Avenged Sevenfold - Long Beach Arena
Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:17:01
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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In other words, when there's a line of kids stretching around the block that look exactly like you, you know you've made it. So judging from the line to enter the Long Beach Arena stop of the Taste of Chaos Tour, Avenged Sevenfold are doing alright for themselves. Scanning the crowd, there stood about 50 kids clad exactly like their idols. A favorite amongst the teenage dopplegangers was Synyster Gates, with numerous 17-year-old boys rocking fedoras. Of course M. Shadows also sparked something of a fashion revolution. Cut-off t-shirts have never been so cool for white kids in high school, but that's a digression. The scene was reminiscent of 1998 when everyone and their mother starting wearing Adidas to worship at the altar of KoRn. Now those kids' little brothers all wear eyeliner and skinny black jeans to praise Avenged Sevenfold. Hot Topic must be making a killing. However, Avenged don't have to imitate anyone, and they proved that with a bombastic and triumphant hometown show. They literally set the arena ablaze, giving kids a fashion paradigm in the process.
From the first flames to shoot up off the stage, Avenged turned the heat up and took no prisoners. They launched right into "Critical Acclaim," from their phenomenal self-titled record. The guitars shifted from staccato-sonic violence to searing solos. Axemen Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates took center stage, ripping each lead flawlessly and with finesse. Meanwhile, The Rev bashed away at his kit, while carrying the song's chorus with perfect inflection. His double bass drums pummeled and pushed the band into the metal pantheon, where they belong. M. Shadows stalked the stage, voice soaring and commanding, as flames erupted all around him. The first song played out just like a big budget action movie: explosions left and right, frenetic movement and a kickass soundtrack.
It's fitting that the band remained so cinematic, since the show was being filmed for their forthcoming live DVD. They chose the perfect night to shoot. Avenged remain at the forefront of SoCal metal, and they single-handedly revived the scene. After opening with a new cut, the band took it back to "Second Heartbeat," which has never sounded this heavy. Shadows prefaced "The Beast and the Harlot" from City of Evil, exclaiming, "You know what I love about Long Beach? Lots of fucked up shit goes on here, and it's like its own little city of evil!" The driving rhythms and crisp guitars elevated Long Beach to a full-on, metallic Sodom and Gomorrah. During a fiery rendition of "Scream," seductive dancing girls hit the stage, taking over the back ramp behind The Rev's kit. He didn't have a problem keeping time or flipping sticks though. He's just that good.
Mid-set, Avenged slowed everything down with "Seize the Day," only to come back and pay homage to Pantera during "Walk." Singles "Bat Country" and "Almost Easy" provoked massive sing-a-longs from the crowd. Meanwhile, Shadows dedicated a brooding and poignant "Gunslinger" to the soldiers overseas. The set's highlight came during the incredible closer, the incredible closer, "A Little Piece of Heaven." It's the band's most daring number from their latest album, and they pulled it off without a hitch. The Rev and Shadows traded vocal verses from the tale of doomed love, and it played out somewhere between Danny Elfman's cinematic brilliance and Metallica's calculated rage.
“"You know what I love about Long Beach? Lots of fucked up shit goes on here, and it's like its own little city of evil!"”
As this was the annual Taste of Chaos, the arena played host to a bevy of younger metal bands opening for Avenged. The standout of the night remained Bullet for My Valentine. During "Eye of the Storm," they incited a massive mosh pit. They're on the rise, as each solo and riff hit with a skilled classical metal assault. Cuts from The Poison and Scream Aim Fire sounded huge in the arena setting, and it's exactly where Bullet belongs.
In the end, one thing was true, few bands bring it like Avenged does. They deserve every adoring fan in the crowd and more.