Mar 16, 2010

Megadeth - Ram's Head Live

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

MEGADETH / TESTAMENT / EXODUS

March 16 & 17, 2010

Baltimore, MD

If you are in any business long enough, you WILL see the best & worst of everything! That opening line is the best statement I can make for how the Megadeth show on March 16, 2010 went down.

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EXODUS opened the show early, they went on after 7 PM, I missed the very beginning of their set because I was still backstage with Chris, but I made it out to the main stage to catch the bulk of EXODUS's set & this was my 3rd time seeing this version of the band; I was hesitant at first because there's only 2 original members, BUT, most of the crowd didn't even know that fact, they still lit up when "Toxic Waltz" was played & to be blunt, that's the only song most casual EXODUS fans even remember, but to their credit, EXODUS played a set that was mostly newer material & they slayed the crowd!

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TESTAMENT were 2nd on the billing & the fist of Chuck Billy never stopping air guitaring throughout the bands set; if you've never seen Testament before I guess I should explain that Chuck Billy uses a mic that's kinda like a gold club in length, it's basically a partial mic stand with no base so Chuck can carry it around, & when Chuck's not screaming out vocals he's air guitaring!

The very first thing I noticed as Testament took the stage was, that dude playing lead guitar where Alex Skolnick SHOULD be, that's NOT Alex Skolnick! I asked everyone I knew there who that guy was and no one could tell me, so I asked Testaments tour manager at the end of the night & he confirmed to me that it was Megadeth's last guitarist, Glen Drover, that Glen was filling in for Alex because Alex was busy doing his jazz band & that Alex would rejoin the band at a later date when they start the Metallica tour. It's another interesting note that alot of people in attendance didn't even realize Alex Skolnick was a no-show! The Testament set was an hour long, they played a tight set, it honestly felt like a headlining set, BUT, during the Testament set was when you kinda got a glimpse into what was about to happen, because at one point you could hear cracks in the sound & it was momentary, but it happened & the shit was about to hit the fan when Mustaine & his Mega-men were ready to take the stage!

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Megadeth's set was slated to happen around 9:30-ish, BUT, it became apparent that there were "issues" when it hit 10 PM & there were NO signs of the band at all! Roadie's were scrambling about, but the real issue of the matter was brewing backstage...apparently Megadeth carry their own sound board with them & when it comes to electronics, it's a no-brainer, everything breaks at some point...like I said a few lines back, during Testament's set there were minor cracks in the sound & Testament's tour manager told me after the show that all throughout the day they had problems with their board, so flash forward to an hour after the slated stage time, the lights drop, they usher all the photographers to the photo pit to take pics for the first 3 songs of the Megadeth set, the crowd goes crazy, Dave Mustaine runs out on the stage, flying v guitar in hand, looking like a he's ready to rock, BUT, what happens next was the beginning of a night no one at this show will EVER forget!

Dave Mustaine grabs the mic stand, has a pissed off look on his face, & in an abusive manner Mustaine remarks, "This PA is a piece of shit! The PA here is a f**king piece of shit! They're trying to fix this, but you kinda get what you get when you f**kin' get when you come here, if the promoter would fix this PA we'd play here right now, so make a phone call, tell the promoter what a f**ker he is for giving us a piece of shit PA & maybe we'll play for you in a second."

Now, to be honest with you, the club was NOT to blame for the PA situation; Megadeth's board they brought with them died, so they decided to use the club's in-house board & what happened with that was, some asshole in the crowd decided to throw a drink at the stage & said asshole's beer landed on the clubs soundboard; if you spill a drink down ANY electronic console it's going to die! The situation was that the only 2 soundboards in the club were both D.O.A., but the drunken crowd didn't care, all they knew was that Mustaine & co. were just about 2 hours late taking the stage & during those angry 2 hours, various chants were started & the worst ones were, "F**K Dave", "F**k Megadeth", "Bull Sh*t", "What the F**k?", etc., & the thing is, with this particular crowd, there was no way of telling if a riot might break out, if tempers were going to get so heated that someone lost it; there were quite a few drinks being hurled at the stage & that's what actually caused the show to NOT happen in all honesty, because to their credit, Megadeth DID play 3 songs. As I was watching the entire situation go down I started to think, wow, if you go to see a Queensryche show you get "Thinkin' Men", but if you go to see a Megadeth show you get "Drinkin' Men" & my analogy was simple, a Queensryche show is less likely to have a riot, the crowd is mellower & a bit smarter, whereas a Megadeth show is more likely to end in violence based on the fact that the crowd was mostly drunk, older men who were pissed off!

The house lights went down & the bands intro tape played, "Set The World Afire" opened the show & I couldn't really hear Mustaine's vocals that well from where I was, but the guitar tone's sounded decent, however, things started to go downhill FAST & every few minutes you'd hear the guitars cut out & you'd only hear Dave Jr's bass playing...this happened throughout the first 3 songs; "Wake Up Dead", song #2 of the set was sounding decent minus the little guitar drops here & there, BUT, during "In My Darkest Hour" was when things went bad & here's how it all went down:

Dave's guitar was not sounding great so he stopped playing shortly after the beginning of the song & it was obvious he was pissed off because I was directly infront of him, I could see that angry look in his face & he slammed his guitar pic to the ground, which happened to land right next to my hand; I picked the guitar pic up & he was sweating so much that he had literally rubbed off ALL of the ink that was printed on the band logo side of his pic, what once read "MEGADETH - End Game" was simply a blurred out mess & shortly after that moment Ram's Head security yelled to ALL photographers to "LEAVE NOW!" & it was a no-brainer that something was wrong...we were allowed to photograph the first 3 songs of the night & when you're told you must leave in the middle of song 2.5 it's usually NOT a good sign!

I had the hindsight to find a good spot in the back & film the tail end of the song because I figured Mustaine was about to rant again, BUT, what happened next was surprising to EVERYONE in attendance! Mustaine declared the show was over & stormed off the stage, leaving the venue! About 10 minutes after the show ended, roadies tossed out guitar pics, tried to make the angry crowd calm & the venue announced that the show would be re-scheduled. The funniest part was, both Dave's from Megadeth were slates to do a meet & greet after the show, they were charging fans $25 to meet them after the show; basically, if you bought the bands new cd, "End Game" for $15 & added another $10 you could get the 2 Dave's to autograph your cd at the end of the night; HOWEVER, this particular night, those who bought a meet & greet pass got a sad surprise when the show ended abruptly, there was NO meet & greet & in general, you could hear people saying, "This is bull shit!", "I'll never come here again!", "Megadeth sucks!", etc., etc., the crowd was pissed off that they had paid $40 per ticket for a shit night!

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I spoke with Ram's Head Live's stage manager at the end of the night & it was NOT the venue's fault the show didn't happen...basically, Megadeth's soundboard died, then, because of an asshole who tossed a beer at the stage that, sadly, landed on the venue's soundboard, there was no soundboard. Dave Mustaine's actions didn't make the night any better though in all honesty, as you'll see in the short video I posted in this review, Dave came out being obnoxious, rather than being calm, & his initial statement could have started a riot this night; it upset the entire crowd, & what I will say to Dave's benefit is, the band decided to make good on the messed up show by playing the next night & honoring all tickets from the previous night.

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MEGADETH

March 17, 2010

Flash forward 24 hours from the night of March 16, 2010, the night that Megadeth had total sound board failure & ended a show after only 3 songs...Dave Mustaine & the boys decided to make it up to the Maryland fans by re-scheduling another show for the following night. Apparently, St. Patricks Day was an off-night for the band, but they decided to use their time wisely & make up for the show they ended after only 3 songs on 3/16/2010 with a free make-up show the very next night...there were NO openers, it was an evening with Megadeth & the band took the stage around 8:15 PM & played a nearly 80 minute show; the core of the show was "Rust In Piece" being performed in it's entirety!

For this show the band decided to open with a different song than the previous night; on 3/16 they opened with "Set the World Afire", but on 3/17 they opened with "Skin of My Teeth" which I actually liked alot better for the opening number, then the song that ended the 3/16 show, "In My Darkest Hour" was 2nd on the make-up shows set list & the final change to the set list was song #3 which was "She Wolf".

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After the 3rd song in the set, Dave & the guys left the stage for a minute, then David Ellefson came back wearing a "Rust in Peace" t-shirt & Dave Mustaine played a Dean Flying V that had the "Rust in Peace" album cover on it for the first few songs from the "Rust in Peace" set.

"Holy Wars" kicked off the Rust in Peace set & I was reminded of my interview with Chris Broderick where he told me he was still working out the solo's to that song on a daily basis...to be blunt with you, Chris is every bit as amazing a guitarist as Marty Friedman was! Stylistically, Chris' solo's are intense, fast at times, melodic in others, & Chris's playing is far superior to all other lead guitarists before him in Megadeth!

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"Hangar 18" got the biggest crowd reaction & the song itself is a metallic masterpiece that's a non-stop shred fest! "Five Magics" was interesting...Mustaine had some lyrics to that song taped to the stage & I'd never personally seen the band ever play "Take No Prisoners" so that was a treat for me!

"Lucretia" reminded me of just how bass heavy Megadeth used to be...the entire "Rust in Peace" record has far more bass lines than I'd remembered & is heavily bass driven way more than the bands more recent work....Mustaine really let Ellefson play by himself quite a bit & that's something you didn't see much of in the past...Mustaine sharing stage time & attention onstage!

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"Polaris" was the closer to the "Rust in Peace" part of the show, then the band left the stage briefly & came back out for the last set of songs before the encore. Mustaine started off "Headcrusher" with a rant about how last night the show was shitty & how he wanted to put the assholes who spilled beer on the sound board in a head lock & crush 'em!

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"Trust" was next & again, it was started off by Dave Ellefson alone onstage & I always thought that "Trust" was Mustaine's attempt at writing slower, "hit" material that would get radio airplay & make $$..."Trust" did just that, but it never attained the same mainstream attention that Metallica's stuff in that same vein would get. The final song in the set was opened with a symphonic sample, then, duhn duhn duhnt! "You take a mortal man....and put him in control" was uttered from Mustaine's voice as the band ripped into "Symphony of Destruction" which is arguably the bands biggest hit....this closed out the set & the band left the stage, the house lights were darkened & it was obvious that there was one more song left till the night was over!

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Dave Ellefson took the stage solo for one last time & he had a BC Rich bass on this time around & asked the crowd if they wanted one more song? Ellefson got the crowd good & ready, then started the bass line to "Peace Sells" & the place erupted as Ellefson laid down the groove for Mustaine & Broderick to enter with. This is where I made a startling discovery though & it's one that I couldn't help but mention....Dave Mustaine has breasts! Look at the pics I posted in this review...Dave, as always, plays the last song of the set shirtless...when he was younger it was fine, he was a kid, he could pass it off as something done for the female fans...perhaps, I don't know, BUT, I'll point out 2 things that were clear....the ENTIRE crowd was 90% male & Dave Mustaine has boobs! I won't go into it anymore, but it's a fact!

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The band played an extended jam during "Peace Sells" towards the end & they closed the night out with a reprise of the ending from "Holy Wars" which saw Chris & Dave trading off solo's & playing the hell outta their guitars, & the entire show was over before 10 PM believe it or not...it was over, done & Mustaine & Ellefson made it a point to honor all the meet & greet pass buyers from both the night the show was cancelled as well as from this night....I will give it to Mustaine, he might come off cocky onstage & act like an ass sometimes, BUT, he did make good on his promise to play another show for Maryland.

I think the only sad part of it all was that it was obvious ALOT o' the people who came out on Tuesday night did not come back for the free make-up show on Wednesday & part of that had to do with the fact that the announcement of the make-up show was made in less than 24 hours notice, alot o' people didn't know there was a show the next night & some people just couldn't make it because of work, school, or whatever, but all in all, Megadeth rocked Baltimore & as a little side note to the story, the venue literally installed a large tent that covered the ENTIRE soundboard so there was NO chance of anyone spilling a drink on the board at this show!