Megadeth rocked the metal masses in the Motor City at Joe Louis Arena with support from Amon Amarth, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church, and Butcher Babies
Opening the evening was Butcher Babies from Los Angeles. They warmed up the early crowd with their aggressive thrash metal. The band has built a growing following through relentless touring including some of the large rock festivals. Their set included “Monster’s Ball,” “The Butcher,” “Gravemaker,” “Igniter,” “Axe Wound,” and “Magnolia Boulevard.”
Butcher Babies are Heidi Shepherd (vocals), Carla Harvey (vocals), Henry Flury (guitar), Jason Klein (bass), and Chrissy Warner (drums).
Metal veterans Metal Church took the stage to a great round of applause. They have been around since 1980 and are touring in support of their latest release, XI. Mike Howe got the crowd energized as he worked the stage striking poses, while Kurdt Vanderhoof laid down the riffs on lead guitar with support from Rick Van Zandt on guitar, Steve Unger on bass, and Jeff Plate on drums. Their full setlist was “Fake Healer,” “Start the Fire,” “No Tomorrow,” “Badlands,” and “Beyond the Black.”
Next up was Suicidal Tendencies, who wasted no time getting the crowd fired up with their fast-paced combination of punk rock and thrash metal. Lead singer Mike Muir ran and bounced about all over the stage, only stopping to engage with the crowd to pump them up. The rest of the band was just as animated. They tore through a set that included “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” “Freedumb,” “Trip at the Brain,” “War Inside My Head,” Living for Life,” and “Pledge Your Allegiance.”
Suicidal Tendencies is Mike Muir (lead vocals), Dean Pleasants (lead guitar), Dave Lombardo (drums), Ra Diaz (bass), and Jeff Pogan (rhythm guitar).
Fans were in for a treat by the next band. It was apparent this was going to be something special as the road crew assembled a stage set that resembled a Viking ship. As the lights dimmed, Johan Hegg, vocalist for Amon Amarth, strode on to the stage wielding a mighty Mjolnir, or Thor’s Hammer. The audience erupted.
Amon Amarth is from Sweden and have been around since 1992. They are currently touring in support of their tenth studio album, Jomsviking. Their genre is often called Viking metal because of the content of the songs lyrics, but as far as this reviewer is concerned, it is just great metal.
They powered through a nine-song setlist consisting of “Twilight of the Thunder God,” “The Pursuit of Vikings,” “As Loke Falls,” “First Kill,” “On a Sea of Blood,” “Runes to My Memory,” “Deceiver of the Gods,” “Raise Your Horns,” and “Guardian of Asgaard.”
The rest of Amon Amarth is Ted Lundstrom (bass), Johan Soderberg (guitar), Olavi Mikkonen (guitar), and Jocke Wallgren (drums).
Anticipation was starting to build as the crowd awaited Megadeth to take the stage. Many in the crowd were sporting their VIP passes from an earlier meet and greet with the band. One fan even had a custom Michigan license plate that read “MEGADTH.” And for a few lucky fans who bought a special VIP package, they were escorted onto the side of the main stage to watch the early part of the set from close proximity to their metal heroes.
Finally, the lights went down, and the band took the stage to the familiar sounds of a fan favorite, “Hangar 18,” from their metal masterpiece, Rust in Peace. The stage had a large video screen behind the drummer and was accompanied by several other lit up stage props that resembled a command center. They fit in well with the subject matter of the opening song. The video screen was used throughout the show, in some cases playing the original videos that went with the songs.
It was very obvious from the get-go that this was going to be a great show. Megadeth followed up next with “The Threat is Real” from their latest release Dystopia, and then “Tornado of Souls,” another classic ripper from Rust in Peace. All three of these songs had plenty of opportunities for newcomer Kiko Loureiro to show his chops as his fingers blazed up and down the fretboard. This guy is a phenom and compliments Dave Mustaine well trading leads on many occasions.
The crowd erupted when a giant-sized Vic Rattlehead made a visit to the stage during the instrumental song, “Conquer or Die!” from Dystopia. They went right into another great song from Dystopia, a shredder called “Lying in State.” This song has an incredible solo in the middle along with a dual guitar assault and pummeling drum beat throughout. It’s one of the best tracks from the new album and a powerful live song. Two more songs from Dystopia followed, “Poisonous Shadows” and “Fatal Illusion.”
“She-Wolf” from the 1997 album, Cryptic Writings, kept the pace rolling along at rapid fire. Finally, they slowed things down as bassist David Ellefson showed off his skills during “Dawn Patrol,” complete with a cool, close-up video perspective of his bass guitar. This transitioned into “Poison was the Cure,” also from Rust in Peace, and then right into another classic, “Sweating Bullets.”
After a slower pace with “A Tout Le Monde” and “Trust,” the band cranked the intensity back up with “Post American World” and “Dystopia,” before sending the crowd into a frenzy with their most popular song, “Symphony of Destruction.”
They closed with the sing-a-long anthem, “Peace Sells,” and then returned for an encore of the aggressive “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.” It was a killer performance by these metal masters who continue to put out great music after more than 30 years.
Dave Mustaine is never one to hold back on confronting any topic that is on his mind, especially politics. However, for tonight’s show, he kept the talk to a minimum. The one exception came early in the show when a fan kept yelling “Dave Mustaine for president.” Dave stood quietly for a bit with a puzzled stare before replying, “no thank you,” and something along the lines of he would do far worse things than the two running for president. The crowd laughed.
The full setlist for Megadeth was “Hangar 18,” “The Threat is Real,” “Tornado of Souls,” “Wake Up Dead,” “In My Darkest Hour,” “Conquer or Die!,” “Lying in State,” “Poisonous Shadows,” “Fatal Illusion,” “She-Wolf,” “Dawn Patrol,” “Poison was the Cure,” “Sweating Bullets,” “A Tout Le Monde,” “Trust,” “Post American World,” “Dystopia,” “Symphony of Destruction,” “Peace Sells,” and the encore, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.” For this reviewer, it was the longest and arguably the best setlist he can recall ever seeing Megadeth play.
The current Megadeth lineup is Dave Mustaine (lead vocals, guitar), David Ellefson (vocals, bass), Kiko Loureiro (guitar), and Dirk Verbeuren (drums).
Event Date: 09-Oct-2016