Tuesday night I was lucky enough to attend the Rockstar Uproar Festival in Columbus, Ohio. Nothing is ever easy and I attended this festival with a raging ear ache. Yeah. But now I’ve got antibiotics and I’m on the mend. I digress. At any rate, the band I really went to see was Avenged Sevenfold. I caught a little of Stone Sour and Disturbed and they sounded great…but the night belonged to A7X.
The crowd at Nationwide Arena was pretty excitable. I’m used to people jumping and screaming around me – that’s a rock show – but I wasn’t prepared for what happened just one song into Avenged Sevenfold’s set.
A7X is touring behind Nightmare and the stage is sort of modeled after a gothic castle, complete with fire, smoke and the occasional firework pot. There are skulls, a gate and I think the apron of the stage is supposed to be a moat (or maybe not. I just think that sounds cool). Right at the beginning of the show, a man hangs himself from what looks like a steel bed. “Nightmare,” get it? I thought it was a dummy hanging over the crowd – until I looked a little harder and realized that it was, in fact, a real person strapped in by a harness. Obviously the noose was fake, just like a page from the Alice Cooper play book.
Here’s the setlist:
Welcome to the Family
Beast and the Harlot
So Far Away
God Hates Us
So after the initial shock of watching a guy fake hang himself, the guys in A7X sort of sauntered on stage and began ripping into their songs. I had a pretty close view and was watching drummer Mike Portnoy closely. It was cool to see him with Avenged Sevenfold. Singer M. Shadows was wearing a classic Guns n’ Roses shirt, and I felt a little pride. So as “Nightmare” continued on, the floor crowd started getting more and more rowdy. I was elevated enough to see it all – and I was watching my husband take pictures of the band down in the pit. Actually, by the middle of "Nightmare," the crowd is so distracting, I’m watching the idiots more than I am the band. It wasn’t long before the barrier buckled, I saw the security manager start grabbing media and pulling the photogs away. So, as I watch my husband nearly die, I see a couple thousand kids surge forward and get very near the stage. About 15 security guards are literally holding the barrier back. When “Nightmare” ended, the house lights came up and Shadows said the show had to stop and everyone had to take a couple steps backward. Of course, no one complied so there was a good five minutes of wasted time while the guards battled the floor crowd back. Eventually, the barrier was fixed, photogs were allowed back down front and the show resumed. I’ve never been to a concert that was interrupted thanks to morons. Like, what do you think you’re going to do if everyone rushes forward and the barrier does break all the way? Get on stage? Kiss the band? Um, no.
Again, I digress.
So A7X is just wailing through their show. Around the end of “Welcome to the Family” a nutcase crowd-surfed to the front, got pulled to safety by security, wriggled free of the big guard and jumped half on stage. Guitarist Zacky Vengeance sort of just stepped backward, security grabbed the guy and he fought the entire way out of the venue. I have no idea what happens if you rush a stage at a show. Do you go to jail? Get a fine? Would it be worth it?
The only time A7X sort of hit a little snag was at the beginning of “Buried Alive.” The harmonics sounded off but maybe it was my ear. After all, it’s pretty screwed up right now. As the song progressed, things smoothed out and sounded awesome again. Oh, and "God Hates Us" was a highlight.
There was a nice tribute to The Rev during “So Far Away” and “Afterlife.” The backing banner changed to the same photo of The Rev that is included inside the CD tray of Nightmare.
It’s not an A7X show without “Unholy Confessions.” The song is my favorite from the Avenged Sevenfold catalog – I love it live!
After the show, I got an awesome Avenged Sevenfold shirt. It’s probably my favorite concert tee of my whole collection – it’s purple, even. For those that panic when reading about bands like Avenged Sevenfold on this website, take note: this band is the real deal. Give them a chance. Seriously.
Here’s a video of “Nightmare” from the show I attended.