REVIEW: Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and In Flames, Metro Radio Arena
It could almost be considered offensive to call an Avenged Sevenfold show a simple "gig".
It's a show, a spectacle, an event - something packed so full of anthemic, story-telling songs that the three-letter word just does not suffice.
Appearing at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena as part of the tour for their new album, The Stage, Avenged made it their business to make sure the city rocked, and rocked hard.
With sets from special guests (and heavy metal royalty) In Flames and Disturbed, the night was off to a loud, proud and frantic start.
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In Flames brought their unique Swedish brand of melodic death metal to the stage early in the evening. The place wasn't packed out for their set (it did start at 6.15pm) - but those who missed it were deprived of a support slot that was gritty, heavy and raw.
But it was the powerful and haunting performance of Disturbed that really got us ready for the main event. The shouts and applause for the Illinois group were almost as big as those for Avenged - and even those who wouldn't class themselves as fans could get involved and let themselves go for Down With The Sickness (trust me, everybody knows that one). It may have been a special guest slot, but it was a performance worthy of a headliner.
Avenged's frontman M. Shadows promised the waiting fans that the band would play songs from each of their seven albums - and they sure did deliver. With a set that spanned almost two hours, we were treated to a whistle-stop tour of some of the band's finest - starting with The Stage, Afterlife and Hail to the King.
To me, the men of Avenged have always seemed something of a mystery - and their onstage attitude was something I didn't expect. M. Shadows took the time to high five fans as he walked down the stage's runway, and paused numerous times between songs to chat to the fans, challenge them to join the circle pit and sing at the top of their lungs (we all did).
He reminded us that it had been six (SIX!) years since they last visited us in the North East. He promised they would make up for it with a special performance - and they did. Highlights for me were God Damn, Almost Easy and Nightmare, but if I'm being totally honest, I couldn't pick a song that didn't impress me.
So, to the encore. Oh, the encore. If I had to pick just one thing to give the band 10 out of 10 on, it's this. They picked three of their best tracks to make sure we ended the night on a high note.
I'll pause here to say that my favourite Avenged record is 2005's City of Evil (an oldie, but a goodie), so their performance of Bat Country was just a truly special moment.
The frontman bid us goodbye with another promise - that it wouldn't be another six years until we met again. And despite the lengthy set, we still wanted more. So I hope he's right.