Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax Play Jägermeister Music Tour


The Jägermeister Music Tour brought metal legends Megadeth and Slayer along with special guests Anthrax to the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on September 30th, 2010. Metal bands don't normally come to Knoxville in this capacity or to a venue that's much larger than a night club, so this was a particularly exciting event for my friends and me.

Special guests Anthrax opened the show and kicked off their brief 7-song set with "Caught in a Mosh" from 1987's Among the Living. They followed it with "Madhouse" and "Antisocial," which got a huge crowd response during the choruses. Another major highlight from their set was the performance "Indians," during which vocalist Joey Belladonna theatrically ran around the stage wearing colorful Native American Indian headdress.

Anthrax also played two tracks--including the John Bush-era "Only"--that were not from the first Belladonna tenure. However, the newly reunited singer pulled them off fantastically and gracefully. Judging by the audience's reaction of cheers and screams, they were excited and surprised to hear the ultra classic "Metal Thrashing Mad" from the bands 1984 album Fistful of Metal as the encore.

The tour's co-headliner Megadeth took the stage next, opening their set with their legendary album Rust in Peace in honor of its 20th anniversary. Rust in Peace's first track "Holy Wars" is always great to hear live, it really set the tone for all of the metal that was to come when the entire album was played "cover to cover." I also enjoyed hearing "Hangar 18" and the album's title and closing track "Rust in Peace."

After the band played the full album, they wrapped up their set with an assortment of hits. "Trust" is one of my favorite songs of theirs, so that was a major highlight for me. The biggest highlight of Megadeth's set was their final encore of "Peace Sells." The last time I saw Megadeth, Dave Ellefson was not yet reunited with the band, so it felt like such an honor to hear him play the classic bass line of this song live. It was so much fun singing the chorus of "When there's a new way/I'll be the first in line" spot on with the band and the crowd.

Although Slayer were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their album Seasons in the Abyss, they took a different approach and began their set with two newer tracks--"World Painted Blood" and the Grammy-nominated "Hate Worldwide." Slayer fans have compared the band's 2009 album World Painted Blood to Seasons, and I think the new songs fit well with being played right before the renowned 1990 classic.

As someone who has only recently "gotten into" Slayer, the song from Seasons in the Abyss that stuck out to me the most was "Expendable Youth." The intro and heavy riffs are incredible, and the story of blood and gang violence told by the lyrics is hard to forget.

Slayer ended their set with 4 of their most well-known songs--including "South of Heaven" (or as my friend simply calls it "Hell")--which has one of the most memorable and haunting opening riffs of all time. It's even eerier when played live! The crowd certainly went crazy with some kind of heavy metal orgasm when the band played their legendary song "Raining Blood." They followed it with "Aggressive Perfector" and then played the never boring (but always controversial) "Angel of Death" as their encore.

I feel very fortunate (and even like a part of history) to see three of the "Big Four" thrash bands together, especially after seeing the Sonisphere Festival that was broadcast from Sofia, Bulgaria. It was great to see Joey Belladonna singing for Anthrax again, as he is a dynamic performer who really moves around the stage unlike a lot of other trash frontmen. Scott Ian, the band's guitarist and de facto leader due to his tenure, also addressed the crowd and pumped them up as much as the lead singer did. Anthrax's bassist Frank Bello was even more of a pleasure to watch onstage, and I actually spent most of the set with my eyes on him. This band has such an enthusiasm for its audience, so you couldn't have asked for a better supporting act.

Megadeth and Slayer were definitely on top of their game as well. I was in awe just watching Dave Mustaine--Megadeth's fearless leader--and his bandmate Chris Broderick play their guitars with such intensity. Having never seen Slayer before, I certainly had high expectations for the ferocity of their live performance. They definitely lived up to that, especially with the help of their powerful and talented drummer, Dave Lombardo. Not to mention, it was cool to finally see the infamous and unique Kerry King in person!

Going into this show, I was concerned about the idea of both Megadeth and Slayer playing full albums. I thought the show would become boring, but it was quite the opposite. It was exciting to get the opportunity to hear two of such classic albums performed live in their entirety. My only complaint, is that playing full albums leaves less room in the bands' sets for more hits, deep cuts from other albums, or material from new releases. In the case of Megadeth, I would have loved for them to play "Right to Go Insane" from Endgame--which has actually had more airplay and publicity than the one song they played from it called Head Crusher.

This year's Jägermeister Music Tour was one of the better shows (and tours) I've attended in quite some time. The line-up was any metal fan's dream come true, each band sounded and appeared equally fantastic, and I would recommend any and all hard rockers to see these three bands--together or separate--live in concert.