Saturday, 21 November 2015

Megadeth Live at Wembley Arena

It was good to see a revitalised Megadeth again for God knows how many times now since I first saw them back in 95. Seeing My favourite band in live action is something I'll always cherish but I have a feeling this new incarnation of the band with two new members is a new dawn for the band and hopefully a couple of more albums will follow after Dystopia before Dave finally calls it quits.

I had a seat by the side of the stage so a pretty good view of both the crowd and the bands as I took my seat. Wembley Arena was perhaps a bit ambitious for a 4 band bill such as this but in the end the place was more than 3/4 at guess compared to the 12,000 capacity so pretty good.

First up were Reading's Sylosis. I've seen these guys live before in a smaller venue and they put on a solid display of melodic thrash with core vocals. In this bigger arena their sound tended to get wishy washy and the crystal clear crunch was missing. I'm not sure what songs they played but it all sounded very samey and bludgeoning. I guess the kids gathered at the front enjoyed it. The guitarist front man definitely has some wicked chops but when you're barking like a lunatic over the top of your cool music you're gonna lose a fan in me. Their record from this year is actually ok but live it all tends to blend into a mess and it's hard to distinguish between songs.

Next up were Children of Bodom who were allotted the same 30 minutes as Sylosis. Once again I'm not sure exactly what songs they played but at least they were a bit more melodic than Sylosis and got a decent response. Once again though I was just a bit underwhelmed with their set and got a sense of going through the motions from Alexi and the band. He still knows plenty of decent licks though and Bodom were merely ok on the night bit looked a bit disinterested to be honest.

As soon as the Bodom set ended and I mean as soon as it ended a huge chant of " Lamb of God!" went up from the audience down on the floor. I guess they are pretty huge here these days and a large portion of the crowd was mainly here for them rather than Megadeth. The chanting and general anticipation continued as the stage was readied for LoG guys and as the lights went down the kids down below were obviously getting super pumped for their heroes. Now there was a time during Ashes of the Wake when I was somewhat of a LoG fan but that's totally changed from being a mild fan to actually disliking the band's music quite intensely. They've just totally lost me with their boring riffs and Randy's terrible ranting vocals which I never liked in the first even when I was that mild fan. Anyway the kids down below weren't giving a flying fuck about my opinion. They were going totally ape shit to their heroes.

I must say though that the band sounded tight and the riffs were as cool as I remember on the earlier material. A monster circle pit erupted as Randy asked for one followed by a crushing wall of death. The band's sound was a little on the mushy side but at times it sounded pretty sharp. You can tell why the fans love LoG so much with Randy orchestrating the crowd as he runs from side to side. A poignant message from Randy about the massacre the night before in Paris as well which got a deserved huge cheer from all. Lamb of God left to endless cheers and claps like a headliner would and pleas for an encore but none followed. I may not like the band but damn their live show is totally insane to watch when you see the kids feed off the band and lose themselves totally.

Finally it was time for Dave and co to hit the stage after the roadies spent 20 minutes or so getting it ready. The Prince of Darkness intro plays and suddenly the guys burst on to the stage already playing the opening riffs the Hangar 18. The sound was actually quite good from my side of the stage and not too loud. Dave's vocals are usually totally buried live and I know there's a huge issue about downtuning due to him not being able to sing the high notes any more but I really didn't notice a great problem. The band sounds and looks meaner and more energised. Dave himself cuts quite a lean figure and it seems he got in a decent shape for the Dystopia world tour. It seems a bit odd to actually call it that when the album hasn't even been released yet and they only play one song from it. I guess there will be another proper tour for it next year or at least I hope so.

Special mention for Kiko. The guy fits Megadeth like a glove and plays the solos very well indeed. Adler on the drums is solid but I never really ever cared about drumming like some people do. I barely notice the drummer but I guess some people give great importance to how the drums are played but Adler was fine.

The band continued to play a regular Megadeth set list with all the hits that you would expect. Dave gave his usual in between song banter that he normally does and probably pissed a few people off as he normally does. The crowd was far more reserved for Megadeth of course than LoG with smaller pits breaking out here and there but nothing compared to Lamb.

Megadeth didn't play as long as I hoped for maybe around 70 minutes but LoG played quite long and what with a 4 band bill the time for the headliners was a bit shorter than a normal headline. Hence a 3 band bill would've been more suitable in my opinion. The set list was therefore a bit average to say the least with the same old songs being played. Songs that need to leave the set list are She Wolf, In My darkest Hour, Trust, Skin of My Teeth and Dawn Patrol.
Some classics have to stay though 'cause they're just awesome sounding live such as Hangar 18, Wake Up Dead, Tornado of Souls, Peace Sells, Symphony and Holy Wars. No Megadeth set is complete without them. Poison was the Cure sounded very cool as well being a ripping fast tune and played at mach speed by the band.

There was no true encore as the band never left the stage but the last song of the night was actually quite moving and mind blowing as the French national anthem segued into Holy Wars. Just before the start Dave snarls out the word "Freedom!!" before breaking into those famous opening riffs. He didn't say a lot else about the attacks the previous night but that one word just about summed it up as he sang the prophetic lyrics to that famous song and the crowd went apeshit one last time. As the song ended he did say something else about the atrocities in Paris the night before but I didn't quite catch it. As the band did it's familiar hands held high pose and thanked the crowd for coming one last time. One of the better recent Megadeth shows and much much better than the 2013 show in Brixton when the band seemed to be lacking in energy and camaraderie. Hopefully they'll be back for a longer show next time with more songs from Dystopia and less of the same old songs. For now the new incarnation of the band is very much to be reckoned with and hopefully the new album will energize them even more.

Prince of Darkness intro
Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
In My Darkest Hour
Sweating Bullets
Dawn Patrol
Posion Was The Cure
Tornado of Souls
Fatal Illusion
Skin o' My Teeth
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells
La Marseillaise
Holy Wars
Silent Scorn outro

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