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Friday, May 9, 2008

Concert Review: Megadeth

Columbus, OH, Nationwide Arena, September 23, 2006

Pyros, concussive devices and over 20 years of experience couldn’t save Megadeth from the one thing they can’t control; their age. Headlining a tour with young and hungry groups like Arch Enemy and Lamb of God, Megadeth looked like the cool uncle that’s nice to visit every now and then, but hang out with him enough and you realize he’s kind of creepy.

It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re pushing 50, you shouldn’t wear leather pants and silk shirts; especially an American band known for its aggression and tough-guy personas. European metal bands don’t even do that anymore. And explosives on stage just signify a band with no confidence in their own performance (see: KISS). It’s simply overcompensating for a lack of showmanship on the musician’s part.

Dave Mustaine can still pull off his growling singing style, and can still (even after nerve damage in his left hand) play a guitar like no one else, but watching Megadeth perform after Opeth and Lamb of God; you can’t help but think that the only reason these guys aren’t playing the State Fair with Styx and REO Speedwagon is because they’re lucky that metal music is once again gaining popularity, keeping Megadeth relevant for another year.

Megadeth played most of their hits, including; Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, and Hanger 18 (with back-up vocals from Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, and Randy Blythe of Lamb of God, among others). Fortunately for everyone in attendance, they avoided anything off of their 1999 album, Risk.

The songs were all technically proficient and the band seemed to be having a lot of fun playing, but there was just something missing. The songs just lacked their edge and their meaning in such a large arena. A more intimate venue would have been much better, such as Promowest Pavilion or dare I say it, the Newport, where the sound would be superior and less open space would make it seemed more crowded and frantic.

The sound quality inside of Nationwide Arena is absolutely atrocious. The best place to sit is directly across from the stage, unfortunately only a few people were lucky enough to be able to sit there. Standing on the floor in front of the stage is a good spot too and gives the best view of the stage, plus the opportunity to mosh. If your ticket puts you on the side, you’re screwed. I recommend sneaking to the far end of the arena, across from the stage.

For fans of the band, the show did not disappoint. It was a competent, if uninspired, showing for the band. For those who’ve never seen Megadeth before; well, you might not have stayed for the whole set.

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