Feb. 23, 2005

Disturbed Rallies ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Benefit Show

By Randy J. Klodz

The members of Chicago-native rockers were deeply hurt by the tragic Dec. 8, 2004 shooting death of former Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott at Alrose Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio.

In order to raise funds for the family of Abbott, and three others killed in the shooting, Disturbed rallied the help of rock bands SOiL, Drowning Pool, Anthrax, music gear companies, promoters, and security personal to donate their time and/or funds to produce a benefit concert which hit Chicago’s sold-out Aragon Ballroom on Feb. 23.

Although SOiL, Drowning Pool and Anthrax warmed the stage for Disturbed--which features David Draiman (vocals), Dan Donegan (guitar), John Moyer (bass) and Mike Wengren (drums)--the main focus of this benefit concert wasn’t the hometown headliners. The main focal point of the show was the late Dimebag Darrell and Darrell’s former bandmate and brother Vinne Paul, who drummed with his brother in Pantera and Damageplan.

Disturbed opened its set with a 5-minute tribute video that featured random backstage tour footage and live concert footage of Dimebag performing on stage with Disturbed. On tours where one of Dimebag’s bands and Disturbed were both on the bill, Dimebag was known to appear on stage to lend his guitar talents to a cover version of “Walk” one of Pantera’s hit songs.

Toward the end of Disturbed’s set, just after blowing through the hit song “Stupify,” Vinne Paul took the drum kit to a raucous reaction from the crowd, marking the first night Paul had been able to take the stage since he witnessed the death of his brother.

In loving memory of his late brother, Paul helped lead Disturbed and a stage full of other artists-- which included members of all the other bands on the bill; Patrick Lachman the lead singer of Damageplan; and as Draiman announced, Brian “Head” Welch former guitarist for Korn and an undisclosed member of Slipknot--for a cover of the hit Pantera song “Walk.” Vinnie Paul also played drums on the Pantera cover “A New Level” during Anthrax’s set.

Disturbed’s set also featured hard-hitting versions of hit songs “Believe,” “Prayer,” “The Sickness,” and “Voices.” Before busting out a crowd-raising version of “Intoxication,” Draiman greeted the sold-out Chicago faithful with his usual “Hello my brothers, my sisters, my blood,” as the 4,000 people in attendance started chanting “Dimebag.”

Disturbed is known for ended each of the band’s shows with the crowd chanting “Disturbed,” but Draiman decided that for this special night, Disturbed should leave the stage with the crowd chanting “Dimebag,” a fitting end to a night of hard-rock music at its best. Dimebag must have been smiling down.

Disturbed is currently in the studio working on its third album, the follow-up to 2002’s hit album “Believe.” For more information on Disturbed log on to www.disturbed1.com.

Disturbed Photo: Paul Natkin