Avenged Sevenfold fans in North America were bracing for a summer without any live shows from their favorite band until Metallica came and saved the day. Invited to participate in the Orion Music and More Festival in Atlantic City on June 24, Avenged Sevenfold decided to make the most of it, adding a few one off shows prior to their festival appearance. The first of the three shows was in Quebec City, Canada on June 21 followed by a second show on June 22 in Uncasville, Conn. The two shows would serve as a warm-up for their highly anticipated Orion performance.

Like two rock ‘n’ roll fueled ships passing in the night, Halestorm just happened to be getting ready to kick off their own headlining tour around the same time, and joined forces with A7X to open the two one-off shows, offering up a rock show for the ages.

Getting the evening started on June 22 at the Mohegan Sun Arena with their short but intense rocking set, it’s clear to see why Halestorm have earned a headlining run. Giving a whole new meaning to the term sibling rivalry, drummer Arejay Hale and singer and guitarist Lzzy Hale have seen what started as a little project in their living room morph into their rock and roll dream – of course, none of that came without a healthy dose of dedication, sweat, and ass-kicking along the way – not to mention the rest of the band’s contributions with Joe Hottinger on guitar and Josh Smith on bass.

Their 10-song set was heavy on tracks from their latest disc ‘The Strange Case Of…released in April of this year. Kicking it off with the snarky and bombastic anthem ‘Love Bites’ and closing out the evening with their personal ode to their fans ‘Here’s To Us,’ Halestorm got the night off to a perfect start and raised the bar pretty high. (Check out the dates for their headlining tour run here.)

If any band knows how to rise to the occasion though, it’s Avenged Sevenfold. Nothing is more proof positive of that than their loyal fan base. Fans waited in line for hours before the show, hoping to get a perfect spot on the general admission floor to be as close to the action as possible.

Starting their set with the title track from their 2010 disc ‘Nightmare,’ Avenged Sevenfold unleashed a 12 song, 90-minute assault on the audience who clearly couldn’t be any more ready and willing to soak it all up. It might be cliché to say but an Avenged Sevenfold show exemplifies everything a rock show should be from pyro to gratuitous guitar solos, to circle pits, crowd participation and yes, even fireworks. The energy was not only permeating but downright transforming, it was hard to be under that roof and not be a convert to the church of Avenged Sevenfold.

Dedicating ‘So Far Away’ to their late drummer and dear friend Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan who passed away in 2009 has not only become part of the show, but a chance for fans to participate and say goodbye to The Rev in their own personal way. Fans raised their cell phones in solidarity, creating an angelic glow throughout the arena as the band performed the song.

The set list mirrored that of the previous one-off show in Canada with the usual suspects like ‘Bat Country’ and ‘Beast and the Harlot’ clearly among crowd favorites – although the whole set list was a hit from start to finish with: ‘Nightmare,’ ‘Beast and the Harlot,’ ‘Welcome to the Family,’ ‘Second Heartbeat,’ ‘Buried Alive,’ ‘So Far Away,’ ‘Chapter Four,’ ‘Bat Country,’ ‘Afterlife,’ ‘A Little Piece of Heaven,’ ‘Fiction’ and ‘Unholy Confessions.’

According to M. Shadows, the concert was being filmed for an upcoming DVD so hopefully the whole show will make an encore performance somewhere in the near future – although, for all those in attendance, the afterglow from the evening will probably fuel them for the next year.

View Photos of Avenged Sevenfold and Halestorm on June 22 in Uncasville, Conn.

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