.m. That was the only down side of the night; the start time was a little early as the crowd got a bottled up trying to fight rush hour traffic in the OC. Sadly, the crowd was just filtering in and some music fans missed out on this act. This export from Seattle is worth a ticket themselves – they came and delivered. Sure, it was an abbreviated set, but Thunderpussy brought the wood. They shredded with their hits “Never Know,” “Fever,” “Firebreather,” “Speed Queen,” “Barracuda,” “Velvet Noose,” and “Woman.” This band rocked it.
September 8, 2022
After a short intermission, the seats began to fill in nicely for Gavin Rossdale and Bush! The band came out to “The Kingdom,” and the crowd immediately found its voice and roared as Rossdale strutted on stage. Immediately, the band began to commune with the crowd, and with a wink and a wicked smile, their signature sound was on full display as a sonic boom led them into “Machinehead.”
Wearing his cutoff tee, Rossdale looked great and sounded even better. The band was electric, with guitars shredding and drums pounding, you could feel the vibration of each note pulsate through your body.
The band looked genuinely ecstatic to be there performing and Rossdale would reach down and fist bump fans as they went from one hit to another.
The hit parade included “Bullet Holes,” “Everything Zen,” “More Than Machines,” “Glycerine,” and “Comedown.” It’s been a while since I’ve seen Bush live, and I gotta say, that was perhaps the most animated and solid performance I have ever seen them put on. The crowd might agree with me; they certainly gave the band their seal of approval with a deafening send off.
If you haven’t been to FivePoint, there is a wide-open area as you first enter and concertgoers take advantage of it, often turning it into a makeshift picnic area.
For this show, the area was hoppin’ in between sets. But as quickly as it filled up, it was vacated just as fast as Breaking Benjamin took to the stage.
By now, the sun was starting to set over the Pacific and the crowd was ready to take it up a notch. As the lights dimmed, Benjamin Burnley took to the mic and the crowd went nuts. Opening with “Blow Me Away,” the band literally blew away the crowd with the raw energy and pulsating sound that only a seasoned act like Breaking Benjamin can deliver.
Guitarist Jasen Rauch and Keith Wallen were putting on a clinic, while bassist Aaron Bruch was thumpin’ the bass like a Chili Pepper! The thump-thump going over the PA was the pounding sound of Shaun Foist on the skins. Their collective heartbeat was in unison, and the crowd loved each of their songs, from “Sooner or Later,” to “Firefly,” to “Follow.”
Mid set, Burnley thanked the crowd for coming out, and gave praise to Thunderpussy and Bush, which the crowd gave a well-deserved cheer. They dove into “Breath,” which drew an even louder response. Other crowd favorites included “Failure” and the Queen cover “Who Wants to Live Forever.”
Before they called it a night, Breaking Benjamin treated the crowd to a few more of their favorites, “Polyamorous,” “Red Cold River,” “Torn in Two,” “I Will Not Bow,” and finally, “The Diary of Jane.” It was a great set and the crowd was enthusiastic and appreciative.
Now the moon was over FivePoint, looking down on what was about to be an epic event.
It’s been a minute since we’ve seen Alice in Chains on stage in the OC, but the wait was almost over… it was just about time for the main event, Alice in Chains! Another legendary Seattle act was ready to entertain the eager crowd.
As the band took their places, one couldn’t help but look at the band in awe as they seem to defy Father Time. Guitar hero Jerry Cantrell looked just like he did when the band first broke.
Mike Inez was in fine form on bass, Sean Kinney came out with steam on his drums, while lead crooner William DuVall also seemed to have dipped himself in the fountain of youth as he looked and sounded unreal!
Coming out strong, AIC opened with “Again,” segued into “Check My Brain,” and then went into “Grind.” With a colorful stage and light show, the band was nothing short of crisp and electrifying. Then, their signature sound over with hits like “Them Bones,” “Hollow,” “Angry,” and then the crowd erupted into a frenzy at the distinct opening to “Man in the Box.” The crowd lost their proverbial mind over that one.
Then there was “Nutshell” and “The One You Know” before Cantrell seemed to accidentally launch them into “No Excuses.” As the night’s OC curfew was nearing, the crowd was amped for the closers. The wait paid off as AIC delivered with “Down in a Hole,” then their mega-hit “Would?” The lights dimmed and after a few seconds, Cantrell and DuVall emerged back into an adoring crowd.
Almost as if on cue, the crowd and AIC busted into “Rooster,” which the crowd was anticipating. DuVall held his mic to the crowd as all successful bands do when they sing their signature songs, and OC did not disappoint. The crowd sang along to every word of the chorus and was polarized by the energy and meaning behind the song. After a very sincere serenade, the night of great music came to an end.
The band came out waved to their fans, guitar picks were thrown out to the crowd, and DuVall ended the night with a very sincere, “Hells yeah, thank you Orange County!”
It was a long day, but ask everyone in the house, it was an epic night for music.