As good as all the bands performed, it was Avenged Sevenfold that stole the show. Sharing the top billing with Disturbed, the tour opted to put the latter in the final slot, though either could be justified in handling the marquis finale spot – and that is not a knock on Disturbed, who also kicked major ass.
Avenged Sevenfold’s set began with a man falling to his death, noose around his neck, where he remained hanging front center stage throughout their opening track “Nightmare” from their newest album, which carries the same name. The band immediately kept the adrenalin pumping in the crowd as they went into a charged presentation of “Critical Acclaim” that had Sevenfold’s energetic singer M. Shadows leading the arena with repeated fists in the air and chants – a show of strong command as the eager fans followed his every direction in unison. Shadows, whose vocals were spot on, then acknowledge the newbies in the crowd with the apropos “Welcome to the Family” while guitarists Synyster Gates continued to blaze away, wowing the most snobby of guitar critics.
At some point in Sevenfold’s set, Shadows also made mention of the band’s former drummer, James Sullivan, otherwise known as “The Rev”, who had passed away last December of 2009. M. Shadows told the crowd how much he misses his best friend of eighteen years while a jumbo image of Sullivan appeared on the backdrop of the stage where it remained for the next few songs. Shadows later acknowledged, and thanked, drummer Mike Portnoy – an inspiration of Sullivan’s – for filling in and helping the band move forward. Avenged Sevenfold’s set also included “Afterlife” and “Unholy Confessions” before ending on a high note with “Almost Easy”. From beginning to end, the band gelled incredibly well with Zacky Vengeance accompanying Gates with intricate guitar harmonies and bassist Johnny Christ and Portnoy providing a thunderous rhythm section, infusing each song with that precise punch that Sevenfold is known for. Once again, Avenged Sevenfold has proven that their live show just keeps getting better and better.