Date: January 7th, 2017
Venue: 3Arena, Dublin
Line-up: Avenged Sevenfold + Disturbed
Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed, two of the leading bands in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement have teamed up for a huge trek across Europe to support The Stage, the surprise seventh album from Avenged Sevenfold, dropped in October with little to no hype or promotion behind it. Dublin was lucky enough to be the first stop on this mammoth tour.
Disturbed took to the stage after a modest introduction from guitarist Dan Donegan before blasting into ‘The Eye of the Storm’ from their latest album Immortalized. After a few newer tracks the band jumped back to their earlier material of ‘Prayer’, ‘Liberate’ and ‘Stupify’ which brought back memories for many show attendees who sang along. The generally heavier atmosphere was subdued briefly for a performance of the bands Grammy nominated cover of ‘The Sound of Silence’ provoking a deeply heartfelt performance from vocalist David Draiman.
An impressive fire display accompanied many of the bands tracks but nowhere was it on better display than on the aptly titled ‘Inside the Fire’ where it was sweeping across the stage and shooting up to the roof. Draiman attempted to get the crowd to bright out their phones and lighters for ‘The Light’ but didn’t quite have the effect that he was aiming for.
The three instrumentalists of the band were on fine form and looked to be having a thrilling time with their first performance of the new year. Draiman, while vocally was hard to fault, looked as if he was going through the motions and quite frankly just bored to be there, the only flaw on an otherwise exciting start to the night.
The Eye of the Storm
The Vengeful One
The Sound of Silence(Simon & Garfunkel cover)
Inside the Fire
Ten Thousand Fists
Down With the Sickness
In the music industry it’s hard to keep a secret, besides notable exceptions like Beyonce and David Bowie, dropping an album without anyone knowing that its coming is a mean feat. Avenged Sevenfold did just that with their seventh album The Stage dropped just a week after the title track single was released and among fake rumours of its name and release date. It was this title track which opened the bands set and also introduced us to the bands new live setup. It was much more theatrical than their previous shows, even getting the assistance of the producers of Cirque du Soleil. There were several screens set up (which were also used in part by Disturbed) to display related videos and images for each track, and also a large cube of screens with a spotlight at the bottom.
Going back to a live favourite ‘Afterlife’ we heard just how loud this crowd were, with vocalist M Shadows not even needing to sing the chorus. ‘Hail to the King’ was much better received than the bands previous show due to fans now being better equated with the song. With a large back catalog under their belt Shadows mentioned that with seven albums that means that there are seven types of fans that they have to cater for when choosing setlists; their solution cleverly enough was to include a song from each album. ‘To the End the Rapture’ from their debut Sounding the Seventh Trumpet to the various live debuts of The Stage tracks, there was literally something for everyone.
While the thought put behind that idea was well intentioned it also meant that if you weren’t a fan of some material you were likely to be bored for sections of the show. With five songs from their new album and a handful from previous album Hail to the King, some of the bands earlier fans may have been disappointed. Those live favourites were unfortunately left to the end for the bands encore when the blasted through ‘Bat Country’, the insanely twisted homage to the Rev ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ and oldie ‘Unholy Confessions’.
The new tour, album and stage setup had clearly lit a fire in the band who was excited to be performing for the Irish audience. The guitar pairing of Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates once again proved why they’re one of the best of their kind with playful leads and shredding solos all night, the screens above the stage also gave us some up-close looks as they played. New drummer Brooks Wackerman also proved his prowess with his own take on the bands material; he even received praise from Shadows who encouraged a little solo from him after some initial hesitation. Shadows was his usual charming self, happily engaging with the excitable crowd like how he upset that he didn’t have a good beard like some members of the audience, as well as how chuffed he was at the turnout.
Hail to the King
To End the Rapture
Warmness on the Soul (Instrumental)
A Little Piece of Heaven