In a sea of black-clad “Deathbat” fans, the excitement for the band to take the stage filled the air of the Kia Forum in Los Angeles. With a quick look around at the outfits of the earliest fans, you could tell that the show was about to be something special; from the outdated Avenged Sevenfold tour shirts walking around to the pregnant woman wearing a shirt that said “Future Deathbat” with an arrow. That baby was destined to have great music taste if the night that followed had any influence at all.
As we awaited the first opener, Codefendants, to take the stage, the passionate front-row fans displayed handmade signs that requested guitar picks and drumsticks, or clutched little plastic toy Deathbats. Codefendants is the project of NOFX’s Fat Mike, and they kicked the evening off strong. Their production was the most scaled back, and their outfits consisted only of matching black-tie suits, but the sound spoke for itself.
By the time Falling in Reverse took the stage, the Forum had mostly filled up. The lead vocalist Ronnie Radke ran onstage in a sparkling suit that shimmered in the LED spotlights as he belted out their first song “Zombified.” His outfit brought a touch of glamorous masculinity that echoed in the powerful melodies that he put his whole heart into. The performance was spotless as the whole band seemed engaged with both the fans and each other.
The head banging and long hair-flipping energy they brought had the whole crowd moving along with them from the first song to the last.
Finally it was time for Avenged Sevenfold to begin, and while they must’ve only been five minutes late, anticipation was heavy in the air. This was their first headlining show since COVID times, and the audience knew they would be in for a treat. Following the release of Life is But A Dream…, this audience was also among the first to hear live performances of new songs like “G,” “(O)rdinary,” and “(D)eath.” Before lead vocalist M. Shadows started singing the emotional song “So Far Away,” he acknowledged that the family of Avenged Sevenfold’s former drummer “The Rev”’s family was backstage and dedicated the song about loss to them.
This nod made a song that already invokes all the feelings of grief even more potent in that moment.
The setlist was a carefully curated mix of old and new songs, some that were meant to be played at a tour that never happened due to COVID, like “The Stage.” The frantic applause that accompanied the first few notes of classics from Avenged Sevenfold’s catalog showed the crowd’s preference for songs that had clearly been staples to its audience for many years. However, that never took away from the energy still found in newer additions to their catalog, or the enthusiasm behind turning the floor’s pit into a mosh pit. The passion from the fans throughout the entire show had the power to make a sold-out stadium show have the intimacy usually reserved for smaller clubs.
List to the whole setlist on Spotify!