Last week, while many Alabamians braved long Black Friday lines and the sight of Thanksgiving leftovers, hundreds of others packed an Alabama arena to hear the deafening chords of heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch.
The band, which fronted Cory Marks and Brantley Gilbert, performed at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena last Friday, months after Red Mountain Entertainment announced the first show. All three acts sang, screamed and rocked their hearts out to a decently packed floor and fans in the stands.
Marks started promptly at 6:30 p.m., noting a few songs in his set that he was performing for the first time in Alabama, before thanking the crowd for such a warm welcome.
While the first opener of a concert often performs to audiences who have never heard of them, Marks had many fans on stage singing along to his seven-song set.
He left the crowd with “Outlaws & Outsiders,” a song that can simply be described as a middle finger to follow the status quo. It was also the song people knew best, probably because it featured country music great Travis Tritt, co-founder of Mötley Crüe, Mick Mars and Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch.
The country-rock vibes rolled right in when Gilbert took the stage and commented on how good it was to be south of the Mason-Dixon line at the start of his set. At times it seemed like it was Gilbert’s own headlining show rather than Five Finger Death Punch’s, as fans sang along to his hits “Rolex on a Redneck” and “Bottoms Up,” among others.
“Alabama has been like a second home to me for the last few years,” Gilbert, who is from Georgia, remarked between songs. Gilbert added that he liked to yell “Roll Tide,” which he did several times throughout his set, except when they were playing Georgia, which mostly earned him joking boos.
Gilbert’s 15-song set included covers, raps, and a lengthy dedication to members of the US military during “One Hell of an Amen.”
When Five Finger Death Punch took the stage at around 9:15pm, the excitement in the arena was almost at its peak.
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Although the tour was named after their latest album, AfterLife, there was a healthy mix of new and old songs throughout their set, to the delight of fans old and new. Also to the fans’ delight was the liberal use of fire and pyrotechnics in almost every song.
The Birmingham date was stop number 10 for all artists, but it never seems too early for surprises as Marks, Gilbert and Five Finger Death Punch teamed up to cover “Bad Company” for the first time of the entire tour.
The surprises didn’t end there. During a small acapella segment of the set, Moody added a bit of “Remember Everything,” a song he said they don’t sing live often anymore but was added to Friday’s set at the request of a fan.
Moody often spent more time interacting with the fans than singing the songs, which is just natural for a Five Finger Death Punch show as the crowd of fans at the front of the stage only grew when the group finished their last Song ended instead of dissolving.
It soon became clear why. Moody and his band members stayed on stage for more than 10 minutes, handing out setlists, guitar picks and signing whatever the fans offered them.
“Thanks, Alabama,” Moody called out to the crowd of fans before walking offstage. He was rewarded with cheers, smiles and thanks.
All in a day’s work for a platinum certified band.
If you’re keen to play your metal or country, Five Finger Death Punch will be touring through the rest of November and into December. Click here to view the current tour dates here.