With a massive stage featuring bright orange flames and their now-iconic "Deathbat" prop bathed in deep purple light, Avenged Sevenfold's touring in support of their 'Nightmare' album roared to a close last Saturday night, Dec. 17, in Ontario, Calif.

In a packed Citizens Business Bank Arena, the favorite musical sons from Huntington Beach brought the curtain down on nearly two years of touring in support of their number one album, 'Nightmare.' The trek kicked off 21 months ago with ex-Dream Theater, current Adrenaline Mob member Mike Portnoy sitting in for late drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and ended with Arin llejay behind the kit.

Onstage Saturday night, frontman M. Shadows talked about the tour, Sullivan, and how happy he was to finally be performing near home (the closest the band has come since a fall 2010 UPROAR appearance in Irvine). With many friends and family members in the house, the band seemed relaxed and comfortable on stage, delivering a blistering set that proved once more just what a polished powerhouse they have become.

Also on the bill were Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria and Hollywood Undead, all of whom played electrifying sets before a fired-up crowd. But the people were clearly there for Avenged Sevenfold and they exploded just after 9:30PM when the lights dimmed and an ethereal, cemetery ambiance was piped into the arena.

Charles Epting

Amid fog, fire and a spectacular light show, A7X assumed their now familiar poses on their impressive stage set and delivered a confident-yet-playful show that seemed to reflect not just their giddiness at being home, but at the end of a long trip.

Opening with the title track of their latest album, the group then tore into a setlist that featured selections from their entire discography. Fans lapped-up every minute of it, losing their minds to songs like 'Almost Easy,' 'Welcome to the Family,' and 'Afterlife.' After tearing through 11 songs, the band came back and played 'Beast and the Harlot' from their 2005 album 'City of Evil.'

And then it ended - the tour that many doubted would even happen after the loss of "The Rev."

One could only wonder what's next for the metal heroes. We expect big things.

Charles Epting