PEORIA, Ill. - On the same day Avenged Sevenfold announced they'd skip the Grammy ceremonies in protest of their category being pushed out of prime time, the California hard rockers packed the house at the Peoria Civic Center.
Along with Bullet For My Valentine and Breaking Benjamin, A7X - as they're referred to in shorthand - brought heavy metal to the Land of Lincoln.
The UK's Bullet For My Valentine got the crowd roaring, delivering on their hits, from “Your Betrayal” and “4 Words” to the more recent “Worthless” and “Don't Need You.”
Benjamin Burnley and friends – collectively known as Breaking Benjamin – didn't waste a second, tearing the set open with “So Cold” and not slowing down at all. Covering their nearly-two-decade career, the setlist included everything from their multi-platinum “We Are Not Alone” album to the newest disc, “Ember." One of the highlights of the evening included the medley of cover tunes that kicked off with John Williams' legendary “Imperial March” from Star Wars (with lightsabers in hand), “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nirvana and “Walk” by Pantera.
Breaking Benjamin then brought out fans to join them onstage, including a handful of teens from the audience, for their final number, the mega-hit single “The Diary of Jane.” It was a fantastic cap to a great set, and showed their true appreciation to the people who have kept them running all these years.
Top of the bill, bringing “The Stage” world tour across the country, Grammy-nominated Avenged Sevenfold took the stage in front of an incredible visual display. Lights, videos ... it all provided a backdrop for these musicians at the sold-out Civic Center.
Launching into that award-winning, tour-title song, the band had the crowd hooked from the first note. With crowd surfers flying over the barricade, M. Shadows led his band through a night of loud, raw metal.
From the fist-pumping anthems like “Hail to the King” to the crowd-pleasing “Nightmare,” there wasn't a slow moment all night. Guitarist Synyster Gates ran from the front to the back of the stage, vamping and blowing kisses to the crowd and owning every square foot of real estate he covered. Johnny Christ on bass and Brooks Wackerman behind the kit provided the thundering rhythm that kept everyone in line and on time, while Zacky Vengeance held it all together on the rhythm guitar that provided the through-line to let all the spectacle shine through.
Avenged Sevenfold included their newest single, a cover of Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here” before closing out the night with a three-song encore.
The night was a hit with the crowd, which shows that rock won't simply fade into oblivion.
Avenged Sevenfold is out there proving that on “The Stage.”