When it was announced that Avenged Sevenfold were headling two nights at The O2 and taking Disturbed out as their main support, heads turned. “Are Avenged Sevenfold an O2 sized band?” / “Are Avenged bigger than Disturbed now?” We decided the only way to find answers to these questions was to go to the show and find out for ourselves.
Opening act In Flames were a little bit of a disappointment. However you felt about their last album, their previous work is absolute gold, and to have the two juxtaposed together in a live setting was a stark reminder of “the good old days” when In Flames were one of the best bands on the planet. Their performance at the O2 was good, but we can remember when they would wipe the floor with anyone they were put on a bill with.
When it comes to Disturbed, you kind of have to take yourself out of your own mind for a bit. If you start to actually think about what you’re watching you realise it’s a 4ft man in a 5ft coat, essentially scat-singing over some fairly basic 00s nu-metal. If you can look past that though, Disturbed were absolutely phenomenal. As well as having songs that everyone there knew every word to, and some undeniably entertaining pyrotechnics, David Draiman‘s crowd interaction, though sporadic, seemed to be exactly what the crowd expected. From the theatrical calls of “my brothers and sisters” to demanding the crowd raise their phone lights during ‘The Light‘ and ‘The Sound Of Silence‘, Draiman held the crowd in the palm of his hand.
There are some questions, however, as to whether Disturbed are just a legacy band. It’s all very well Draiman talking about the “album cycle” but when you’re on tour and you’re playing 5 songs from your last album (one of which is a cover and another that’s under 1.30 long) in a 15-song setlist, those questions start to sound like they hold more and more weight.
By now you’ve probably heard a lot of talk regarding Avenged Sevenfold’s production by now. So we are going to leave that for a second and talk about the band themselves. Avenged have always been one of the most technical bands to have come out of metalcore, err, ever, and to be playing music that fast and that heavy for nearly two hours is no mean feat. The entire band was absolutely on fire, nailing every single second of every song and hats off to the sound engineer because they sounded incredible. Synyster Gates and Matt Shadows in particular, have guitar and vocal lines that would be difficult to do for any person, but both made everything they did look easy, Gates looking so cool he almost looked bored in parts. New drummer Brooks Wackerman is easily in the Top 2 drummers to have passed through Avenged Sevenfold’s lineup and even just from listening to him play live you realize just how bloody hard he hits the drums as he plays.
Now, onto the production. With Avenged Sevenfold bringing not just an enormous cube that moved into the crowd for images to be projected on, but an enormous astronaut that hovered ominously above them, it feels like just turning up and playing is becoming a bit of a relic for stadium-sized bands. Everything; the lights; the images projected onto the screens; the music that played before they were even on stage; was crafted to make the whole experience something more than just watching a band play their songs. Shows like this are going to become the gold standard for rock bands this size, and Avenged Sevenfold are now going to become known as one of the best bands at it.
Are Avenged Sevenfold. big enough to be playing two nights at The O2 Arena? Apparently.
Are Avenged Sevenfold good enough to be deserving of a spot there? Unquestionably.