Nine years is a long time to wait. That’s how long it has been since I last saw Avenged Sevenfold, when they were the main support to Iron Maiden at Twickenham. Since then, they’ve headlined Download, released two absolute bangers of albums – and Hail To The King – and have gone through more drummers than you can shake a shitty stick at. So, for the first time in a long time, I had no idea what to expect. Further fuelling my curiosity was the promise of a stage show the likes of which had never been seen before. Following a fucking woeful support slot for Disturbed – I’m tempted to write another review just to destroy them – two massive video screens powered into life, each showing a massive skeletal robot watching over the crowd. Combine this with the space themed choice of music – ‘Black Hole Sun’, ‘Rocket Man’, etc – and Avenged’s most ambitious production to date had begun.
When the lights dim following Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, the full extent of Avenged’s production is revealed. Seven massive video screens, along with a floating cube in the middle. It’s quite simply dazzling. However, I’m not here for the stage show, I’m here to mosh about like the Tazmanian Devil on ket. So, kicking off the show with ‘The Stage’ and ‘Afterlife’ just about does the trick. Cherry picking the best moments from new album The Stage alongside classic material and some rarities, the set is everything you could ever want from an Avenged set. New song ‘Paradigm’ slots perfectly in with a rare airing of ‘Chapter Four’ – not a single person in the venue went more mental than I did – and the bluesy ‘Angels’ provides a welcome pause for breath after the crushing last two minutes of ‘Buried Alive’.
At this point in the set we arrive at a run of songs that can only be described as fucking ridiculous. Beginning with ‘Nightmare’ – during which this writer lost his shit so hard he couldn’t walk properly for a week afterwards – before going into ‘God Damn’ and ‘Almost Easy’. Seriously, fucking behave.
Curiously, the band choose to end the main set with a pair of songs from Hail to the King, namely ‘Planets’ and ‘Acid Rain’. Normally I’d throw a strop and walk about, but the songs fit so perfectly with the overall concept of the show I can find no reason to complain. Especially when the encore consists of ‘Bat County’, ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ and ‘Unholy Confessions’.
It had been nine years since my last Avenged show and this gig made every second of the wait worthwhile. The band are more slick and professional than they were at Twickenham, and the production was frankly mind blowing. Hell, it was too big to fit the whole thing into the Hydro. Let that sink in. The Stage has marked the start of an ambitious new era for Avenged, and I cannot wait to see where it takes them.