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Disturbed at Ruoff Music Center on August 2, 2023

The Take Back Your Life Tour

Noblesville, IN

Photos by Laura Fox (LLFoxphotos)

Review by Dave Fox

Although I’ve always liked Disturbed’s music, I have a much better appreciation for them after seeing them live for the first time. The intensity of the show, the pyro, the emotions, and all the fan love all made for an unforgettable night at Ruoff Music Center on Saturday, September 2, 2023.

The set began with the band members taking their places behind a huge white curtain as flashing colored lights intermittently lit up their silhouettes. The crowd roared with anticipation. When the curtain dropped, frontman David Draiman stood, perfectly still, in the center of the stage with his fist in the air. He was wearing his trademark long black vest and combat boots and looking serious AF. When the beginning notes of “Hey You” began to play, Draiman, along with Dan Donegan on guitar, Mike Wengren on drums, and John Moyer on bass, began to lead concertgoers on a 2-hour emotional rollercoaster.

The 14-song regular set (not counting guitar, drum, and bass solos and a sing-along of “Happy Birthday” to Wengren), had a great mix of songs from the band’s 26-year history. Most of the songs were heavy and loud, and either angry or defiant, which is kind of Disturbed’s thing. But after “Bad Man,” the pace slowed for “A Reason to Fight,” which is a power ballad about the demons of addiction and depression.

As the lights came up, Draiman stood alone at the front of the stage, hands covering his face. We could tell he was working to compose himself, and when he finally looked up, we could see the tears streaming down his face. The crowd cheered and clapped their support, and he began to speak about his struggles with addiction and depression, revealing that he nearly committed suicide this past February. He said that his son, and all the fans, are what gave him a reason to fight. He also brought the audience into the conversation, asking for a show of hands for anyone who had experienced depression or addiction, or knew someone who did. Almost every hand in the audience went up. Laura and I wondered how he could put himself through the emotional distress at every show; maybe the message is so important to him that it’s worth reliving the anguish. Or maybe it's therapeutic. Whatever the reason, I don't think anyone left the Ruoff Music Center unaffected.

Draiman then left the stage and Donegan began a killer guitar solo which started out feeling sort of melancholy but soon became more upbeat. This led to their cover of “Land of Confusion” by Genesis, which immediately brought the mood back up.

The next big mood shift came with “Sound of Silence,” one of the best damn covers ever. Without even being asked, everyone lifted their cell phones up to create a sea of light. After a brief but impressive solo by dreaded bassist Moyer (yes, I went there), things got heavy again with “Indestructible.” “The Light” was next, which is a mellow tune, but has a positive message so it didn’t feel so somber.

The set ended with “Stricken,” but very few fans left the venue, and Disturbed’s three-song encore was worth waiting for. My favorite song of the whole set was “Down with the Sickness,” and I expected that to be the last one, but in keeping with their suicide prevention message, Disturbed played “Stricken” last. I thought it was a fitting ending to an incredible night.

Before I close, I need to talk about the pyro, which was exceptionally well done. It started out as single rows of flames behind and above the band, then grew and morphed as the set progressed. In addition to the rows of flames, there were explosions, fireballs, and inverted sparklers that rained beautiful, glowing sparks. I thought Nickleback’s pyro was amazing, but Disturbed’s made theirs look like a weenie roast!

Noblesville was the last scheduled stop on the “Take Back Your Life” tour, but Disturbed will be playing rescheduled dates in Raleigh, North Carolina and Phoenix.

For all things Disturbed, check out the website below:

If you or someone you know is struggling with any sort of mental health issue, there are many resources at NAMI:


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