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Avenged Sevenfold // Live @ Heritage Bank Arena // 3.13.24

Article & Photos by: Linda Carlson

Cincinnati, OH – MonkeyGoose Magazine had the special opportunity to cover Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) twice on the third leg of their “Life Is But A Dream….” North American Tour, featuring support from Sullivan King and Poppy.  The tour is promoting the band’s eighth studio album, Life Is But A Dream, which was released in 2023.

A7X is M Shadows (Matt Sanders, vocals), Zacky Vengeance (Zachary Baker, rhythm guitar), Synyster Gates (Brian Haner, Jr, lead guitar), Johnny Christ (Jonathan Seward, bass) and Brooks Wackerman (drums).

Avenged Sevenfold

After a taped intro of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall,” the band’s performance started with M Shadows seated quietly center stage in a simple char, spotlit, wearing a black ski mask.  As he then stood and worked the stage with microphone in hand, the other band members, more colorfully attired, joined in to perform “Game Over.”  The song alternated between calm peacefulness and high-energy metal momentum.  It was a dramatic way to start the show.

Avenged Sevenfold

Early on, M Shadows shared with fans that, he was feeling the aches and pains since turning 40, having recently injured his back.  He remarked that this is what happens when you turn 40, then asking whether there were other 40-year-olds in the crowd.  Several affirmative shouts rang out.

The Cincinnati stage was elevated approximately seven feet, so the band worked tirelessly to move around and across the stage, including the edges where fans standing next to the stage looked upwards to catch glimpses of the musicians.  The vast stage was largely empty, with the sparseness allowing the band members to move freely.  Large floor to ceiling screens along the back and side walls projected vivid and active graphics, superimposing live video footage of the band members for a dynamic effect.

Vengeance and Gates frequently performed alongside each other, and there were a number of solo performances, as well.

Avenged Sevenfold

The set, just shy of two hours long, included a satisfying mix of older anthems with more recent offerings.  The band started and finished their set with songs from their latest album, Life Is But A Dream (“Game Over” & “Cosmic”), interspersing fan favorites from the extensive repertoire, like “Unholy Confessions” (Walking the Fallen, 2003), “Nightmare” (Nightmare, 2010), “Hail to the King” (Hail to the King, 2013), “Shepherd of Fire” (Hail to the King, 2013), “The Stage” (The Stage, 2016) and “Afterlife” (Avenged Sevenfold, 2007).  This seamless intermingling of new and old made for a solid, fulfilling experience.

  1. Game Over
  2. Mattel
  3. Afterlife
  4. Hail to the King
  5. We Love You
  6. Shepherd of Fire
  7. The Stage
  8. Roman Sky
  9. Blinded in Chains
  10. Bat Country
  11. Nobody
  12. Nightmare
  13. Unholy Confessions
  14. Save Me
  15. Cosmic

There was plenty to satisfy the avid fans, many of whom had raced to the front of the crowd to hang out on the rails to get as close as possible to the stage.  They were excited to experience the show up close and person.  This commitment stems from the nearly 25 years that A7X has blasted the scene with metalcore and heavy metal rock.  Their early Warped Tour appearances in the early 2000’s helped forge an ironclad connection with many fans.

Avenged Sevenfold

You can join the fun as the band continues touring.  Check the band’s website ( for upcoming shows, and be sure take a look at the carousel below to see more photos from the Cincinnati performance.


Linda Carlson
Linda has been photographing people since she was ten. Forever intrigued by the complex beauty of the human form, she brings the eye of a portraitist to the unpredictability and spectacle of the concert scene.