By the time Megadeth got to the end of a super-tight and extremely well-received set, the band took a bow to the sound of Sid Vicious’ cover of Sinatra’s “My Way.” Hearing snotty Sid wail, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention” seemed on-the-nose appropriate. This is, after all, the band led by Dave Mustaine, the man that we felt compelled to defend in our recent “Dave Mustaine Isn’t a Dick” feature due to the fact that he is roundly despised for his opinions (even though we rarely agree with what he has to say). Like Sid and Sinatra before him, Mustaine will not back down, even if he pisses people off along the way.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Thanks to the fact that it’s harder to get a parking space around the Fillmore than it is to find a bag of chips during Super Bowl half-time that isn’t fucking Fritos, we missed local opener Havok, and this pissed us off. Thankfully, Finnish band Children of Bodom were great. These guys play heavy-as-Christ thrash metal, but the inclusion of some operatic keys lends a power-metal vibe in the realm of Helloween and Iced Earth. The real downer tonight was that hardcore crossover veterans Suicidal Tendencies weren’t on the bill – they’re playing most of Megadeth’s dates but can’t join until Vegas in a couple of days. As a result, Bodom got to play a lengthy set, which thankfully never veered into tedious territory becoming Children of Boredom.
So the show was shaping up to be a hard-rock rollercoaster of disappointment and solace, but what of the main attraction? Mustaine and his boys came bouncing on stage and piled into “Hangar 18” from the truly classic Rust in Piece album with more energy than this writer has seen the band display since the early 1990s, and it never let up. Megadeth seems like a band reinvigorated, maybe thanks to the excellent new Dystopia album. Original bass player Dave Ellefson has been back in the band for over five years now, so perhaps new guys Kiko Loureiro (guitar) and Chris Adler (drums) provided the shot in the arm that the band needed. Mustaine did say to us, in fact, that the new guys have been a breath of fresh air, and that certainly seemed to be the case at the show.
Songs from the new album, such as “The Threat is Real,” sounded totally at home alongside crowd pleasers like “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying,” “Sweating Bullets,” “In My Darkest Hour,” “A Tout Le Monde,” and “Symphony of Destruction,” and a heaving Fillmore lapped up every last power chord and widdly bit of fret work.
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For the majority of the show, Mustaine was a joy to listen to — even between songs, referring to his fans as “the salt of the earth – you keep the world turning,” and thanking them at every opportunity, and professing his love for Denver. Quite the witty host, he regaled us with anecdotes about how songs came to be written; he shared about “Skin of My Teeth” that “I wrote this while high on nitrous." These are his people, and he's comfortable in their company. He held forth like a skilled master of ceremonies, welcoming to all, offensive to none.
But then. Just before closing tune “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due,” Mustaine said, “Answer me this, isn’t ‘Holy Wars’ as appropriate now as it was back then?”
Oh, David. You were so close.