Avenged Sevenfold bring the fireworks as they make their debut as Download headliners

Rob Zombie, Within Temptation, Royal Blood and Radkey also perform on Day One of Donington event

Avenged Sevenfold played a spectacular set as they brought the opening day of the 2014 Download Festival to a close.

Making their debut as Download headliners, the band pulled out all the stops with a spectacular stage show that included a huge amount of pyrotechnics, fireworks and a stage set that resembled an arena sized graveyard.

Kicking off with ‘Shepherd Of Fire’, the opening salvo on the band’s latest album ‘Hail To The King’, the metal band worked their way through an 110-minute, career-spanning set, that included rare airings of ‘The Beast And The Harlot’, ‘Seize The Day’ and early track ‘Second Heartbeat’.

The show also saw the band’s guitarist Synyster Gates played a lengthy guitar solo, which included a full rendition of the British national anthem, which even got a few of the crowd singing along patriotically.

During the set, frontman Matt Shadows was in a reflective mood, telling the crowd constantly how honoured the band were to be headlining the festival.

He also paid tribute to the band’s former drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan’, who passed away in 2009. Speaking to the crowd before the five piece launched into ‘So Far Away’, Shadows thanked the crowd and then said: “There’s one other man we need to thank. He was the backbone of this band for years. His name is James ‘The Rev’ Sullivan.”

He went on to say: “‘Jimmy’s mom called me before we played here today and said go and kill it, that’s what Jimmy would want”, he then dedicated the following track to “Our brother upstairs.”

The set included two encores, before the band finished off with breakthrough single ‘Unholy Confessions’, which was followed by the launch of fireworks.

Avenged Sevenfold played:

‘Shepherd of Fire’
‘Critical Acclaim’
‘Bat Country’
‘Hail to the King’
‘Burn It Down’
‘Buried Alive’
‘So Far Away’
‎’Second Heartbeat’
‎’This Means War’
‘The Beast And The Harlot’
‘Seize The Day’
‘Almost Easy’
‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’
‘Unholy Confessions’

Earlier over on the Pepsi Max Stage, sibling trio Radkey played an explosive set with crowd surfing aplenty and frenzied mosh pits.

That was followed over on the Zippo Encore Stage by bluesy Scottish rockers The Temperance Movement, who delivered a well-attended set that featured a host of tracks from their self-titled debut album, including ‘Only Friend.’

Rising rockers Royal Blood then took to the Pepsi Max Stage for their first Download performance. Despite Dutch arena rockers Within Temptation clashing with the duo, the pair’s crowd was so big that it spilled way outside the tent. The set featured a flattening ‘Out Of The Black’ and ‘Little Monster’, which drew huge applause from the packed in crowd.

Right before Avenged Sevenfold hit the Main Stage, another spectacular performance came from Rob Zombie, who ran through a career-spanning set that included tracks from days with White Zombie as well as solo material, highlights including a powerhouse rendition of ‘Superbeast’, ‘Living Deal Girl’ and set highlight ‘Dragula.’

Download Festival continues today (June 14th) with sets from Bring Me The Horizon, Fall Out Boy, Status Quo and a headline performance from Linkin Park that will feature the band playing their 27 million-selling debut album ‘Hybrid Theory’ from beginning to end.