Forgive me if through this I compare it to the last time I saw Megadeth live in February 2005. It's the only thing I have to compare it to. =]
I almost completely forgot about this gig until I was reminded that I had one extra ticket, but no-one to go with. With seemingly everyone not coming due to exams and all this jazz, then the person who seemed like they were gonna join me telling me 24 hours before that they wouldn't make it because they were ill, I thought I was gonna be touting my ticket. So, I was glad to hear when Aaron said he would join me. God bless him.
This was my first visit to Bristol Academy, and my first visit to Bristol itself in many many years. Aaron and I arrived at about 6:30, but he got some food and then we joined the queue. It was a pretty fast moving queue, not one of these where it seems like you wait for ages and never get anywhere, and within next to no-time we were in.
My first disappointment was that the t-shirts were £22 (I only took £20) and didn't have any of the European Dates on them. Still, this meant I could buy a beer instead =] The Academy wasn't a particularly brilliant venue. It was too small for my liking. The stage was so small that the kick-ass United Abominations back drop that everywhere else had on the tour, we didn't get. The floor was already full by the time the first band played, so we headed up to the Balcony, which didn't have a great view, but it will do.
Priestess to their credit, were a great opening band. Having never heard of them and only knowing that they were from Montreal, they delivered a great performance. I later discovered one of their tracks was on an EA game, and it was pretty good. The drummer reminded me of Neil Peart (of Rush fame) with his extended drum piece that had a few jaws around me on the floor. I would be interested in seeing these guys again. They did a great job and seemed genuinely honoured to be on tour with a band like Megadeth.
After a really quick change over, Megadeth took the stage at about 9. The second the lights went down, we got ready to Thrash. What a set! Kicking it off with Sleepwalker, the guys launched into Take No Prisoners, which absolutely ripped. Great to hear the whole crowd singing along with it. There was no stopping as the band continued with Skin o' My Teeth, Wake Up Dead (completely forgot how epic that song was) and Set the World Afire. Dave got ready to speak, but simply said "Good evening. We have a new record out called United Abominations, and this next song is called Washington is Next...". One of my faves from the new album, I was slightly disappointed to see it so high up the set, but I prayed they would follow with Hangar 18. And they did. Those two songs back to back are magnificent. Crowd favourite In My Darkest Hour followed, then Kick the Chair was TSHF's sole song on the set. Devils Island was next, and Dave again didn't bother speaking as the crowd roared.
It was great to hear She-Wolf, which I didn't hear the last time, and when James LoMenzo (my new idol. He has the hair I want, and the bass I want, and he plays for my favourite band. Some guys have all the luck.) played the intro to Peace Sells, the place went NUTS, as you would expect.
I'm glad Dave has gone with Symphony of Destruction in the encore. I dislike one song encores big time. It just seems like if the crowd wants you, you should play two songs. Of course, Holy Wars closed the gig to a huge roar. Dave did his usual "You've been great, we've been Megadeth. Good nite" and that was that.
It was a great setlist, and looked like this:
Take No Prisoners
Skin O' My Teeth
Wake Up Dead
Set the World Afire
Washington is Next!
In My Darkest Hour
Kick the Chair
Gears of War
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
As you have probably noted from the set...no slow songs. It was just thrash from start to finish. Speed metal it's finest. Glen Drover absolutely ripped once more. He seems to pull off the solos of Marty, Chris et. al with ease and make them sound even more glorious. Shawn Drover is a more than capable drummer and as usual delivered some brilliant performances. Dave was back to having his snarl and overall this performance was delivered with higher intensity than when I saw them previously.
My only other real complaint is that the lack of UA material in the set. Playing the old stuff keeps everybody happy, I have no problems with that, but sticking another song from UA in would have been great. I understand this is to do with the lack of rehearsal time the band have had doing the new stuff, so I just hope in the future songs such as Never Walk Alone, You're Dead or more importantly for me, Burnt Ice.
Although to be honest, these are fairly minor complaints. It was an excellent show last night and further proved to me that Megadeth, right now, are on top of their game and one of the best bands around.