Avenged Sevenfold + Dream On Dreamer - Sydney Entertainment Centre (30.07.11)

For the first time in a long time, I've arrived at Sydney Entertainment Centre for a gig, with the feeling that this was one not to miss. There were plenty of kids roaming around in their newly purchased AX7 merchandise as I made my way inside the venue to secure my seat for Dream On Dreamer's set. This Melbourne based band had the huge opportunity presented to them, as original support Sevendust pulled out of the tour only weeks beforehand.

Many fans would have been disappointed at the no-show of Sevendust, however, this was all forgotten once Dream On Dreamer took to the huge Sydney Entertainment Centre stage. With preconceived ideas that DOD wouldn't have the stage presence or the big sound to accommodate such a venue, they were sure to prove people like me wrong within seconds. With the extremely early set time of 7pm, they managed a decent sized crowd on the floor, and their fan base grew with each song during the short 35-minute set. DOD punched out most of the Hope EP, as well as the first song the band ever wrote, "Vultures". Highlight of the set would have to be "Downfall", the first single from their newly released LP, Heartbound. DOD also played another off the album, titled "Come Home True Love", which they mentioned they’d never played live before, and the track got a welcome approval from fans. With vocalist Marcel Gadacz mentioning various times the band had “a couple of songs left”, they finally really did have just two left, and they closed with "In August" and "Ambitions", two crowd favourites which left new and old fans looking forward to Dream On Dreamer's upcoming album tour.

The entertainment centre floor and seats filled out, and shortly after 9pm Avenged Sevenfold made their way out to a line of fire erupting from behind the drummer’s pedestal on stage. Opener "Nightmare", from their latest album, I have to say was one of the best opening tracks I’ve witnessed at a show, ever. A massive start to their show, and if this first track was anything to go by, the rest of the night was going to be quite epic. Launching straight into second song, "Critical Acclaim", AX7 took no time getting the crowd amped and moving, with fist pumping and crowd surfing already taking place from the front barrier right back to the mix desk. Guitarist Syn Gates was having some microphone malfunctions during the first few songs, but we hardly noticed as M. Shadows had all our attention going from one side of stage to the other, engaging the entire audience. Next, we had "Welcome To The Family" and "Buried Alive", two of my personal favourites from their latest LP, Nightmare. These were followed by a more mellowed tune, "So Far Away", which M.Shadows went on to explain it was written for their recently deceased drummer, The Rev, who passed away in 2009. This resulted in a heartfelt performance of the song, which included audience members holding up phones and lighters to honour The Rev.

Straight back into things, and the crowd were urged to create the biggest circle pit of the tour for the next track, "Afterlife". Fans proceeded to take part in the huge circle pit for the duration of the song and thereafter, as AX7 showcased their various talents on stage, from incredible guitar solos, to drumming that was out of this world. The band went on to play "God Hates Us", a song that is banned in over 70 countries, and "Little Piece of Heaven", which is about killing your wife; definitely the controversial segment of the show.

Without ruining the entire set list for anyone who is yet to attend the tour, the band did return with a killer track for the encore, and finished the show tightly, with no shortage of the flames and fit-inducing lighting we had witnessed throughout the set. This Avenged Sevenfold spectacle would have to be one of the shows of the year for rock fans, I even managed to walk away with a Syn Gates pick, not a bad souvenir to add to the collection.