After “American Capitalist” FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH won me over completely. So I couldn’t miss their show at Campo Pequeno (Lisbon), even if they were playing as a support act for a band that I don’t even like.
DEVICE dropped out the tour, as frontman David Draiman chose to stay home with his wife and newborn baby, and AVATAR stepped in. I had seen the Swedish band in 2009 – before Johannes Eckerström wore the freaky makeup – opening for HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, and even though I wasn’t particularly impressed, I’ve liked their show. And I definitely prefer them to DEVICE.
Liked them much more this time. Not only they had a bigger stage for Johannes to express himself, the performance itself was tighter and the music they’ve produced ever since sounds stronger. A new album is on the making, scheduled for release in March 2014, so they were still promoting “Black Waltz”, on which practically the whole setlist was focused. Starting with “Torn Apart”, ending with “Smells Like A Freakshow” and in-between introducing “Vultures Fly”, from the aforementioned upcoming album, AVATAR proved they were a hell of a live band and were warmly welcomed by the crowd, even if the majority had just got to know them.
Since I was there to see FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, saying they were the best band of the night may sound suspicious. But I’ll say it anyway: they freaking ruled that stage!
Ivan Moody was unstoppable, matching the fiery nature of the harder songs, and in the most melodic parts, his voice had a quite enthralling effect.
I confess I was surprised to hear the almost sold-out Campo Pequeno scream along the choruses. I didn’t know 5FDP were so popular around here, especially among all the kids who were clearly waiting for AVENGED SEVENFOLD. I’m happy I was wrong on that matter.
No song could have kicked off their show better than “Under And Over It” did, sending adrenaline jolts in all directions. We weren’t as lucky as the Birmingham crowd, who about a week later saw Rob Halford getting on stage and sing “Lift Me Up” like he does in the studio version, but still Ivan did a hell of a job and the song worked out perfectly.
“We’ve heard we have the craziest knuckleheads as fans. We like to call you ‘Bad Company’“ was how the cover of the English band with the same name was introduced, much to the thrill of the crowd.
“Burn motherfucker, burn motherfucker BURN!” had a few hundreds of backup singers, with all their hearts and lungs on the job, and then the band left the stage, leaving just Ivan behind. He would then start singing “Far From Home”, with all those backup singers. Not even when he said “my turn” did we let him sing alone, which entitled us to be praised after the first and only chorus: “this is the best crowd of the whole fucking tour”. As Zoltan, Jeremy, Jason and Chris returned, Ivan asked for all cigarette lighters and cellphones to be held up to the sky, which we did. “It is Christmas, look at this shit!”. And then “The Bleeding” finished the set, leaving me determined to see 5FDP as headliners.
I’ve only listed my top-3 disappointing gigs of 2013, otherwise you’d have seen AVENGED SEVENFOLD on #4. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t something as dull as that. Their music means nothing to me, true, but I thought they would put up a good show and they might convince me when it came to live shows. Well think again. Technically, the songs were performed without a flaw, but I had the feeling that they were playing just with their head and not their heart. They were relying on the visual impact of the fire bursts, lasers and skull-mascot hanging over their heads, and more important, the hysteria of their fans. The ambient was electric but it all came from the crowd, to whom, apparently, A7X just had to stand there for them to say they’ve been to the best concert in their lives… And then Synyster Gates guitar solo… dear Lord, what the hell was that?! I don’t like guitar solos during a show, that’s a fact. First of all, it’s filling a slot in the setlist that would be in much better use by an old song. Second, I came to see a whole band, not one of the members showing off. With A7X the case was worse because the damn thing just didn’t evolve, didn’t lead to nowhere – even if there were girly shrills echoing all over…
The gig started with “Shepherd Of Fire”, and later M. Shadows would say that he was seeing more people there than last time they’d played in Portugal. “Who’s here for the first time? Well, ‘Welcome To The Family’!”. “Hail To The King”, “Afterlife” and “Nightmare” were some of the songs the fans rejoiced with, but I still don’t get the “A7X phenomenon”. After “Bat Country”, as the band left the stage, also I did leave the venue and heard the encore (“Chapter Four” and “Unholy Confessions”) from the 5FDP merch stand. A7X is definitely not my thing.