5 things we learned at Avenged Sevenfold's virtual reality gig

Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold (Image credit: Steph Cabral)

With a the release of new album The Stage coming out of nowhere, it’s obvious that Avenged Sevenfold are way past playing by anyone else’s rules. So it makes sense they’ll play the world’s first VR gig on top of the Capitol Records building. Here’s what we learned from the experience…

It’s only a quickie

While a gig on top of Capitol Tower sounds impressive, the logistics are probably prohibiting a full headline show from taking place. Tonight, 13 storeys up and on the screens of millions of fans, A7X hammer through four absolute ragers including new track The Stage, which is already a crowd favourite. We can’t wait until they start dropping Sunny Disposition into the set.

VR is a lot of fun

Outside there’s a massive screen showing the rooftop gig, but also an area giving the fans a chance to play with the snazzy-ass VRTGO technology. Being able to effectively stand in front of the band for an entire show is a mesmerising experience, like they’re recording a music video just for you. And sure, it might be showing off, but that’s what heavy metal is all about!

It won’t replace the real thing just yet

The technology involved is amazing, and superimposing sinister imagery on the gig really adds another layer to what a live show can be, but it’s hard to shake the overwhelming feeling of being plugged into the matrix. The adrenaline rush of seeing a band live onstage is somewhat removed as you’re very aware of the goggles and headphones, but the potential is massive. Sadly, there won’t be a virtual walls of death any time soon.

Brooks Wackerman is a machine

If you’ve already heard A7X’s new album, you’ll know just how important new drummer Brooks is to the entire operation. His punked-up style gives Avenged’s brand of metal some serious bite, and his hard-hitting flair only adds to the menace of opener Nightmare. A7X are in very safe hands with this guy.

People still buy music!

It might sound crazy, but yes, CDs are still very much a thing. And as soon as the 30-minute gig finishes, the album is on sale at the red and white tents outside the Capitol building, and suddenly a 500-person-strong crowd appears. It doesn’t matter that the album leaked 24 hours previously or that it’ll be on Spotify in a matter of hours, Avenged’s fans want something of substance to claim as their own, and not many bands can boast that… but then again, they’re not like most bands.

All photos: Steph Cabral

Avenged Sevenfold Quiz: how well do you know the band?

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.