The CFE Arena on University of Central Florida’s campus was the setting for this, arguably one of the biggest arena rock tours of the year.

Due to issues at Will Call, we were unable to see Nothing More for this particular show, however, through past experience at other concerts, it is certain they did more than warm up the crowd as the opener and they most likely surpassed expectations, they have a performance unlike other bands in the genre.

Hellyeah took the stage second to fans that were surely familiar of the past this quintet brought to the stage. Vocalist Chad Gray, guitarist Tom Maxwell, and legendary drummer Vinnie Paul, accompanied by guitarist Christian Brady and bassist Kyle Sanders, these veterans brought it all on stage. The crowd was already pumped and ready to go and Gray further increased their excitement with intense crowd interaction, including him getting on the rail and singing in people’s faces for one of the final songs. Gray announced not long into their set that, “heavy metal is not dead. Look around you!” and the crowd went wild.  Their newest single “Moth,” led to lighters and cell phones in the air, just like the moths to a flame in the song, creating a surreal moment contained under the roof of this indoor arena.

The four piece from Denmark has been taking the rock world by storm, Volbeat, took the stage and showed just why rockers everywhere have catapulted these guys to stages around the globe. Michael Poulsen sings while he plays guitar, each guitarist moved around stage, switching microphones when needed in order to give the crowd a taste of each musician’s personality. Bassist Anders Kjølholm made faces and pointed at fans on the rail, while Poulsen grabbed a band shirt and crowd surfed it to a four year old. For the end of their set, Volbeat welcomed onto the stage over a dozen children to take part in their song, “Pool of Booze.” However, since there will children onstage, Poulsen said they would modify the name and lyrics to be more age appropriate, hence “Pool of Chocolate” was born with a “kiss” instead of a “fuck.”

Five Finger Death Punch took the stage to the sound of cheering and screaming from every seat in the arena. Drummer Jeremy Spencer came out clad in a glow-in-the-dark skeleton suit with a mouthpiece that lit up and changed color. Ivan Moody had a bat in his hands that read “FUCK” and he came out literally swinging. The band was tight and as heavy as ever, in fact, they had the crowd so pumped up four security guards had to run into the pit and drag someone out. The band dedicated their cover of “Bad Company,” to the troops and Moody even gave a shout out to a fan holding up his crutch.

This time around, Ivan and the guys did something a bit different and, instead of calling their younger fans onstage, Moody called a seventeen year old, Keaton, from the Make-A-Wish Foundation who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening lung disease that causes mucus build-up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other areas of the body, onstage for a song. Keaton introduced himself to the crowd, fans fell completely silent and a pin drop could have been heard throughout the arena.

Afterwards, the band found out the nine-year-old girl Moody had brought onstage for “Burn M.F.” at the Fort Rock Festival in Fort Myers, Florida in April who had caused grief for the band when her father recorded a video of the song and a local television channel got wind of the performance was in the crowd. The media painted Five Finger Death Punch as using her as a “prop” and subjecting her to the harsh language in the song. Moody wanted to set the record straight, and invited her and her father back onstage, where he held the crowd in the palm of his hand and said, “You wanna see something cool?” to the little girl before making the crowd go wild. He cleared the air and let her and her father watch the rest of the show side stage without any further attention.

The ability of all the musicians of these bands to control the CFE Arena crowd of nearly 10,000 people with a single word or note speaks to the power of not only rock music, but music in general. It also helps to prove that rock music is indeed not dead, as all these people who came out to an arena rock show on a Tuesday night showed.

Nothing More
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Hellyeah
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Volbeat
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Five Finger Death Punch
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This article was originally posted on Backstage VIPs.

About The Author

Julie Goldstein is a 25 year old rock fanatic residing in Jacksonville, Florida. The first concert she ever attended was Evanescence back in 2007 where she became mesmerized by Amy Lee's stage presence. While attending college at the University of Florida for a bachelors degree in English, she saw Halestorm live in 2009 where Lzzy Hale awoke something in her that brought on a calling for music journalism. Julie has since gone from that small club show with her little point-and-shoot Sony to sold out, two day rock festivals behind the barricade with her Nikon DSLR and interviewing top acts such as Lacuna Coil, Sick Puppies, and Butcher Babies. She runs her own website at www.backstagevips.com where fans can take a step backstage for artist interviews, cd reviews, and concert photography.

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