Avenged Sevenfold + Disturbed + In Flames @ O2 Arena London

Avenged Sevenfold + Disturbed + In Flames

@ O2 Arena, London

January 21, 2017

Review by Nathan Slack

On this Saturday night in London I head to Greenwich Peninsula rather wearily and with a slight limp. I wouldn’t recommend moshing twice in one week if you’re an unfit bloke pushing 40, but hey – the show must go on! Its been a busy week for metal. Insomnium, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Meshuggah and now Avenged Sevenfold at the enormous O2 arena, which is almost completely sold out. Rather impressive for a relatively young band on the metal scene, having only formed in ’99 straight out of high school. It’s a credit to them that older, perhaps more influential bands such as In Flames are opening for them and people far and wide have come to catch this impressive line up.

In Flames
In Flames

It’s a bit of a trudge round the back of the venue to get to where I’m meant to be as with more than a little bit of relief I’ve been given a seat and will be catching tonight’s show from a nice plastic chair. I nurse my swollen ankle by buying an overpriced beer and try not to tumble down the stairs as my spot is located in row C right down the bottom. Vertigo conquered, In Flames bounce onto the stage.

In Flames
In Flames

In their day they were one of the biggest metal bands around. They helped coin the term melodic death metal and I think that fact is burning in the back of the lead singer’s mind. He seems over awed by the almost full capacity arena and perhaps more than a little nervous. Maybe that’s why, rather than play an uplifting, crowd engaging set, Anders waffles too long between songs rather than play actual music. The crowd, even In Flames fans right at the front are pretty quiet and only fuel the singers nerves. Their set suffers from the early start as people are more concerned chatting and grabbing a dodgy hot dog than listening to anything In Flames has to say. They limp off stage and lament, I’m sure, to times gone by.

Setlist:
1. Bullet Ride
2. Where the Dead Ships Dwell
3. Leeches
4. The End
5. Cloud Connected
6. The Truth
7. Paralyzed
8. Take This Life

Disturbed are in complete contrast. They have the full stage for one, their own set up, pyrotechnics and an instant commanding presence. David Draiman is a born show man and from their first song “Eye of the Storm”, they have the crowd in the palm of their hands. Back in the day I was fortunate to see Disturbed support Marilyn Manson around 1999. No pyrotechnics then, but armed with more than a few catchy crowd pleasing tunes they impressed me then. But tonight, Disturbed are kicking ass.  They could easily have been tonight’s headliners.

Disturbed
Disturbed

“Stupify” sounded amazing and the first real mosh pit opens up as fans rebel against being hemmed in like sheep. Draiman strides confidently to the forward stage in the centre and belts out their Simon and Garfunkel cover “The Sound of Silence” and has the gravitas in his voice to propel his vocals right up into the nosebleeds. “Inside the Fire” has an impressive fire show for the length of the song and I’m gobsmacked at how far they have come.

Disturbed
Disturbed

Before “Down with the Sickness”, their last song, Draiman commands the crowd to create the biggest circle pit ever created and he wasn’t disappointed. Several thousand people responded to his call and swirled and slammed pushing the crowd OUTSIDE THE LINES!! I bet the security felt more than a little useless at this point. Draiman signs off proclaiming that we are all disturbed, making us repeat it and I can’t help but smile. I’m very disturbed at this point, disturbed that they are leaving and not headlining tonight.

Setlist:
01. The Eye of the Storm
2. Immortalized
3. The Game
4. The Vengeful One
5. Prayer
6. Liberate
7. Voices
8. Stupify
9. The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
10. Inside the Fire
11. The Light
12. Stricken
13. Indestructible
14. Ten Thousand Fists
15. Down With the Sickness

Its a wonder to me that Avenged Sevenfold have reached such a level of success and mainstream appeal to be able to pull off an arena tour, as Ax7 seem like more of a boy band than an actual metal band. The screaming teenage girls are in the front row and two cages rise up at the back of the stage where 50 or so adoring fans are hemmed in like cattle, pressed against the bars pretending they are having the time of their lives staring at the bands behinds for the entire set. Did people actually pay to be there? Who knows. Admittedly I may be in the minority here but I came out to catch In Flames and Disturbed and Ax7 play their best song Hail to the King early on and then go into a twatish acoustic guitar number which only seems like a minute long. What was the point in that? It had no connection to the song before or after and it made me feel like it was the band saying “hey look, we actually finally learned to play!”

Avenged Sevenfold

They bring out some early stuff to please fans of the band that like it old school, but I don’t notice much of a difference as each track lulls me into a bored coma. They played some tracks they never played live before and the crowd seem to like it, I don’t and go grab another beer. I’m nearly asleep by the time they come back for their encore and start to feel like slitting my wrists as they do a wanky cover of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life”. Then it was over… thank God.

Setlist:
01. The Stage
2. Afterlife
3. Hail to the King
4. Paradigm
5. To End the Rapture
6. Second Heartbeat (Tour debut)
7. Buried Alive
8. So Far Away (Tour debut)
9. Nightmare (Followed by Brooks Wackerman Drum Solo)
10. God Damn
11. Beast and the Harlot (Tour debut)
12. Sunny Disposition
13. Warmness on the Soul (Instrumental)
14. Planets
15. Acid Rain
Encore:
16. Bat Country
17. A Little Piece of Heaven
18. Unholy Confessions
19. A Day in the Life (The Beatles cover)

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