Local hard rockers Breaking Benjamin return for meet-and-greet at … – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

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By Patrick Kernan [email protected]
Bonnie Brock and Elizabeth O’Brien waited outside of Gallery of Sound with Pop-Tarts to give to Breaking Benjamin.
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Breaking Benjamin singer Benjamin Burnley, left, signs Nikki Abbott of Philadelphia are at the meet-and-greet of the band at Gallery of Sound on Friday. Abbott is getting the signature tattooed on her arm today.
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Hundreds of fans line the parking lot of Gallery of Sound and Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township for the Breaking Benjamin meet-and-greet on Saturday.
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Wildly popular alternative rock band Breaking Benjamin made a hometown appearance Friday night to celebrate the release of their new album “Aurora,” and it drew hundreds of fans to the Wilkes-Barre location of Gallery of Sound.
The band, originally formed in Wilkes-Barre in 1999, took a short break from their tour, which only started Thursday night with a performance in Allentown, to stop for a meet-and-greet at the record store.
Store owner Joe Nardone said it was great to have the band back in the store.
“These guys have been real good to the Gallery of Sound from day one, pretty much, they’ve always made time to do an in-store (event) at the Gallery of Sound,” Nardone said. “We appreciate it, and it doesn’t hurt that we sell a whole bunch.”
Nardone said the store tries to do as many events like these, but there’s something special when Breaking Benjamin stops by.
“This is about as big as it gets,” Nardone said.
One look at the line of fans outside the store showed that he was definitely right. Hundreds of fans lined up outside the store, with music lovers even lining up along Mundy Street.
Near the front of that line were superfans Bonnie Brock, of Mifflinville, and Elizabeth O’Brien, of Berwick. The pair, who had seen the band more than a dozen times, came decked out in Breaking Ben merchandise and even made a care package for lead singer Benjamin Burnley — who they said loves strawberry Pop-Tarts.
“Ben’s lyrics touch me in a way like nothing else does,” O’Brien says. “When he sings, it really hits your heart. It’s him, it’s you and the music.”
They went to see the band’s performance in Allentown on Thursday evening — it was Brock’s 18th time seeing them — but now they were looking to get their new copies of “Aurora” signed by the band.
Nikki Abbott, of Philadelphia, didn’t only want her record signed. She had Burnley sign her arm, right above a tattoo she got in honor of the band. With tears in her eyes, she said how much it meant to meet the band.
“I’ve seen them 12 or 13 times, and had the opportunity… and I was like ‘adventure day,’” she said with a laugh, explaining her decision to trek to the area from Philadelphia.
Abbott said she planned to get the signature tattooed over on Saturday.
Nardone said he expected about 600 fans to come through the store on Friday evening to meet the band.
Breaking Benjamin is currently on tour with nu metal band Korn in support of “Aurora,” with dates still planned for New England, Canada and much of the Midwest.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan


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