Gigantour 2012 featuring Megadeth
Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
January 28th, 2012
Heavy metal is truly back, whether it’s classic thrash, new wave British, or death. Fans old and new are getting a taste of shredding licks and screaming vocals while banging their collective heads. Metal master Dave Mustaine is a veteran of the scene yet chooses not to rest on his laurels. He could easily walk away leaving the metal to his kin, but that’s not the Dave we know. For the better part of the decade, Mustaine has reformed the mighty Megadeth into a machine of metal destruction. His blood, sweat, and tears have produced excellent albums time and time again, with 2011′s “Thirteen,” the most recent example of the band’s greatness. But that’s not enough for Dave. Things need to be bigger, giant even.
Enter “Gigantour,” a city by city festival featuring Megadeth as the headliners while up and coming bands like Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil open the show. The festival allows these guys to have a voice which is increasingly hard in what has become an increasingly fickle music scene. Gigantour’s second marquee act really needs no introduction. All you have to see is a few thousand people with their fists in the air chanting, “Lemmy, Lemmy!” It’s metal/punk legends Motörhead who followed the openers showing why they still dominate in concert with Lemmy’s never ending freight train demeanor. Hearing classics, “Ace of Spades,” and “Overkill” back-to-back was an insane face melter.
Megadeth’s Gigantour set played like most of their festival appearances of the past year- a greatest hits of their career with a few surprises peppered in. As longtime fans of Megadeth, their catalog of songs are all extremely solid live. But while the band never disappoints, we feel fortunate that Megadeth still exists at all considering all that Mustaine and the boys have been through physically and emotionally over the past decade. At around nine thirty the stage went dark and Shawn Drover’s unmistakable drum beats crashed for the opener “Trust,” from the ‘Cryptic Writings’ album. “Trust,” albeit not as hard as the rest of their catalog is a perfect opener. It rocks hard enough to pump up the crowd, yet it doesn’t shoot it’s load too early. In recent years the tune’s been a staple of my iPod playlist, as well as a constant Megadeth opener. Mustaine hit the center of the stage like he owned it, wielding a double axe guitar. Quite bad ass.
The hour plus show dripped with pure metal fury. From top to bottom the set had something for everyone. Having seen Megadeth twice over the past year, I was thrilled that they pulled out “Angry Again,” one of my favorite tracks off the Hidden Treasures EP. It’s a perfect example of the bands diversity, even into the 1990s. It was a time when heavy metal was universally unpopular, but Mustaine and the guys continued to put out solid records. Fans were also treated to the single, “Public Enemy No.1″ from the newest album, “Thirteen.” It’s a solid throwback to classic Megadeth while exploring new areas of thrash all at once.
At one point Mustaine had Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia come out on stage to sing, “À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)” with him. It was a fantastic duet of a classic, and the first time I’ve ever seen Mustaine sing with a female. Besides being one of the best shredders in the business, this dude can harmonize with the best of them. Along with these rare on stage moments, fans got the red meat they wanted with staples such as, “Hanger 18″, “Wake Up Dead,” and “Symphony of Destruction,” all of which were played to perfection.
Holding Gigantour at The Theater at Madison Square was a mixed bag. While the space is large, it is still small enough for everyone in the house to get a view of the band on stage banging their heads. The one major negative is the sound. For years I have had a problem with the acoustics inside MSG’s main room. I have no idea how this place was sound proofed through the years, but something seems to be missing. During the beginning of Megadeth’s set it was difficult to hear Mustaine’s vocals over the instruments, which is a result of low mic levels or the abundance of right angles inside the room which tend to deaden sound. Or a mixture of both. As the set went on though, the levels seemed to improve allowing us to clearly hear Dave’s snarl.
Megadeth are awesome cockroaches. They just won’t die, and that’s a great thing! The Gigantour is a perfect example to prove the band’s relevance even after all these years. It also shows how much Megadeth cares about smaller bands and their successes. Wounds of the past have been mended, and the only direction Mustaine, Ellefson, Broderick, and Drover have to face is straight ahead.
- Jay Rubin
Gigantour Featuring Megadeth – Live at The Theater At Madison Square Garden New York, NY
January 28th, 2011
2. Wake Up Dead
3. Hangar 18
4. Sweating Bullets
5. Angry Again
6. Public Enemy No. 1
7. Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
8. Guns, Drugs & Money
9. A Tout Le Monde
(with Cristina Scabbia)
10. Symphony of Destruction
11. Peace Sells
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due