Disturbed rocks their 20th anniversary tour at the Ford Center


Photo courtesy of: Disturbed

Disturbed performed in the Ford Center Nov. 6, 2021. Staff writer, Ian Young, attended the concert with his father.

Ian Young, Staff Writer

Even though Disturbed’s popularity has given them little respect from hardcore metal fans, the band’s live stage presence is hard to beat.

Disturbed performed live at Evansville’s Ford Center Nov. 6, 2021, as part of their 20th anniversary tour. The tour was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 but was back on schedule in 2021 as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. Their first album, “The Sickness,” was released March 7, 2000. 

Disturbed has never been a band I could get into. Their early work has a nu metal sound, similar to Slipknot and Korn. Their music leans towards themes of shock value and teenage angst, a sound that ruled the metal scene in the early 2000s and has been done better by those other two bands. 

The live setting seemed to improve the instrumentation in my eyes. Whoever their sound tech is deserves a raise. The quality of the guitar, bass and drums were all clear as day. It is especially rare to be able to hear the bass in a live metal show, and it was a nice surprise every member could be heard, an issue their studio albums struggle to achieve.

The biggest tone shift was with their cover of “The Sound of Silence.” Originally by Simon & Garfunkel, this song is them breaking away from the nu metal sound and expanding into a more emotional and diverse sound palette.

This expansion of sounds is amplified in their live shows.

David Draiman’s voice is the exact same live as it is in the studio, which is amazing. The best aspect of Disturbed is Draiman’s singing, whether he is doing the weird grunts in “Down with the Sickness” or beautiful lows and highs in “The Sound of Silence.”

Songs like “Down with the Sickness” and “Stricken” are fun and enjoyable in person, but they lack substance when compared to other rising metal bands of the early 2000s, such as Dream Theater and Opeth.

Disturbed’s early sound seems like a product of its time and doesn’t compete with other nu metal juggernauts, like System of a Down and Slipknot.

Modern Disturbed has changed lanes from a nu metal sound to a hard rock and heavy metal sound. This change was apparent in their album “Immortalized” with songs, such as “The Vengeful One” and the title track “Immortalized,” moving away from the teenage angst sound to a more traditional rock album, reminiscent of Metallica’s “Black Album.”

The instrumentation in the live performance itself was also an improvement for me. The band members were able to improvise and think of new ways to perform their instruments that were limited by the studio.

A big example of this was when they played the song “Stupify.” The studio version is cringe worthy because of the mixing and instrumentation. In a live setting, all of those issues were gone.

Finally, the band put out incredible energy with their stage presence.

The stage light show was coordinated with themes for the songs they played. This was further enhanced by a large screen behind the band playing different close-up shots of the band and images relating to the song they were performing.

Audience participation was high considering the low attendance rate. The audience only filled up about half of the Ford Center but were just as loud as the band. There was even a mosh pit going on in front of the stage when they ended the show with “Down with the Sickness.”

Disturbed is a band I cannot say I love, but they put on a show that makes every issue I have with them go away. They are an entry-level metal band and are more concerned with having fun than having music with deep meaning or rich substance, which is okay.

If you are a fan of Disturbed or have been starved of a real live show experience since COVID-19, I highly recommend seeing them live. Even if you are not much of a fan, I recommend going anyways as their sound guarantees a fun time.