Not many bands are asked to join Metallica on tour because most couldn't hold a candle to the heavy metal geniuses. Avenged Sevenfold demonstrated Wednesday night at the Alamodome that a candle wouldn't even cut it. Their performance literally and figuratively lit up the stage.
Sometimes appearing as if fire was blasting out of their heads, depending on your perspective from inside the dome, Avenged Sevenfold put on a brutally entertaining and lively hour-long performance that proved Metallica made the right choice for its WorldWired journey across America. Touring in support of concept album The Stage, Avenged Sevenfold utilized the cavernous V-shaped ramps that complemented the main stage and jutted out into a secondary version of the front row to its utmost while opening with the title track. Vocalist M. Shadows, guitarists Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer Brooks Wackerman played nine songs, with Shadows constantly running up and down the ramps as flames shot up all around the lengthy main stage.
"Afterlife," "Hail to the King" and "Buried Alive" satiated the crowd as Avenged Sevenfold performed some of its favorites. "Bat Country" and the title track to Nightmare had fans going wild. Some showed their reflective and respectable side, as a banner could be seen honoring the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton and the late Avenged Sevenfold drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan.
Vengeance and Gates frequently joined forces at the base of the ramps, giving those in the nosebleeds a closer look at their guitar work with, of course, plenty of aid from several gigantic screens behind the stage. Shadows, who was particularly hit hard by The Rev's death late in 2009 and called into question the band's future at that time, may have been having as much fun as anyone in the dome. He got in a cardio workout via the ramps, slung his arm around Gates during one of the latter's solos and entertained the crowd at will.
Shadows, who took part in Fozzy's song and video for "Sandpaper" (which Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho discussed with AXS last month here), even teased the crowd by crooning in Spanish as they practically begged him to sing Avenged's new single, its all-Espanol version of Mexican folk tune "Malaguena Salerosa." As he politely declined, Shadows laughed, looked at his bandmates and said, "We're getting booed for not playing a Spanish song." He followed up with, "Tell you what. Next time we come to San Antonio, we will play "Malaguena."
For one night as an opening act, Avenged Sevenfold demonstrated that 60 minutes supporting the mighty Metallica was meant to be. And that more than a few bursts of fire never hurts the cause.
SETLIST: "The Stage," "Afterlife," "Hail to the King," "Almost Easy," "Buried Alive," "Bat Country," "Nightmare," "God Damn," "Unholy Confessions"