As Avenged Sevenfold’s set started, the stage was draped in a black curtain. You could see balls of fire shooting from the silhouette of a giant Death Bat stage piece. As the curtain dropped and the intro to “Nightmare” began, the crowd erupted. The band walked out one at a time with lead guitarist Synyster Gates taking center stage under a spotlight. Lead singer M. Shadows joined him as he shouted “Nightmare” to open the song. The frantic fans on hand sang along so loud, they just about drowned him out.
Playing through their setlist, which included some lesser known fan favorites including “A Little Piece Of Heaven,” I was paying attention to how their new drummer Arin Ilejay fit in. This kid is the real deal. I was extremely impressed with his precision and skill, as well as how the band fed off him as every tight band should. There’s a reason A7X was chosen to headline this show, they are absolutely amazing, and the fans love them. M. Shadows could’ve taken the night off and let the crowd sing in his place. It was astonishing to watch.