Gigantour: Megadeth, Motorhead, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil

The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York NY

by Noel Edge (January 28, 2012)

In 5 Words or Less One word, three syllables..."MEG-A-DETH"!!!
Affiliation with KNEW GEN None
Genre Metal
Performance & Production

Check out the photo gallery here.

This was my first visit to The Theater at Madison Square Garden.  What a great place to see a show.  Good sound from the various different corners in this amphitheater-like venue.  With a sold out crowd of about 6,000 people, the place was rockin.

A word to the wise, when Gigantour tickets state that the event starts at 6:30 PM, that's when the first band hits the stage.  Unfortunately I showed up at 7:15 PM so I missed Lacuna Coil's entire set (I really wanted to see those guys).  I walked in just after Volbeat began playing.  I'd never heard of this Danish quartet before.  Their set was a mixture of hard rock, metal, rockabilly and punk (they reminded me of Social Distortion at times).  They obviously have a great fan base as a good portion of the crowd was singin along to their tunes.  Michael Poulsen, the front man/guitarist, did a great job of interacting with the crowd and energizing them for the Motorhead and Megadeth assaults that were to follow.  Overall, a very solid set.

Next up...Motorhead!  This is a band that I've wanted to see since I was a teen, but for one reason or another it has never worked out.  Well I wasn't missing legendary Lemmy and his crew this time around (too bad it wasn't the original lineup).  They opened with "Bomber" and never let up through "Ace of Spades" and the rest of the set.  Lemmy sounded like...well...Lemmy, a guy who's been gargling glass for the last 30+ years.  They were heavy and loud (as expected).  Did I mention loud?  They kept asking the crowd if they should crank it up and of course the crowd encouraged them.  Which band holds the title belt for the "loudest band in the World" is disputable, but Motorhead has always been a contender.  Tonight, they came to claim it.  Unfortunately, the absurd decibel level totally muddied their and made their tunes almost incomprehensible.  I have never worn earplugs in my life and I've exposed myself to years of eardrum-torture from playing in and attending live shows.  I've also never walked off stage or out of a gig and said "that was too loud".  Well, there's always a first time; Motorhead sacrificed their sound quality for volume.  Sometimes, less is more.

With the constant chants of MEG-A-DETH, after Motorhead left the stage, the crowd was ready to explode.  And they did just that when Megadeth opened with "Trust".  I have to admit that the sound level differential between Motorhead and Megadeth made it seem like I put in earplugs during the break, but that phenomenon soon disappeared.  Megadeth ripped through every song with symphony-like skill and tightness.  It doesn't get any better than watching Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson and Chris Broderick display their respective talents.  At times, Mustaine and Broderick made it look so easy that I swore their fret boards were made of glass - mesmerizing!  Except for the handful of times when Mustaine's vocals were virtually inaudible (the sound guy should be sent back to the minors for that), the sound was well mixed and the guitars were mean and crunchy.  The fans sang relentlessly throughout the set list, including during greats like "Wake Up Dead", "Symphony Of Destruction", "Sweating Bullets", "Public Enemy No. 1" and "Peace Sells".  Mustaine's daughter graced the stage for a brief metal-inspired version of "Happy Birthday" (it was her 14th) during "Peace Sells".  And Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) joined the band for a great rendition of "A Tout La Monde".  Between each song the lights went out and the band disappeared offstage.  It made you feel like each tune could have been their last, which was kind of a weird approach, but it kept the crowd howling throughout the breaks.  Genius!  Megadeth eventually packed it in for the night, but not until after "Holy Wars...Punishment Due" (their one and only encore tune).  With that, the crowd was exhausted.  Megadeth's show was a true display of metal excellence!

The stage production was pure grass-roots metal: backdrops, a solid lightshow, fog and a visit from Vic Rattlehead (during Megadeth's set of course).  Simple and effective...let the music speak for itself!

What Else You Should Know

Admittedly, the last time I saw Megadeth was over a decade ago.  I wasn't impressed with Dave Mustaine's stage presence and his seemingly self absorbed "Go f*ck yourself! You should feel blessed seeing my band live!" type of attitude (though it's possible I misinterpreted his demeanor).  I'm relieved that times have changed.  There were numerous times throughout the show when Dave put his hands together and bowed showing his appreciation for the fans who spent their hard-earned money to pack the house.