Avenged Sevenfold And Stone Sour – O2 Academy – Newcastle


Fans started queuing for the gig at around noon, and by 5pm the crowd snaked around the venue. Even the torrential downpour couldn’t dampen their spirits. Everywhere you looked your sight was invaded with Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour t-shirts and merchandise. At 7pm, when the doors opened, the roar of joy from the crowd was overwhelming. At 7.20, Hellyeah took to the stage. HellYeah are a heavy metal supergroup from Dallas, Texas that was founded in 2006. The line-up consists of Chad Gray, Greg Tribett, Tom Maxwell, Bob Zilla, and Vinnie Paul.

The band kept the ever-growing crowd entertained with their heavy riffs and their dedicated attitude, not to mention the exaggerations of how ‘awesome’ the audience were, and every crowd likes a pleaser. Halfway through their performance, lead singer Chad Gray introduced his band mates to the crowd. Although drummer Vinnie Paul, one of the founders of Pantera needed no introduction.

After Hellyeah’s performance, the crowd got into position as they waited for Stone Sour to begin, and the enthusiasm wasn’t kept quiet. Unexpectedly, We Will Rock You by Queen played on the intermission stereo, and the audience were more than happy to stamp, clap and sing along to the track whilst they waited. Stone Sour commence onto the stage, the crowd erupts and they are given the utmost respect.

Stone Sour is a side project of Corey Taylor that has been performing since 1992. In 1997 the band disbanded due to Corey Taylor and Jim Root joining Slipknot. In 2002 the band got back together with a new line up, along with Corey and Jim consisting of Josh Rand, Shawn Economaki, and Roy Mayorga.

The band waste no time in beginning their set, with the track, from their latest album Audio Secrecy, Mission Statement. Front man Corey Taylor demands the crowd to jump, sing and shout throughout their set. Halfway through the set the venue goes dark, and the audience wait in anticipation of what Stone Sour will bring next. A spotlight hits centre stage to find Corey, alone, guitar in hand, with the lighting suggesting a power ballad coming on. Sure enough, Taylor delivered the track Bother, playing the song in segments, and with each long pause, the crowd exploded into a chant of screaming, ‘Corey, Corey, Corey…’ which clearly overwhelmed the Stone Sour front man. After taking this in, he gracefully quietens the crowd with a finger on lips, and continues the song, until the next long pause, when the audience repeated their previous chant. After Bother finishes, the rest of the band join Corey back on stage, to follow up with the classic Stone Sour hit, Through Glass, which results in a very enthusiastic audience. Reaching the end of the set, Stone Sour closed with another all-time classic, 30/30-150, and the crowd reacts with a full-floor mosh pit, and Taylor responds with removing his shirt, which left the female audience members very satisfied.

After Stone Sour left the stage, you could still feel the excitement of the crowd in the air, and around you, as they anticipated and prepared for the almighty Avenged Sevenfold. Avenged Sevenfold are a rock band from Huntington Beach, California that formed in 1999. The band consisted of M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, Synyster Gates, The Rev, and Matt Wendt. After time bassist Matt, was replaced by Johnny Christ. Avenged met major success after their 2005 City of Evil Album, which they won an MTV VMA for best new artist. Unfortunately in 2009 Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan died and has been succeeded by Mike Portnoy formerly of Dream Theater.

After 15 minutes of pushing and shoving, the intro of Nightmare eased us into the set and the crowd erupted into aggressive swaying, and the lights hit the stage to find lead guitarist Synyster Gates playing the intro. The song kicks into gear, the audience go wild, and you can hardly hear M. Shadows vocals for the crowd singing along. After following up with exhilarating performances of new and older tracks, including Critical Acclaim, City of Evil’s Beast and The Harlot, and Nightmare’s Welcome to the Family, the band follow up with a heartfelt speech about departed member, Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, who sadly passed away at the end of 2009. The crowd erupts into a chant of ‘Jimmy,’ showing their support for the still mournful band. Each member clearly displays a tattoo for their fallen member, and the looks of despair on their faces are obvious. The band also show how very grateful they are for Mike Portnoy helping them keep Jimmy’s memory alive. The band follow up with a song that lead guitarist Synyster Gates wrote in memory of Jimmy, So Far Away.

The crowd sing along, and hoist their lighters as tributes. This is clearly an overwhelming song to perform for the band, and Synyster Gates shows this by breaking eye contact with the crowd and hiding his despair by turning his back to us. The band then break the upsetting atmosphere with crowd pleasing tracks, Afterlife, God Hates Us and the oldest song on their setlist Unholy Confessions, which really gets the audience riled up. M. Shadows then gives the crowd the choice between two all-time favourites as their finale, Bat Country and Almost Easy. He shouts each title to the crowd and waits for their roaring responses. Each song gathered up an equal amount of voters, so M. Shadows turns to a single member of the audience and asks his opinion. The fan replies with Almost Easy, and even though the voters of Bat Country didn’t get their choice, they were not left disappointed. The crowd’s enthusiasm explodes on the final song and the intensity of the full-floor mosh pit increases.

The band ended with thanks and throwing their plectrums and drum sticks into the crowd, and you could clearly see how overwhelmed they were with their extraordinary fanbase from the North-East of England.

By Sarah Elizabeth Lester and Kirsten Thorpe
Photos provided by Carole Neesam and Charlotte Appleyard.

By CarlP on November 12, 2010

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