Back in July 2016 Avenged Sevenfold announced a massive UK arena tour for January 2017 alongside their friends in Disturbed and In Flames, tickets started selling out in minutes leading to a second show at the O2 Arena in London being added straight away and then with no warning at midnight on the 28th October Avenged Sevenfold released their surprise seventh studio album ‘The Stage’ whilst also announcing big plans for the stage show of their world tour.
Tonight I headed down to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff to catch The Stage world tour which happens to be one of the biggest metal tours to come to Cardiff in some time and Avenged sevenfold brought their full stage production with them and invited their friends in Disturbed and In Flames to support them throughout the tour.
Doors for the show opened at 5.30pm and when we arrived at the venue at 6.30pm there were still massive queues of thousands of people outside wrapping right around every corner of the venue, luckily we managed to get in pretty quickly and entered the Motorpoint arena half way into In Flames set, a band I have not seen on the live circuit since way back in 2009.
In Flames have recently released their twelfth studio album ‘Battles’ however tonight during their 8 song set they only chose to play ‘The End’ and ‘The Truth’ from that album whilst filling the rest of the set with classic songs from their back catalogue such as ‘Bullet Ride’, ‘Where The Dead Ships Dwell’, ‘Paralyzed’, ‘Deliver Us’ and ‘Take This Life’.
Through their set In Flames took full control of the massive stage they were playing on and the T platform that Avenged Sevenfold brought with them and the likes of frontman Anders Friden and dual guitarists Bjorn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin spent pretty much every given opportunity charging up and down the platform jamming out in front of the eager crowd.
It was great to get in on time to see a bit of In Flames and they did a great job of opening up such an massive show and I personally can’t wait for them to head back to the UK for a headline tour and play more songs from their outstanding ‘Battles’ album.
By the time Disturbed took to the stage the Motorpoint Arena was packed to the rafters with thousands of fans chanting “Disturbed” over and over again and the guitar god Dan Donegan started took to the stage first with all lights focused on him as he smashed out an epic guitar solo as the rest of the band took to the stage for ‘The Eye Of The Storm’ which was followed on by ‘Immortalized’, ‘The Game’ and various other Disturbed hits old and new.
The set Disturbed played was very similar to the one they played back in June at the Download Festival, the stage show was also pretty much the same with the band bringing the fire with them and it worked perfect in the Arena set up of tonight’s show and frontman David Draiman was in complete control charging all over the stage whilst also making good use of the T platform.
Disturbed had a massive 15 song set and the likes of ‘Prayer’, ‘Liberate’, ‘Stupify’, ‘Inside The Fire’ Stricken’ ‘Indestructible’ and ‘Ten Thousand Fists’ went down extremely well and had the mosh pit flowing well and the security guards work cut out due to the amount of crowd surfers launching themselves through the air, yet it was the epic cover of Simon And Garfunkels ‘Sound Of Silence’ which gained the biggest response of the night with frontman David Draiman asking the crowd to all hold their phones up in the air and sing-a-long , their performance of ‘The Light’ was also equally as epic as thousands of people held their phones up with the torch shining out.
The set came to a close with ‘Down With The Sickness’ a song which pretty much started things for Disturbed back in the year 2000 and it was so good to see thousands of people going crazy for the song 17 years on.
It has been quite a few years since Disturbed have played an inside show in the UK and tonight they were on top form they brought the fire and smoke with them and used it appropriately, David Dramain proved that after all these years he is still one of the best vocalists in the metal scene, whilst Dan Donegan, John Moyer and Mike Wengren proved that they are up there as the best guitarists, bassiests and drummers within the industry, and I just hope Disturbed don’t leave it as long before returning to the UK.
Up next was time for headliners Avenged Sevenfold to take to the stage, a band who released their debut album ‘Sounding The Seventh Trumpet’ back in 2001 and started playing the toilet sized venues across the world and have pretty much worked solidly ever since and are now at a stage where they can headline festivals and arenas across the world which shows that hard work in the music industry certainly does pay off.
The Stage show Avenged Sevenfold brought with them was truly epic as they had 9 massive screens at the back of the stage which features live videos and collection of pre made videos and graphics for the show and an impressive lighting show to go with it, on stage things were more minimal with the relevant band members and instruments on stage and a selection of VIP fans either side of the stage in mini pits.
The band opened up with the title track from their latest album ‘The Stage’ and new drummer Brooks Wackerman took to the stage first which was quickly followed up with Synyster Gates showing off his skills with the epic guitar lead which then saw Johnny Christ, Zacky Vengeance and M Shadows storm the stage.
The band made maximum use of the T platform tonight with M Shadows running back and forth throughout the whole show whilst Zacky Vengeance, Synyster Gates and Johnny Christ took it in turns to walk down the platform with the three of them all coming down and jamming together on the odd occasion.
Early into the set M Shadows talks about how Avenged Sevenfold now has seven albums and how he they are going to please the fans tonight with songs from each and every one of those albums, he also says how much he loves the Motorpoint Arena as the venue is mainly a standing venue with only a small selection of seats on the balcony’s at the rear of the venue.
Set list wise M Shadows stuck to his guns and Avenged Sevenfold played a massive greatest hits set but also managed to fit in 5 tracks from their latest album ‘The Stage’ which was good to see on the live circuit as ‘The Stage’ is the most progressive Avenged Sevenfold album ever created and a lot of the songs were clearly written for the live circuit.
Classic songs like ‘Afterlife’, ‘Hail To The King’, ‘To End The Rapture’, ‘Bat Country’ and ‘A Little Piece OF Heaven’ went down extremely well tonight with the sold out crowd singing-a-long word to word with M Shadows and during the epic ‘Nightmare’ a lucky fan got to go on stage and sing the backing vocals and Johnny Christ was feeling a bit under the weather and was losing his voice and fair play to the fan as he did amazing.
During the song ‘Planets’ things got truly epic as Avenged Sevenfold inflated a massive skeleton in a spaceman costume and had him float across the crowd at the back of the venue and it was so good to along with the massive screen and lighting show happening on stage which gave the show a spot on 360 feel.
The show came to an end with a three song encore which consisted of ‘Bat Country’, ‘A Little Piece OF Heaven’ and ‘Unholy Confessions’ and what an encore it was and what a perfect end to a perfect metal package tour.
Overall tonight was one of those dream package tours come true as it is not often you get a tour where you are equally as excited for each band and tonight In Flames, Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold all delivered, the security staff had their work cut out as the crowd was extremely excitable moshing and crowd surfing throughout and all in all it was a perfect night of music and proved that rock is alive and kicking.
In Flames 4/5
Avenged Sevenfold 5/5
Review By Trigger