After starting The Stage World Tour overseas in Europe in early 2017, Avenged Sevenfold put their North American dates on hold last year to go on the road with Metallica as direct support. Now, fresh off the Hardwired Tour, Avenged Sevenfold has picked up right where they left off. Last Sunday (14), The Stage World Tour made its second tour stop at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Selling out days before the rolling into town, not even the cold northern Michigan weather cold stop the fans from coming out to see their favorite band. With lines wrapped around both sides of the building, fans braved the cold and even possible frostbite for hours to see what Avenged Sevenfold had in store for them.
On this tour, supporting bands Bullet For My Valentine and Breaking Benjamin were chosen, and both held nothing back, playing for 45 minutes to an hour respectively.
Bullet For My Valentine
Hailing from the United Kingdom, Bullet For My Valentine opened the show, with a nine-song set that set the tone quite quickly and primed the crowd for what was to come. Hits like “No Way Out,” “You Want A Battle” and “Waking The Demon” were received well and even began small mosh pits. The guys didn’t move too much, standing in front of four floor to ceiling banners each emblazoned with a letter of the bands name.
*Due to it being second show on the tour, only one or two people knew about the separate approval to shoot BFMV, so no photos were taken*
After a short intermission, Breaking Benjamin, stepped on stage launching directly into “So Cold” and played through 12 songs, that included hits “Blow Me Away,” “Angels Fall,” and “I Will Not Bow” before ending the set with probably their most well known song “Diary Of Jane.” Working the entire stage, Ben interacted with the crowd, inviting sing along moments, as well as moving around the catwalk. At one point during their set, Ben lit up a red light saber, walked up to a secondary set of drums that were set up at the end of the catwalk and broke into a montage of songs that began with the Imperial Death March from Star Wars.
Waiting for Avenged to take the stage, the house lights went down, and AC/DC’s “Back In Black” blared over the PA system. The crowd sang along, up until the moment the LED backdrop lit up with Avenged’s signature Death Bat, causing an immediate chaotic scream from the entire audience. The backdrop went to a galaxy theme, and “The Stage” began. Playing through songs from their newest albums, lead singer M. Shadows stopped the set to ask if people had looked up their previous nights set list. When the crowd screamed, he called them “assholes” and told lead guitarist Synyster Gates to change it up and give them something old. It was at the moment die-hard fans heard a song from 2005’s City Of Evil, “Burn It Down.” Pandemonium ensued on the general admission arena floor as circle pits and mosh pits broke out simultaneously. Playing songs from their entire catalog, Avenged Sevenfold played a 14 song set list, with a three-song encore that stretched over two full hours. Fans sang along to hits like “A Little Piece Of Heaven,”” Unholy Confessions” and “Nightmare” (which was dedicated to a 9 year old fan who was rushed to the hospital earlier that day with a burst appendix. Shadows asked people to YouTube the hell out of it for him).
Overall The Stage World Tour was a sight to be seen, with the multi-LED boards that lined the back of the stage, the catwalk into the pit, and the giant astronaut that hovered over drummer Brooks Wackerman during “Higher.” I’ve seen every tour that Avenged Sevenfold has done since the beginning and would have to say this is by far the best stage production to date. If you’re on the fence about going out to see the show when it comes to your town, I would have to recommend it.