Last night I went to go and watch Hellyeah, Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour at the Birmingham N.I.A. It was an incredible gig, although it was a rather strange line-up. As much as I love Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour, I would have never imagined them playing a gig together a musically they are not that similar. However, I am glad that they did as the atmosphere was incredible. As it was a co-headline tour, Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour took it in turns to play last at each gig; tonight was Stone Sour’s turn.
The doors opened at 5.30pm, which is extremely early as doors usually open around 7.00pm. As they opened so early, anticipation seemed to build up very quickly amongst the crowd of thousands (I think I remember M. Shadows saying there were 13,000 people attending). After what seemed like years of waiting, Hellyeah arrived on stage at around 7.30pm, greeted by many screaming fans. They opened with ‘Hellyeah’ which was so catchy that even people in the crowd that didn’t know who they were found themselves singing along. They then interacted with the crowd, then played ‘Matter of Time’ and ‘Cowboy Way’. They informed the audience that they loved to drink before playing ‘Hell of a Time’, ‘You Wouldn’t Know’ and ‘Stampede’.
They then paid tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell and played ‘Alcohaulin’ Ass’, inviting the crowd to sing along with them if they knew the words. As a couple of the members of Hellyeah were in bands with Dimebag Darrell, you could hear the pure emotion in Chad Gray’s voice as he paid tribute to the legend. As Chad is also the lead singer Mudvayne, it was amazing to hear how versatile his voice is and to see a different side to him than what is portrayed of him in Mudvayne (don’t get me wrong, I love Mudvayne, but I love singers who are versatile and can have completely different personas). All in all, they were an exciting live band and who sound a thousand times better live than on CD. Since seeing them live, I have become a big fan.
After Hellyeah finished their set, the vibe in the crowd was extremely tense. You could tell what everyone was thinking; what would Avenged Sevenfold be like without The Rev? As the first few notes of ‘Nightmare’ started to play, the tension was building higher and higher. As soon as the guitars kicked in the pyrotechnics started and the crowd went wild. M. Shadows has such an amazing stage presence that you cannot help but to have your eyes glued to him. They then played ‘Critical Acclaim’, which the lighting and pyrotechnics were even more impressive than for the opening.
The set was also amazing; the album cover for ‘Nightmare’ (with the bigger ‘rev’ in ‘forever’ on the gravestone for the late James Sullivan) and cemetery gates around the stage where fire came out. Before ‘Welcome to the Family’ M. Shadows asked who hadn’t seen Avenged Sevenfold before, heard many screams then replied with “Where the fuck have you guys been our whole lives? Welcome to the fucking family!” As this is many people’s favourite song from the album, the mosh-pits were insane. Well, thousands of people who had been waiting for so long to see Avenged Sevenfold, what do you expect other than complete craziness?
They then played the classic ‘Beast and the Harlot’ then ‘Buried Alive’. The set then changed to a beautiful picture of M.Shadows and The Rev and M. Shadows went into a heart-felt speech about The Rev and thanked the crowd for keeping Avenged Sevenfold strong and welcoming The Rev’s favourite drummer (Mike Portnoy – ex-Dream Theater) and went on to play ‘So Far Away’ as a tribute to The Rev. It was a beautiful moment and the raw emotion in the lyrics and M.Shadow’s voice was enough to bring the strongest of people to tears. Near the end of the song M.Shadows asked everyone to raise their lighters and mobiles to the sky to show The Rev; it was incredible.
They then played ‘Afterlife’, and the set went back to the album cover, then M.Shadows asked who in the crowd was religious. He then said that the next song was the most religious song he’d ever written; it was ‘God Hates Us’. M.Shadow’s screaming was actually very good, however it was not as heavy as it sounded on the album version. ‘Unholy Confessions’ was then played and as the circle pit was crazy, M.Shadow’s said that the audience could pick between ‘Almost Easy’ and ‘Bat Country’; it was a resounding vote for ‘Bat Country’ and it was an amazing song to finish their set with.
After another half an hour wait, the lights dimmed and an unexpected song played before Stone Sour came on; I think it was a song from Star Wars, however I’m not completely sure about that. Stone Sour then came on an opened with ‘Mission Statement’. Corey then interacted with the crowd before playing ‘Reborn’. He then asked the crowd to go crazy for the next song; ‘Made of Scars’, which sounded very heavy and started many mosh-pits. Then, much to the joy of many screaming girls, Stone Sour played their beautiful recent single; ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’. They then continued the mix of old and new songs with ‘Get Inside’, ‘Unfinished’ and ‘Your God’. The rest of the band then left the stage whilst Corey stayed on to play the incredibly emotional song ‘Bother’ (which was written for his father as he only met him for the first time a few years ago). He also stayed alone on stage to play the most popular Stone Sour track; ‘Through the Glass’. Although this song is overplayed on many music channels it was extremely passionate and beautiful live. The rest of the band then rejoined Corey back on stage to play ‘The Bitter End’. Corey then announced that he was going to play the next future single; ‘Digital (Did You Tell)’, which you could tell from the crowd’s reaction that it was going to be a very popular single and it should hopefully make Stone Sour make a high entry in the charts. They then played ‘Hell and Consequences’ and they finally finished with ’30/30-150′. At the end of their set, lots of confetti came out of huge cannons on either side of the stage and Corey promised that Stone Sour would be back to Birmingham soon.
All in all, it was an incredible concert and although the acts seemed unlikely to tour together, it actually worked really well and I did not see or speak to one disappointed person with any of the acts.
That was the first gig review that I’ve actually had the courage to put on the Internet, so I hope you enjoyed reading it and that it wasn’t too bad.