Gigantour 2012. Fillmore Auditorium. 02.28.12

Welcome to 3/4’s of the Gigantour‘  Megadeth were about halfway through their headlining set when Dave Mustaine addressed the elephant in the room, which was the fact that Lemmy was not.  ‘Thanks to all the Motörhead fans for sticking around‘  It was a small consolation to those of us who paid $60 for the chance to expose our bleeding ears to the supreme loudness of a Motörhead concert, but in a show of good faith the refund policy was put into effect.  As the masses were flooding into the Fillmore Auditorium, they were met by a woman informing everyone that Motörhead would not play and refunds were available at the box office.  I have to admit, I was (pleasantly) shocked by this news.  Ticketmaster, AEG, Mustaine — history has not associated any of these names with the words ‘fair’ or ‘reasonable’, but this time around they were willing to give the fans an out, and I have to commend that decision.  Although I would have never bought tickets to the show if I would have known I would not be seeing Motörhead, I wasn’t going to turn around and go home after having made the trip down to the Fillmore, especially with a strong beer buzz from Cheeky Monk.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Megadeth fan.  I have probably been one for longer than a lot of the attendees have been alive, but I have seen Dave and his rotating cast of characters countless times over the years.  The last time being as recent as 2010.  So I just wasn’t as excited as I would have been if it was my first time, like it would have been for Motörhead, but as the opening riff of “Trust” rang out, the curtain dropped and the swirling pit opened up in the crowd, all feelings of disappointment were knocked out of me as my beer was knocked out of my hand.  With experience going up against fearlessness, metalheads old and young met on a level playing field in the pit, while Mustaine took us through the 90’s with “Foreclosure of a Dream”, “Hanger 18”, the rarely played “Reckoning Day” and the schizophrenic “Sweating Bullets”.  Part of me wants to say it was pure chaos, but that would be a lie.  On the ground, it was more a form of controlled aggression, with a responsible crowd taking care of its own. I’ve heard many horror stories about karate chopping kids and inexperienced stage divers lately, so it was nice to see a crowd follow the (very few) unwritten rules of the metal show.  In fact, the only altercation I am aware of was between Mustaine and a bouncer, based on the bouncer getting violent with someone in the crowd.

Megadeth revolves around lead vocalist/guitarist, Dave Mustaine.  There have been over 20 other members since formation in 1983.  Like the members of Metallica, there are mixed opinions on Mustaine, but while Metallica are questioned because of the direction they have taken the band, most of the criticism around Mustaine has more to do with what he says outside of his music — with the fact that he has a big mouth and is notorious for using it to talk shit.  Most recently he has made headlines based on his support of the Republican party and comments on gay marriage.  For me, the key to being a Megadeth fan is to separate the man from the music, and Megadeth’s catalog really speaks for itself.  Unlike so many others (including Metallica), it’s hard to find a shitty album in the past 25 years.  That being said, when you are a band who has been around for a quarter century, it’s hard to sell the new material in a live setting, so I wasn’t surprised when some people booed the introduction of material from Thirteen.  Acting as almost an intermission, the trifecta of “Public Enemy No. 1”, “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” and “Guns, Drugs & Money” would be the sole representation from the latest album, leaving the rest of the night for what the crowd came for.

A cover of “No Class” was dedicated to Lemmy and led into more from the 90’s.  “A Tout Le Monde” might not be my favorite Megadeth song, but Cristina Scabbia’s voice made me sorry I missed her opening set with Lacuna Coil.  Her exit from the stage marked a ‘greatest hits’ run starting with “Symphony of Destruction”, followed by the only 80’s representation with “Peace Sells” and “Rattlehead”, before the encore of “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” was introduced with Mustaine saying something political, which I just blocked out.  It was only 10:30pm when those trademarked parting words closed the show with ‘you’ve been great, we’ve been Megadeth‘.

Looking at past setlists from this tour will reveal Megadeth did play more songs than usual, but I still feel they should have given us a lot more in Motörhead’s absence.  But overall, it was a great show.  The sound wasn’t always perfect, Fillmore is not my favorite venue, and one of the main bands I had come to see couldn’t make it, but Megadeth put on a good show and I have say the Danish hard rock(abilly) band Volbeat absolutely killed it.  How these guys are not huge is beyond me!  I can’t wait to catch a headlining set next time they come around — a set I won’t have to be in a venue by 7:00pm to catch!

Foreclosure of a Dream
Hangar 18
Reckoning Day
Sweating Bullets
Poison Was the Cure
Public Enemy No. 1
Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
Guns, Drugs & Money
No Class (Motörhead cover)
Ashes in Your Mouth
A Tout Le Monde (with Cristina Scabbia)
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Holy Wars… The Punishment Due

A Warrior’s Call
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
The Human Instrument
Ace of Spades (snippet of Motörhead cover)
Sad Man’s Tongue
Hallelujah Goat
Who They Are
The Mirror and the Ripper
I Only Want to Be with You (Dusty Springfield cover)
Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
Still Counting
Ace of Spades (snippet of Motörhead cover)
Raining Blood (snippet of Slayer cover)