Tuesday night, I went to my first Avenged Sevenfold concert. I had only ever been to concerts in small venues, like Workplay in Birmingham, so Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood was a new experience.
After a long drive, during which my brother and I listened to Deftones and Avenged Sevenfold albums, we got off the interstate in Atlanta and were immediately dumped into what can only be described as the ghetto part of town.
Men and women (and a few children) were screaming or holding up orange flags trying to convince us of where we should park and that we would be “right across from the amphitheater.”
Well, we found a place to park (it cost us five dollars) and then found out that, yes, we were across from the amphitheater, but across from the back of it.
And you can’t get in from the back, just in case you were wondering.
So we walked the four or so blocks to the (front of the) amphitheater with a mass of people in front and behind us (all of which were wearing at least some black).
Every block or so we would come across a person begging for change who looked homeless and about every half a block we would come across someone selling (or buying) tickets.
Once we got to the front of the amphitheater, we found out there was parking. Provided for free.
“Well that’s okay,” I said. “We only paid 5 bucks.”
“But we could have parked for free,” was Zach’s smart reply.
So we got in, showed our tickets and got patted down because this is Avenged Sevenfold we’re talking about. Moshing was a given and the event staff probably didn’t want to get knifed by a rabid fan.
Ghost B.C., a Swedish heavy metal band, opened for Avenged Sevenfold. They were grown men dressed in these weird clergy costumes and facemasks. We were not impressed by them or their music. We skipped most of their performance by being late.
During the intermission (is that what they call it at concerts?) we got hungry after observing that there were kids no older than 10 or 11 in the audience (who came with their parents) and that every time the wind shifted it was like being hit with a wall created from various body sprays, cigarette smoke, and other controlled substances. So we went to find something to eat but got sidetracked when we heard Chino Moreno’s lovely voice start screaming from onstage.
Deftones is one of my favorite bands so this was really what I had been waiting for so when we got back to our seats I had a lot of fun singing along (terribly) and enjoying the greatness that is the lead singer of Deftones. Chino was hopping around and slamming the mic to the ground after a good song.
But (and I know this is stupid to say) I couldn’t really understand him. I love Deftones’ albums and really enjoy their music but live is a whole lot different than in a recording studio where there aren’t hundreds of screaming fans and Chino is throwing the mic around.
So Deftones finished up and we went to get some food from the food stands. When the curtain hiding the set of Avenged Sevenfold was revealed, the crowd went crazy (though not moshing crazy yet).
Then the lights went out and screaming worthy of haunted houses ensued. The curtains parted and the set for Avenged Sevenfold amazed me. It was like they were playing in a castle (or a church) and there was pyrotechnics, fireworks, and some other pretty stupendous features.
They opened with the song Shepard of Fire, which if you’ve played zombies on Call of Duty, Black Ops II, you should be able to recognize, then welcomed those who were seeing them in concert for the first time with Welcome to the Family.
The amphitheater was filled with hundreds of voices joining in on the chorus, welcoming the family. In a word, it was divine (not sacrilegious).
It was the Hail to the King tour, so of course, they played that song. The lights went dark and when they started playing, the doors that were built into the set opened and out came the king that can be seen of the album cover of Hail to the King, with his head moving back and forth like he approved of the concert and the craziness that was the audience.
Several times, lighters could be seen across the audience as some of the more mellow songs of Avenged Sevenfold were played, and especially when the band honored dead band mate Jimmy Sullivan.
Avenged Sevenfold played two sets and then the lights went down. We stood there for a minute, the beginnings of shouts of encore starting up, and the lights still stayed dim. The crowd began to bang on the back of the plastic seats and it sounded like thunder was ripping apart the night sky but the stage still stayed dark. Five minutes go by, then ten, with the crowd demanding more the whole time.
“Do you want some more?” M. Shadows’ voice came over the sound system and the crowd went wild (moshing wild this time).
“I said, do you want some … more?” The audience was even louder when they responded this time.
Thus began the encore, and just before it was over, Zach and I left in order to beat the crowds out of the amphitheater.
All in all, it was a great concert experience with a whole lot of screaming thrown in for good effect.
I would definitely recommend seeing Avenged Sevenfold live if you ever get the chance (but not Deftones - they’re better on the CD).