Megadeth at The Orbit Room, Grand Rapids

The Orbit Room, 14 November 2009

“SOLD OUT” is what the sign above the Orbit Room read. Not bad for the opening night of the Megadeth tour which is in support of their latest release, End Game. Standing in line all you could hear was talk about Megadeth and the band’s past glories. “Last time I saw Megadeth…” or “The first time I saw Megadeth….” or “‘Peace Sells’ is my favorite song….” and so on. If nothing else, it was clear that there was a ravenous following of metal heads and they were hungry: hungry for the ear splitting sonic blast that is Megadeth.

So here is where I should talk a little bit about the opening acts. Well, there were three. About half way through the first band (I think they were out of Colorado and they had amp issues) I was wishing I had been “fashionably” late. Although, I have to give them props for playing through the amp issues. Unfortunately I forget their name.

Suicide Silence was up next. Well, not sure what to say. They had a lot of energy but… let’s just say if I had been wishing to be fashionably late earlier in the evening I was wishing I had waited an extra hour before I had even left the house. I’m sorry, but, wow, what is up with the singer? Oh yeah, he can’t. Guess I just don’t understand screaming like some crazed third grade girl to the point of not being able to understand a single word. If you’re going to be the singer then for the love of all that is holy: sing.

By this point, I was just wishing Megadeth had done an entire night by themselves. At the very least I had heard of the next band, Machine Head; regardless, I was also expecting them to be just as bad as the other opening bands. I am proud to say I was wrong. Machine Head was the perfect match to Megadeth. They reminded me a little of Iron Maiden/Megadeth mixed together. Very much new school metal that sounded old. If they come to town again, I am there. Great band. The guy sitting next to me made the comment that it was nice to see that the heavy metal torch had been passed.

So I was actually starting to feel a bit better about the night. When Megadeth took the stage everyone stood as if they were pledging allegiance. I have seen Megadeth many times before, but there was something about this show that stood out: there was more energy on stage. At one point Dave came out and asked the crowd to say something for Megadeth Radio, to which the crowd responded in one voice with a scream. Perhaps not exactly what Dave had been looking for but it said volumes about this sold out crowd. They were here to rock, complete with devil horns in the air and fists pumping. This was the soul of heavy metal.

The set was populated by many classic tunes: ‘Wake up Dead’, ‘Devils Island’, ‘In My Darkest Hour’, ‘Holy Wars’, ‘Hanger 18’, and a ‘Tornado of Souls’. Of course ‘Symphony of Destruction’, ‘Sweating Bullets’, and ‘Skin O’ My Teeth’ were played as was the latest single ‘Head Crusher’. ‘Peace Sells’ was the final song of the set but what was interesting was what wasn’t played. ‘Trust’, ‘Almost Honest’ and ‘A Tout Le Monde’; three songs that have been in every set for years. Megadeth has a large catalog of music, which goes with my comment that I wish they would play a whole night by themselves. In the end I don’t think it mattered that nothing from Risk or The World Needs a Hero was played or that ‘Trust’ was missing from the set. I think everyone was just happy to get a good dose of metal.

Luckily I was able to forget, for the most part, the early bands after the performance of Machine Head and Megadeth. I left feeling, what everyone else was feeling, a sense of release, like all my troubles had been washed away with the purifying sound that is metal. It was a good feeling and in his day and age, people need to have this feeling. Of course, I wish I could still hear.

F.Y.I. New Megadeth tour dates have just been announced. Beginning in January, Megadeth is co-headlining with Slayer with Testament opening on a North American tour. Visit Megadeth.com for more information.