As I followed the sea of people into the (formerly First Mariner Arena) Baltimore Arena, I was frisked and wristbanded, like some sort of immigrant or something. It was a pretty smooth process, surprisingly. There were a ton of people there, several thousand, as the floor was packed, and the seats on the side were decently filled. The capacity of it was 14,000 people, so there were a ton of people there.
As I got there and was going thru the line at 7:28, I heard Ghost starting Year Zero around 7:30, so I took a quick restroom break. I could only count a few songs that they played, or they somehow ran together for me, because other sites are reporting they played more songs than I remember. I only recall 3 or 4 songs, and that they seemed to end early. I thought they sounded good, nice and clear on the fabulous sound system that this arena has. However, the crowd reaction was pretty bad. They got cheers, but nowhere near the amount Deftones or Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) got. I enjoyed their set, but I think in a smaller venue, you're more enveloped by their dreamy sound. They were talking about their 'last song' and how people should sing along (for Monstrance Clock). They raised the mic, and... silence. Ouch.
The merch was actually pretty thin. They had one Ghost shirt, a couple Deftones, and about 5 A7X shirts with various skulls and lame text. All shirts were $35. I think there were also some bandanas and beer coozies or the like. And yes there were all the people you thought you'd see at a show like this. White trash, Juggalos, mainstream metal fans, the occasional metal guy, some sporty lesbians, and 'normal' looking people. I swear I counted only about 10-15 shirts that were 'real (or acceptable) metal' (not including myself)- Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Scorpions, Trivium, (old) Metallica, Megadave, and I think a Sepultura shirt.
Deftones were on next and I had 0 interest seeing them after trying to listen to them on youtube. I don't think I made it thru one song, they just sound so discordant and their rap vocals on some songs also sounded horrible. I tried give them a change and listened at the back wall of the arena, but it still sounded unimpressive. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, which makes me further question the average A7X fan even more than usual. I can't say I thought these guys deserved any of the attention they got.
FINALLY Deftones left and my brother got there and we moved up. A7X had a pretty big stage set up going on. They had a Ghostesque setup, with a faux church with windows going on. And a decent amount of pyro (well for someone who's seen Rammstein, this was child's play). A big
I think these guys get a lot of shit for being 'sellouts' or 'pop metal' or whatever, but these guys put on a really good show. Now that is not to say that other bands are not better, because I could have a litany of bands that deserve more recognition and/or success than these guys, musically/artistically. Now I will admit that the "Octane" crowd really needs to broaden their horizons, but to me this 'softer' metal is like hair bands- it's my pop music as it were. That being said, without a primary songwriter, their new stuff certainly shows some holes. I think their set could have been stronger (with more from their self titled/City of Evil/Waking the Fallen), but what can you do with a new album to promote? Nevertheless, they had a range of material over the night- a ballad, a mid tempo rocker, anthems, and some of their early crazy metalcore, to the fairly technical guitar solos. Certainly not bad for a 'popular' band.
Fans were pretty vocal and way louder and more animated for A7X than for either other band. They also tried to mosh a little bit (LOL), and crowd surfed a lot. But it wasn't nearly as crazy as I was expecting. Especially for seeing a few Juggalos there (woop woop).
A7X dedicated "Fiction" to the 'Rev,' and it just reminded me of Zakk Wylde and him dedicating "In This River" to Dimebag. A fine, touching song... but live IMO it really kills the momentum of the show. And they will never take it out of the set because of the meaning to them. So that I begrudgingly accept.
Overall it was a good show, but I think I'd spring for the cheaper seats with a better view at an arena show like this. Deftones almost ruined the night for me, but thankfully A7X's solid performance more than made up for them.
Next show: the way more metal UFO.
Avenged finishing up
Ghost (?must have been before 7:30 -7:49)
- Per Aspera ad Inferi
- Con Clavi Con Dio
- Stand by Him
- Year Zero (I came in around this part)
- Monstrance Clock
Deftones (?- 9:04)
- Shepherd of Fire
- Critical Acclaim
- Welcome to the Family
- Hail to the King
- Doing Time
- Buried Alive
- This Means War
- Guitar Solo
- Bat Country
- Chapter Four
- Unholy Confessions