I wrote this post on Wednesday morning, however I didn’t post it as I was in a rush to get to work and then once work was over I had to rush over to the Richie Sambora show. Then I spent Thursday morning writing up the Richie Sambora post and after posting that, I was off to work and then after work I was off to see Mrs Browns Boys at WIN Entertainment Centre. So here I am, three days after the event, back to this post.
I attended the Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold Sidewave on Tuesday, 25 February at the Big Top in Luna Park. It was my first time seeing them both live so I didn’t know what to expect.
Did I mention that Asking Alexandria opened up?
Yep, they opened up and regardless of how much Revolver Mag creams their pants over them and cross promotes them in corporate sponsorship deals, the bottom line is this; They still need a lot of work. I caught the last three songs of their set and it didn’t make me want to go out and buy them. The best releases the band has done are the cover songs.
I caught up with an old school friend at the show who came one out to watch Avenged Sevenfold. I asked him if he had heard any music from Five Finger Death Punch and he told me that he hasn’t. Half way through the set, he yelled in my ear that he will be downloading their collection when he gets home tonight.
So on to the mighty Five Finger Death Punch. They started with “Under and Over It”. A great selection for an opener and a surprise one. “Burn It Down” came next and to me, the song just didn’t really work in a live setting. “Hard to See” and the show was back on the road.
“Lift Me Up” actually lifted the Big Top. It was anthemic all the way and what a great live song it is. “The Ultimate Sin” vocal melody was sung word for word and the crowd chanted chorus drowned out the band.
“Burn MF” didn’t really do much for me on the recording, however as a live song and the way Ivan Moody gets the crowd involved in the chant, it works brilliantly. This song was the biggest surprise on the night.
Another big surprise was Chris Kael. He looks like a cross between Kerry King and Zakk Wylde and what a performer he is, backing up on clean tone vocals and deep guttural vocals. Definitely a great choice for the FFDP band.
“Coming Down” actually kept the energy levels up for a mid tempo song and the band finished off with “Never Enough” and “The Bleeding”. As a live band, Five Finger Death Punch nail it. It’s no wonder that when they hit a city, sales of their albums increase the next day.
One thing about Five Finger Death Punch that a lot of people don’t understand is that they are sort of like a supergroup of independent bands. Each musician in the band has paid their dues in other bands. Some of those bands had small record deals, some of them played on large tours and some of them just played the club scene. So when you see Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, Jeremy Spencer, Jason Hook and Chris Kael on stage, you are seeing a group of talented musicians who have over 50 years combined in the music business.
On a side note, it looks like Ivan Moody got into some trouble on his Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney due to being an intoxicated unruly passenger and assaulting a stewardess. With his past alcohol struggles well documented in his lyrics and interviews, the latest occurrence is just another chapter in this saga. As a fan of the band, let’s hope that the other band members don’t over-react to this, because Ivan Moody is the key ingredient as to why the band resonates and connects with the audience. Changing him will be the death of Five Finger Death Punch.
Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch along with Machine Head, Protest The Hero and Shinedown are currently providing the music for the soundtrack of my life. It is the familiarity of the songs and the energy that familiarity brings that provides the connection. I have this drive home playlist that is littered with A7X and FFDP songs.
So up next was Avenged Sevenfold, with their Machine Head inspired curtain logo opening up to the “Shepherd Of Fire” stage set. Some people in the audience wore Machine Head tops and they were getting heckled for it. It was all in good taste and everyone was having a laugh about it.
It is safe to say that “Shepherd Of Fire” and “Hail To The King” are great live songs. The best of the night along with “Lift Me Up” from Five Finger Death Punch. So regardless of what people call those songs or from what bands A7X and Five Finger Death Punch borrowed from in creating them. They are undeniable in a live setting. And didn’t we resonate and connect with them.
As is the norm, “Shepherd of Fire” opened up the sing along. It’s all about roots. A great song to kick off a concert with a sing along chorus.
“Critical Acclaim” from the 2007 self-titled album followed. It’s a hard song to pull off in the live setting, especially when you are playing a song that has “The Rev” on vocals via a backing tape.
“Beast and the Harlot” from the “City of Evil” album came next. The “City of Evil” album was the one that resonated with me and it was the album that got me into Avenged Sevenfold. I loved that whole Dream Theater meets “A Night At The Opera” approach.
Then it was back to the sing along with “Hail To The King”. I was actually singing “Sign Of The Cross” from Maiden throughout it as a test. “Eternal Rest” from the “Waking The Fallen” album came next and it hasn’t been played live since 2009. Personally, I would have loved to hear “Second Heartbeat” instead.
Then it came to the Nightmare vs City Of Evil part of the set. “Buried Alive” from the “Nightmare” album kicked it off, followed by “Seize the Day” from the “City of Evil” album.
Then the song “Nightmare” was played, followed by “Burn It Down” from the “City of Evil” album. It was also the first time they have played “Burn It Down” live since 2008.
The songs from the “Nightmare” album worked really good in the live setting. It gave me a new appreciation for those songs, as I saw that album as a very confused album and missing some direction.
A little Guitar Solo by Synester Gates introduced “Afterlife” from the 2007 self-titled album , that has that unbelievable shred solo that Synester made it to look completely effortless.
The main set finished off with “Almost Easy” from the 2007 self-titled album.
The Encore kicked off with “Unholy Confessions” from the “Waking the Fallen” album and finished with The Rev masterpiece “A Little Piece of Heaven” from the 2007 self-titled album.
In the same way that all the great bands had a definitive guitar player, Synester Gates is up there from the current trend. He worked that fretboard all night, sweeping up and down it, tapping it, pulling off and hammering on fast legato style leads on it and then doing some machine gun picking on it. This was a TRUE guitar hero.
And memories came back of practicing in my room, honing and refining my skills, hoping that one day, I will get a band together and have people appreciate what I do. It was never about riches. It was about the art of creating and connecting. I look at my kids and if I mention the words “Guitar Hero”, they think of the game. They fail to realise the hard work that goes into the practice.
It was entertaining and I got my money’s worth.
Compared to the Richie Sambora concert, Richie wins hands down. Sambora didn’t play it safe, taking us into improvised jams and sing alongs. Metal bands are not renowned for doing that. They are too scared in case they lose the audience.
What are the chances of metal bands playing it safe? Metal music is known for its rebellion and you have two of the big metal bands today, playing it safe in a live setting.
On a bad note, the $32 parking was a dead set rip off, especially when other venue parking stations charge between $12 and $16 dollars.