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At 7:30, on a cold December night, my friend and I found ourselves outside of the Roseland Theater in downtown Portland. Looking through the windows, I could see the usual smog inside, and when we opened the door, we were bulldozed by a cloud of cigarette smoke, and an explosion of music. The air was uncomfortably humid, scented with beer, and we were completely stoked to see Avenged Sevenfold in concert.
That night there were three bands opening up for Avenged Sevenfold: Black Tide, The Confession, and Operator. We climbed the stairs and walked into the concert hall just as Black Tide was finishing their second song. I admit I had never even heard of them before that night. Each member of the band had long dark hair that fell far below their shoulders and were head banging excessively. Their music was cluttered, the lead’s voice seemed off key, and I think their hair might have gotten tangled in the guitar strings. It sounded almost like a car crash. Overall, Black Tide’s music was great, that is, if you like cat food.
Travis and I slowly pushed ourselves forward through the crowd, and as The Confession started to play, we were about halfway to the stage, right in the middle of a huge mosh pit. Most of the guys left me moderately alone, but I was pulled in more then a few times. Being a 5 ft 5” girl, with absolutely no upper body strength, surrounded by huge sweaty men, I was tossed around quite a bit.
The Confession’s lead singer was wearing a plaid, button up shirt, and had shaggy hair that covered his eyes. He ran around the stage the whole time, jumping, posing, and a few times, it looked like he was going to lunge off of the stage. But his voice was incomparable, and he had a way of capturing the whole audience with his alluring tones. The Confession had a great set, and their lyrics were incredible. The whole crowd loved them, and you could really tell that the band was having a lot of fun. But I suppose that any band would sound that good after enduring Black Tide’s eye gauging performance.
Everyone took a long break before Operator came on, so Travis and I got about half way to the stage, found some other friends from school, and took a bit of a break from pushing our way any further. When Operator finally started up, we were recharged, and ready for them.
Operator’s lead singer was the main event for this band. He stood a good eight feet in front of them, shirtless, muscular, and coated in sweat. Seriously, it looked like he had been rubbing vegetable oil all over his chest back stage… Oh boy.
Their sound was immense, they had a lot of power behind their guitars, and the whole concert hall was reverberating with their music. It was very much like the ocean pounding against the sand, flooding all of Roseland with its weight. The only thing I could think of the whole time (other than how great the lead singer looked) was how hypnotically the crowd seemed to flow to their songs.
Sometime near the end of Operator’s performance, I got separated from my friends, and shoved my way up into the second row to the stage. When the band had finished, there was a good 15 minutes where no one was playing, and everyone was biting each other’s heads off to get closer to the stage, where Avenged Sevenfold would soon be appearing.
Being as close to the stage as I was, felt a lot like being shoved through a small, plastic tube. Every time I took a breathe, I could feel my carbon dioxide bouncing off the person next to me, and I was forced to breathe it in again. Also, it really didn’t help that I was compressed in between two half naked, extremely obese men, drenched in sweat. If someone was to have picked them up, and shaken them, enough sweat would have fallen off of their gigantic bodies to fill a swimming pool. It was the closest to suffocation and drowning that I ever want to get.
But then, it was as if a light from heaven had broken through ceiling, and descended upon me, because entering the stage at last, was M Shadows, followed by the rest of Avenged Sevenfold! The audience erupted with shrieks and cheers. And I was so close to the stage, that I could practically see the stitching on M Shadow’s jeans!
They started their set, and immediately, the throng of people began jolting back and forth, and up and down to the beat. The Confession and Operator looked like preschoolers compared to these guys! Synyster Gates took charge, and executed some out of this world guitar solos, that I could feel thrust through me in a big wave, and hit the person behind me. M Shadows’ tremendous voice seemed to break through the sound barrier, raising everyone’s heart rate by 50 beats. He sang so passionately, that every muscle in my body turned with the music, and it was absolutely impossible not to jump around, vigorously with the crowd. Avenged Sevenfold’s fanatical performance was beyond words. I was sick for two and a half weeks after this concert, that’s how good it was.