Venue: Soaring Eagle Casino
City: Mt. Pleasant, MI
Date: June 19, 2017
Review and Photographs by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)
When Avenged Sevenfold announced a one-off show at Soaring Eagle Casino while in the midst of a huge tour with Metallica, there was no question I wanted to attend this show... these guys have blown me away every time I have seen them. When the announcement was made that In This Moment was taking the opportunity to open the show as a kick-off for their own headlining tour, the decision was made and I prepared myself for a two-hour drive each way on a Monday night to check out this concert... and it was totally worth it!
In This Moment is one of those bands that understands the concept of entertainment. From the moment the band and additional role-players hit the stage, it was obvious this was not only fun for the ears, but will be a spectacle for the eyes as well. As the opening song "Blood" kicked in, we are greeted by the vocals of front woman Maria Brink. She throws herself into each track vocally and physically as her many costume changes attest to. With set changes and other transitions, unfortunately the opening set is short, but includes all killer music. After the musical flow of the show is started, the band rips into a killer redux of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" which has been slightly altered and renamed "Black Wedding" and featured the dual guitar attack of Chris Howorth and Randy Weitzel. As the band dipped into another track from the Blood album, "Adrenalize" was anchored by blistering bass lines courtesy of Travis Johnson and heavy-handed drumming from newest member Kent Diimmel. The band bridged the set with a couple other tracks before Brink introduced a rousing live version of "Whore" leaving the crowd satisfied and wanting more... but that additional helping of rock and roll will be served up shortly by the headliners.
The stage was converted and set for the headliner - Avenged Sevenfold - to come out and deliver yet another phenomenal rock show for the masses that gathered at a packed Soaring Eagle Casino on a Monday night. From the minute the band slowly made their way to their respective positions on stage - not that they are glued to them by any means - the audience was ready for their evening as a part of The Stage World Tour to begin. Wasting no time, the band ripped into the opening track of the night which happens to be the title track for the latest disc and the tours namesake "The Stage." The band was firing on all cylinders, especially the guitars of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengence. The duo traded licks and solos during not only this track, but through out the show. In addition to taking their individual moments to shine at certain parts of the show, the crowd seemed to explode when ever these guys would lean in and rub shoulders while playing in tandem. "Afterlife" was next out of the shoot and the energy flowing back and forth from the stage to the crowd and back seemed to grow and intensify. All bets were off when the band proceeded to rip into "Hail To The King" featuring a killer stage presentation on the massive video screen and the pyrotechnics. Vocalist M. Shadows was all over the place, smiling, singing, screaming... I guess you could say he was having a hell of a good time based on his performance. He kept a lot of banter to a minimum (with the exception of trying to figure out who near the stage had recently been married) in order to allow the music to do the talking. No A7X show is complete without the antics and thunderous bass lines form Johnny Christ, who roamed freely playing his heart out and helping to anchor the rhythm section. The run of track that followed was one great song after another, especially when the band ripped from "So Far Away" into another of my personal favorites "Nightmare". After a powerful version of "God Damn" that seemed to rattle the ground, "Almost Easy" brought the band and audience together on vocals, as it seemed everyone in the venue knew the words. Drummer Brooks Wackerman controlled the tempo and flow of the show from behind his set with power and finesse, adding his feel and groove to tonight's setlist. The one-two punch of "Planets" and "Acid Rain" closed out the show until the opening strands of "Bat Country" filtered through the sound system, taking us through a three song encore that got everybody on their feet and kept them there until the final note was played and the house lights came up. If this was any indication of how the band is playing live, Metallica have their work cut out for them on this tour...
Complete set of AVENGED SEVENFOLD show photos HERE
AVENGED SEVENFOLD SETLIST: The Stage - Afterlife - Hail to the King - Paradigm - Buried Alive - So Far Away - Nightmare - God Damn - Almost Easy - Sunny Disposition - Warmness on the Soul - Planets - Acid Rain - Bat Country - A Little Piece of Heaven - Unholy Confessions
AVENGED SEVENFOLD LINKS:
Complete set of IN THIS MOMENT show photos HERE
SKILLET SETLIST: Blood - Black Wedding - Adrenalize - Black Widow - Oh Lord - Whore
IN THIS MOMENT LINKS: