Disturbed – Spark Arena: March 15, 2024 (Concert Review)

The crowd piling into Spark Arena on a wet Autumn evening were an eclectic bunch all there to see Disturbed rip through their classic alt metal set list. There were more than a few cargo pants and a lot of various pieces of merch featuring “The Guy” – the official mascot of Disturbed – showing that not only could they still draw a crowd 30 years after the band formed, but they could also draw a loyal one.

Shepherds Reign

Once inside we were treated to opening act, as lead vocalist Filiva’a James said mid-way through their set, Shepherds Reign: “…a metal band from South Auckland and we sing in Samoan”.

Shepherds ReignThey were one of the most well received opening acts I have seen in a long while, with not only the groovy Polynesian tinged metal from the twin guitar attack of Gideon Voon and  Oliver Leupolu and the rock solid rhythm section of bassist  Joseph Oti-George and drummer Shaymen Rameka but an additional Polynesian drum section and dancers, fire spinners and more. I wish I knew more about Samoan culture to be able to accurately describe all the different parts that occurred, but it was all captivating.

Aiga was a highlight for me with great dynamics and some fantastic vocals really highlighting the bands metal bone fides in one great package. If you haven’t heard them, this would be a great place to start.

Shepherds Reign seemed like they were genuinely having a great time, and they even got the crowd all involved with the world’s loudest “cha-hoo”s (yet to be officially verified, but it was loud and super fun). “This is the most people we have ever played in front of”, said James. With this type of production and the songs to go with it, that won’t be the case for long. One to watch, and they are playing CubaDupa in Wellington next week – check them out if you are in the capital for that one.


The stage was now set for Disturbed, albeit extremely minimally set with just the drum riser and impressive drum kit on the stage – no amps or stacks for the guitar and bass, who it turned out were wirelessly DI’d to the sound desk. It really was quite stark and empty, and remained so (aside from the introduction of a piano, timpani and string duo for the now obligatory cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence mid-way through the set.)

DisturbedAfter a bevy of classic rock hits rang out throughout the arena, culminating in Jimi Hendrix’s Fire, Disturbed hit the stage. David Draiman front and centre as he was for most of the night in a Morpheus/Genghis Kahn type coat for opener, Hey You. The crowd were immediately into it, pumping fists in time with the pulsing beat and making noise as implored to by Draiman. The rest band were locked in in the first part of the set, playing to sides of the stage as well as those squeezed against the barrier at the front.

As I mentioned at the top, Disturbed can still draw a crowd, and Spark Arena was all but full for them – with seating and the floor all being designated as GA – meaning there were no assigned seats. This worked well and avoided the inevitable shuffle as people sit in the wrong place “by mistake”.

Disturbed settled into their work with a greatest hits type of setlist – Stupefy, 10,000 Fists and Bad Man all featuring early in the set. Despite these massive singles, the set felt quite disjointed with a break of between 30 and 45 seconds between each song with a backing track playing. This really took any momentum the band were able to pick up out of the equation, and for me that was highly frustrating. As the band worked through The Game, Indestructible and Don’t Tell Me the crowd began to get a little restless.

If Shepherds Reign took the opportunity to make a bunch of new fans, Disturbed didn’t need to. Guitarist Dan Donegan, bassist John Moyer and drummer Mike Wengren all took solos throughout the evening to applause and rhythmic clapping, but again for mine, this along with a couple of very well-meaning monologues from Draiman really took the wind out of the sales of the show (appreciating that the subject matter of addiction and depression are important to address and it was great to see the graphics updated with the 1737 number for New Zealand up there).

The highlight for me was the cover of Genesis’ Land of Confusion with Draiman’s vocal fitting well with the cruncher version delivered by the band and the call and response part of the woah’s coming from the audience – nice!


The highlight for most however was Down With The Sickness – the biggest single in the band’s arsenal, and they deployed it with aplomb as the second song in a three song encore. Would have been great to have the energy from this number in the rest of the set.

Again, the songs were mostly good and delivered with passion, it was just a weird rhythm with the gaps in between, and exacerbated by the emptiness of the stage and perhaps by the lack of a camera feed of the action for those seated further back to be able to see some of the detail of what was going on.

All that being said, Disturbed did what they set out to do and gave their fans what they wanted, and more power to them. Not for me though I’m afraid, but that’s ok – there were 10,000 people that had a wonderful time. Oo ah ah ah ah.

Gareth Mayhew

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Jeong: 


Shepherds Reign:

Disturbed Set List:

Hey You


Ten Thousand Fists


Are You Ready

Bad Man

A Reason to Fight(Intro with David voiceover… more )

Guitar Solo

Land of Confusion (Genesis cover)

The Vengeful One

Drum Solo

The Game

The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)

Bass Solo


Don’t Tell Me (with Jennie Skulander)

The Light




Down With the Sickness

Inside the Fire