Reigning Metal at the Amway in Orlando

By on November 6, 2013

M. Shadows and Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

The Deftones and Avenged Sevenfold arrived to the Amway Arena to provide their own brand of “magic” in Orlando. Packed to the hilt with rabid fans brandishing tattoos of symbols used by Avenged Sevenfold, they awaited impatiently for the Deftones to begin their set. I am familiar with the music of the Deftones, but I’ve never realized how big of a following they have. Chanting the bands name prior to them taking the stage and the arena was set for a sight and sound spectacular.

Sergio Vega, the Deftones (photo by Travis Failey /RSEN)

Opening the show with “Diamond Eyes” the Sacramento based multi-platinum veteran band, engaged and captivated their fans. Frontman and guitarist Chino Moreno’s vocals connected with their audience not through power but through raw emotion and spirit. They followed up with “Rocket Skates” another song from their 2011 release Diamond Eyes. Next up was “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” and “My Own Summer (Shove It)” from the 1997 cd, Around the Fur.   These two songs received heavy airplay on MTV and provided an outlet for the bands alt-metal stylings. The success of Around the Fur propelled them to the big tours, including Ozzfest and The Warped Tour.

Moving throughout the stage fluidly during my limited four song set, Chino and his bandmates, Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Frank Delgado (keyboards and turntables), Abe Cunningham (drums and percussion) and Sergio Vega (bass) proved what hard work and perseverance can do. This band has been around for 25 years and have done things their way, and along that path they have gained accolades and success, but the true level of their success was shown on the smiling faces of their many dedicated fans that were in attendance on this night.

Chino Moreno of the Deftones showing off his moves (photo by Travis Failey)

Steven Carpenter (L) on the guitar and frontman Chino Moreno, the Deftones (photo by Travis Failey)


Headlining tonight was a band that takes on many adjectives: dynamic, versatile, bombastic and so on. After tonight (dare I say it) I’m going to include “Mighty.”  “Mighty” has been used to describe bands throughout the years but specifically when talking about the legends of hard rock and heavy metal. The “Mighty Maiden,” The “Mighty Metallica” and only a few others truly deserve this moniker.

Avenged Sevenfold has earned this label. Touring off their epic recent release Hail to the King, this band brings it all to the stage each and every night and leaves their fans awaiting the next opportunity to see them live.  This is how I felt after seeing them on their Nightmare tour a few years back with a performance that was eye-opening and memorable.


M. Shadows smiles for the Central Florida crowd (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

The anticipation during the set change between bands was palpable.

They dropped the curtain and the pots of flame were engulfed. A mini moat of fire went around the front of the drum kit & a castle-like structure and skeletons provided a backdrop across the full stage.

It was obvious that they were not only going to equal the theatrics of the previous Nightmare tour performances, but eclipse it exponentially.

After the early bursts of pyro, the opening notes of “Shepherd of Fire” were heard and the crowd began their frenzy that would last as long as I would be allowed to witness it.

“Shepherd of Fire” is the second single off of Hail to the King and my personal favorite.

It’s a classic metal song that reminds me of Megadeth’s hit “Trust” off their 1997 Cryptic Writings release with the haunting sounds of early Black Sabbath.

Synyster Gates working on the lead (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

From the opening lyrics “Lets take a moment and break the ice” M. Shadows took control of the stage and had the crowd in his hand for the rest of the night.  He’s a great frontman with a wide vocal range and a sound all his own. With rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Zacky Vengeance, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Synyster Gates, bass guitarist Johnny Christ and drummer Arin Ilejay, the group proved to everyone in the crowd that they are worthy of the acclaim that they have received and the 8 million records they have sold to date. Guitarists Vengeance and Gates are perfect partners in sound and are reminiscent of masterful duos in Smith & Murray, Spitz & Ian, and Downing & Tipton.


Johnny Christ, Avenged Sevenfold (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Continuing their set with “Critical Acclaim” and then “ Welcome to the Family” of  the Nightmare release, you knew it was going to be a night of hits and soon to be released tracks that will be played in mass rotation not only on satellite radio but also on your local rock station.


The title track off Hail to the King was next and my last song of the night. This song is a heart racing, crushing anthem that sticks in your head hours after you hear it for the first time.  Powerful vocals, driving dual guitars, a thumping bass line and booming drums in perfect synchronicity. Each instrument standing on its own, leaving with you thinking about them individually and as a group.  Some would say a perfect song and I would agree.

In addition to the quality music that this band provides, they always include a stage show that mimics the enormity of some of Iron Maiden’s classic sets and another reason to go see this band.

Amway Arena was packed with fans (photo by Travis Failey)


AVENGED SEVENFOLD (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Even though I was limited to a four song set tonight, It was a perfect precursor to seeing Avenged Sevenfold the next time they come to the Central Florida area not as a member of the media but once again as a fan.


Avenged Sevenfold are a third of the new modern metal trifecta kingdom with the other two being Corey Taylor’s Stone Sour and the boys in Five Finger Death Punch. Any of the three could claim the throne but only with one will you scream, Hail to the Kings.


Now that’s a real Avenged Sevenfold fan (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Chino Moreno (L) and Sergio Vega, the Deftones (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Avenged Sevenfold frontman, M. Shadows (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Fans at the new “O” Rena the Amway Center (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Johnny Christ, Avenged Sevenfold (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Zacky Vengeance, Advenged Sevenfold (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

M. Shadows (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Steven Carpenter, the Deftones (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

An impressive theatrical setting: AVENGED SEVENFOLD, Amway Center, Orlando, Florida (photo by Travis Failey)


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