Monday, April 05, 2010

Megadeth at the Hollywood Palladium


A massively packed and sold out Hollywood Palladium set the stage for a grand celebration of the 20th anniversary of Megadeth's seminal album Rust in Peace. In case you missed it, the video cameras were rolling to capture the chaos on and off the stage.


San Francisco thrash titans Exodus inflicted punishment often and early. Megadeth fans are known to be extremely fervent but Exodus satiated their blood thirst with lightening fast guitars and a pounding bass drum assault. The underlying theme of the evening was important albums in their respective catalogs.

Exodus naturally tackled their 1984 classic debut album Bonded in Blood. It was impressive to see the number of crowd surfers and moshing during an opening band's set. Rob Dukes (vocals) even managed to coordinate a "wall of death" by dividing the crowd in half and had them charge into each other at his cue. Definitely one of the more impressive sets for an opening band this year.


Continuing the biblical band name theme, Testament easily picked up where Exodus left off. Chuck Billy is literally and figuratively a beast on vocals with his towering presence and furious air guitar riffs on his microphone stand. I was slightly disappointed that original shredding guitarist Alex Skolnick was unavailable to tour with the band, but Glen Drover suitably filled in on guitars.

Testament was rifling through their classic debut album The Legacy. One of the highlights of their set was watching former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph bash on his double bass drum kit. Eric Peterson was throwing up the devil horns when he wasn't throwing down some sick lead guitars on his signature custom Dean Old Skull V that sounded as demonic as it looked. The crowd devoured their set and still was hungry for more.


Before the days of listening to bands on Myspace or on the radio, my brother and I used to purchase albums on the basis of album covers. If it looked cool and evil, it met the requirements and was purchased. Killing Is My Business...and Business is Good! met the above requirements and found its way into our cassette decks for many months.

We followed Megadeth for a number of years purchasing both Peace Sells..But Who's Buying? and So Far,So Good...So What! on vinyl. The watershed moment in Megadeth's career was the release of Rust in Peace. When I caught Megadeth at the Long Beach arena during Gigantour in 2008, I stated that Holy Wars..The Punishment Due was one of the top five metal riffs ever.

Even more enticing than the prospect of Megadeth playing the entire Rust in Peace album was that original bassist Dave Ellefson had ended his bitter feud with lead guitarist and vocalist Dave Mustaine and returned to the lineup. "Skin O' My Teeth" immediately reignited the circle pits as Megadeth set the place on fire.

Since the performance was being the filmed, the stage lighting was magnificent and would frequently change colors while being synchronized with the driving beats. The only downside was that the thirty other photographers in pit would probably agree the high quality of light. The stop and start riffing of "In My Darkest Hour" was circa 1988 and seeing both Mustaine and Ellefson on stage rocking out together like the old days brought forth a wave of nostalgia.

The veritable highlight of the set was the back to back beatdown of "Holy Wars..The Punishment Due" and "Hangar 18" as the band dived head first into Rust In Peace. It seemed like only seconds had passed when they finished up the closing track "Rust In Peace...Polaris". Megadeth revisited their latest album, Endgame by working through "The Right To Go Insane", and "Headcrusher".

While I was holding out that they would play "Wake Up Dead", "Symphony of Destruction", "Peace Sells" and a reprise of "Holy Wars" closed out their main set. I would have probably picked up this DVD if I didn't photograph and attend the show, but I anxiously await its release date and will let you know when it hits the streets.

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