This was actually my first gig at Manchester Arena. I have to say for the size of it they nailed the sound perfectly. Though for the opening act their were a few technical issues in regards to monitors cutting out but they soon sorted that out for the remaining acts.
So it start the night I was expecting Device to open up the show but David Draiman has recently had a kid and cancelled so he can stay with his wife for longer, which is fair. So to open the night of awesome bands we had Avatar, a Swedish death metal band, with a theatrical twist. Even though Johannes Eckerstrom (Vocals) was the only one dressed up. He had some black make up round his eyes and some lovely red braces haha. Reminded me of a less hardcore Till from Rammstein. The remaining members really knew how to whip that hard back and forth. They put on a show but after the 3 songs and asking for another circle pit it went on a little bit.
Next they pulled out the big guns with Five Finger Death Punch. Even when the banner went up during set up everyone went crazy, and you can tell that everyone was very excited to be seeing them in a support slot. Surprisingly set up took less than 20 minutes and Five Finger took to the stage with some epic introducing music. I really do respect a band that can pick good walk on songs, really makes the entire experience of seeing a band that more worth while. They had a full balls to the wall sing a long set list, perfect for a support slot to get everyone warmed up and for people that may not know them to well to get into them. However in Five Finger they certainly do like their interludes, after every second song pretty much they'd walk off stage and have a song playing over the PA and then walk back out. I'm all for creating tension but after a while it really dragged on. But performance wise they really nailed everything, from screaming, to guitars solos to gut busting drum beats.
I still remember the day back in 2007 I bought a ticket to see Avenged Sevenfold who had just released their self titled album in Leeds, on a tiny stage. Look at them now, headlining festivals and selling out arenas. It is strange but good to see smaller bands from back in the day climbing the ladder. This is also the first time I've seen them with the same drummer! Back in 2007 They had The Rev, RIP. Then they came back a few years later to Leeds, now selling out the Academy, with Mike Portnoy of Dream Thearter, and then at Download Festival 2011 they had Arin Ilejay, and now in 2013 they have stuck with Arin. It must be pretty strange for him to go from a small band to jumping into a band that are half way up the ladder.
Back in 2007 Avenged Sevenfold and pyro didn't come in the same sentence but now they pack their shows full with fireworks and flames. A personal highlight was the giant death bat they had for a backdrop that spat flames every so often. M Shadows (vocals) voice was on top form as always, and Synyster Gates (lead guitar) kept the crowd entertained after an encore with one of his signature guitar solos, below is a small clip of his guitar solo
I also got a video from Critical Acclaim along with the giant death bat spitting flames.
All around it was a great show with lots of surprises, I'm sure this isn't going to be the last we hear of Avenged Sevenfold now with a full time drummer. Also Five Finger Death Punch seem to be on the up in the rock and metal scene. I'm positive they'll be headlining festivals and selling out arenas in no time.