GIG REVIEW: Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed & In Flames Live at O2 Arena, London
The heavy metal community came together when Avenged Sevenfold brought The Stage World Tour 2017 to the O2 Arena in London on the 21st January with In Flames and Disturbed in tow. This is an event I have waited for since the announcement in July 2016. The bands definitely provided a night of pure, memorable entertainment.
First up was Swedish In Flames who warmed up the crowd with their short set opening with “Bullet Ride” comprising of a mix of growling and melodic vocals provided by Anders Friden. Originally developing the genre of melodic death metal, the band played high energy songs like “Cloud Connected” and “Paralyzed” providing memorable riffs by guitarist Niclas Engelin. This was quite noticeable in “The Truth” taken from their new album ‘Battles.’
The crowd seemed to have enjoyed their performance, but lacked interaction. Maybe because their sound has changed over time from melodic death metal to prog or the fact that the walkway was lacking adequate lighting especially during the guitar solos. The band did not offer a euphoric experience, but did leave me wanting to hear more. To an almost full venue I think In Flames deserved to have a slightly longer set to showcase their musical style over 26 years.
The hardcore metal community welcomed American band Distrubed with a fantastic reception of loud cheering when they hit the stage, ignited with the use of pyrotechnics creating twenty foot flames. The crowd went mental when they kicked things off with “The Eye of the Storm” creating various small circle pits throughout the packed out venue. It was amazing to witness such excitement when previously the band was lacking energy a few years back. David Draiman was on top form with his soaring vocals and energy throughout, nailing every single song.
Guitarist Dan Donegan and bass player John Moyer bounced around stage with their invigorating energy, whilst drummer Mike Wengren hit hard, sending tremors through the venue. I was fascinated to see Donengan finger tapping during “Inside the Fire” and shredding that killer solo in “Stricken”, prompting nods from the crowd. The transition from “Stupify” to their rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was effortless and sent the crowd into a state of ecstasy. With everyone on their feet the arena was illuminated with mobile phone torches and the focus fell solely on Draiman’s powerful vocals.
Crowd participation was fluent, especially during “The Light” where the crowd sang in unison with mobile phones lit up when the words “the light” were sung. The band offered older tracks like “Prayer” and “Liberate” and ended things on a high with “Down With The Sickness” when the circle pit really opened up from front to back with a few odd shoes flying around in the excitement.
The band we all came to see, Avenged Sevenfold entered the stage to a backing track of the late David Bowie’s Space Oddity creating a sense of anticipation, which gave me goose bumps. Video screens taking fans into space stretched across the rear of the stage and along the walk way gave the crowd the opportunity to get up close and personal. They immediately ripped into the title track of their new album ‘The Stage’. From start to finish singer M. Shadows showcased how versatile his voice can be from harsh metalcore-style growls to clean, melodic vocal lines. This was demonstrated when they played songs from each of their seven albums to appeal to all A7X fans from the early days to the present day from the likes of “To End the Rapture” to“Acid Rain.”
Furthermore, the guitar playing talent of lead guitarist Synyster Gates was undeniable, being able to perform finger-twisting licks along with finger tapping and some serious shredding as heard in “Chapter Four.” Not forgetting the instrumental of “Warmness of the Soul” coupled with rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance’s melodies, the atmosphere was electric and all eyes were on Gates’ hypnotic guitar playing.
Crowd participation was satisfactory, so Shadows dedicated “Hail to the Kings” to the audience. In addition, the crowd went mental during top track “Nightmare” with everyone on their feet jumping to this high energy performance. This swiftly flowed into a drum solo by Brooks Wackerman showcasing his progressive style mixed with fast double bass kicks and blast beats. Finally, feeling the vibrations travelling through the floor as the crowd stamped their feet for more, the band returned to play three encore songs which included “A Little Piece of Heaven.”
Overall, In Flames were well received by A7X fans as the venue was almost to full capacity, something you don’t see for the first support band. However, I feel it was Disturbed that stole the show. The crowd was wild and didn’t need much encouragement to get involved. Nevertheless, A7X provided a night of entertainment that was not to be missed. If you have not seen either of these bands then it’s time you caught a show on The Stage World Tour!