Avenged Sevenfold stormed the stage in Manchester

Posted on 18 January 2017
By Frank Ralph
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There are a few things that are abundantly clear when you witness Avenged Sevenfold live.

Firstly their influences. They are worn proudly on their sleeves from the obvious nods to Metallica and Megadeth to M Shadows ‘Axl-isms’ when performing. This is by no means a bad thing, they’ve taken all the good stuff from some of the best bands that came before them, put their own unique spin on things and produced some amazing material – with last years concept album The Stage being the latest release in their sizeable arsenal.

Secondly you can’t help notice how big they’ve gotten. They have over the last 16-17 years produced 7 studio albums and become a staple festival headliner across the globe. They’ve really gone big this time with an undercard that gave us a great warm-up from Sweden’s In Flames and an absolute barnstormer of a set from Disturbed. That’s not all though, the stage production was immense. Huge screens displayed futuristic apocalypse, skulls and eyeballs on sticks, a walkway that took them deep into the crowd, where they keenly interacted with excited fans – M Shadows in particular leaning over for high fives throughout the set – and a giant hovering cube that on occasion follows members of the band down the walkway.

Their game has been upped. Big time.

Other than a slight slip-up when dedicating ‘Hail to the King’ to Manchester United’s goalkeeping metalhead David De Gea, the band had the crowd on their side for the whole night. Singing along, fists in the air enjoying every single moment. Opening with The Stage and playing a 19-song set that included such highlights as Afterlife, Nightmare and ‘one for you to all go crazy to’ God Damn they didn’t put a foot wrong all night. There were even two sunken pits of fans stood in the stage either side of the drummer and each and every one of them looked like they were having the times of their lives.

“So you’re all just gonna turn up wrecked tomorrow then huh? I like that.” – M Shadows

We like that too. After all that’s what Monday nights are for right? To have your face-melted by the duel attack of Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates. Get blown away by the sheer impact of an arena show and sing your heart out for 2 hours. This gig was held on what is commonly known as Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year. It was far from it.

It was also a great sight to see a giant inflatable prop appear towards the end of the show. It was by no means an Eddie or a Bomber but it was a pleasing throwback to the heyday of big metal shows when the giant astronaut appeared. The instrumental ‘Warmness on the Soul’ sounded exquisite and they could have possibly set the world record for most air-guitaring people in the same place at various points throughout the night especially during ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Bat Country’.

So in summary we were given a stunning line-up, a headline band that are on fire at the moment – with a massive production and unbeatable musicianship right across the board. What more could you possibly want from a gig?