Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Asking Alexandria, The Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney 25/02/14

Avenged Sevenfold really bring it for the fans!

Sydney Soundwave is over for another year but as normal there is a number of sidewaves for those keen fans who just didn’t get enough, or just couldn’t get into the whole festival feel.  I’ve been lucky enough for my work to send to me to Sydney for a conference on Monday and Tuesday, so what’s a happy go lucky bloke to do when there’s sidewaves on?  Attend as many as I can of course.

Tuesday night is Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) being supported by Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) and Asking Alexandria.  I saw the A7X Soundwave gig but wasn’t able to catch the supports at Soundwave so am taking this opportunity to get to see their live form.  I’ve been giving both support bands a good listening to over the last few months, and like what I’ve been hearing.

Luna Park’s Big Top is the venue and so when I rock up around 7, the sun is still shining brightly and the line-up to get in extends all the way out underneath the famous face at Luna Park.  This is an all-ages gig, so the crowd is pretty young (well compared to me) and have no problem lining up.  Me being an older fart, I take a side trip to the bar for a Coopers and bowl of chips.  Finish them up and hey! presto - line is gone.

The Big Top is a reasonably intimate venue and the view is good from anywhere in all the gigs I’ve been to here.  With it being all-ages, there is a big barrier to ensure no drinks get outside the bar area and this area is sparsely populated at this time so I take up residence just in time for Asking Alexandria to begin their set.

Asking Alexandria have the tough job of warming the crowd up and with only a 6 song set at their disposal they do admirably.  The band is tight and brings a lot of energy to their set.  The lead singer, Danny Worsnop has a strong presence on stage and strikes up a good rapport with the crowd who are really amped for this gig.  Out of the 6 songs, most were from the newest album which surprised me a bit but good as it is the one I am most familiar with.

The crowd is growing more as FFDP is being set up, and you can feel the anticipation growing.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about the FFDP live show and when they hit the stage I find out that it is all true.  They are loud, brash and have an excellent interaction with the crowd.  Vocallist Ivan Moody makes a point of giving recognition to the crowd surfers and later in the gig pulled a crowd member up on stage to sing Burn MF with them. The crowd is lapping it all up and is singing along with every song really giving the guys on stage even more energy to feed off and you can see the kick the band is getting from this.  When FFDP finish their 9 song set with the magnificent The Bleeding, I am feeling pretty worn out from the energy expended (yes I know I’m getting older.  But in my defence this is three days straight of gigs with work thrown in there too – but I’m loving it).

With numerous Iron Maiden songs playing on the sound system the crowd waits for A7X to take the stage and the buzz is getting louder still. Then the curtain drops and the guys from California grace the stage kicking off with Shepherd of Fire off the latest album, driving the crowd into a greater frenzy than I thought possible.  Then it is into Critical Acclaim which breathes my second wind into me and I’m now bouncing around everywhere as well.

At this point M. Shadows has a bit of a chat with the crowd and apologises profusely about the lack of times getting Down Under to Aus but promises to remedy that situation.  He asks how many of the crowd were there Sunday (about 2/3 were) & then points out that this set is going to be extremely different to the set at Soundwave.  While the Sunday set was definitely for a festival audience and so focussed on a lot of the newer songs, this set list is definitely for the fans.  They have a mixture of the newer songs off Hail To The King and Nightmare but throw in classics off City of Evil and the self-titled album, even throwing in Eternal Rest off Waking The Fallen (which hasn’t been played live since about 09).  The crowd really get into it and validates the decision by the band to play this set list.  Shadows points out at one point that the crowd singing along here is louder than on Sunday and by my count they had at least 4 to 5 times as many people watching them on Sunday.

All the band is outstanding in their performance, however I want to make special mention of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance.  I love the way they pull together some magnificent harmonies, and they often remind me of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray.  Tonight was no different, they were simply on fire.

The guys don’t make a special tribute to their fallen comrade Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan as they did on Sunday but you can tell he is there always in their thoughts and also the crowds when his vocals are played in some of the songs such as Critical Acclaim and Afterlife.  The guys finish off with a two song encore of Unholy Confessions and my favourite, A Little Piece Of Heaven to an ovation that almost brings the roof down. 

The band members seem to be a very happy bunch again at this point and it really comes out in their performance.  Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth make sure you catch them at Soundwave, though as they said, they will be back again and soon.  I for one, can’t wait.