Megadeth at Leader Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA – September 13, 2021
Originally scheduled for June 2020, then rescheduled to July 2021, then rescheduled again to September 2021, The Metal Tour of the Year finally arrived in Boston! Featuring Hatebreed, Trivium, Lamb of God and Megadeth, this is certainly the biggest heavy metal tour for fans to see since the pandemic began.
After great performances from the three other bands, the night ended with Megadeth. This was an extra special night for frontman Dave Mustaine, as it was his 60th birthday!
The band came roaring out to their 1990 classic, “Hangar 18.” This has probably been one of the first 3 songs every time I’ve seen the band, but hey if it works, don’t fix it. A long time crowd favorite, the audience was explosive with energy when the track started.
They followed up with a track off their most recent album, 2016’s Dystopia, playing “The Threat is Real.” After experimenting with their sound in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Megadeth has found a sound that works consistently for them, and their newer material fits right in with their classics. That said, they are aware people want to hear the classic songs, so they next kicked into “Sweating Bullets,” off of Countdown to Extinction.
They followed up with a double shot of songs from 1997’s Cryptic Writings, “She-Wolf,” and their highest charting single to date, “Trust.” There’s something about the energy that builds up in the intro to “Trust” that I have always enjoyed live.
After playing “Conquer or Die,” essentially an instrumental guitar solo for guitarist Kiko Loureiro to show off, they played the title track off of Dystopia. One of the best songs from the album, you can certainly hear the stylistic similarities to classics like “Hangar 18.”
All of a sudden, we were more than halfway through the set. As solid as the lineup for The Metal Tour of the Year was, my one disappointment is that the bands played fairly short sets. Megadeth and Lamb of God each only played for 65 minutes. A couple more songs to push us closer to 90 minutes would have been great. Of Megadeth’s 15 albums, only 5 were represented in the show… so many great songs that we didn’t get to hear!
An unexpected song that went over huge with the crowd was “The Conjouring,” off of Rust in Peace. They’ve played the song fewer than 30 times in the past 20 years, so it was definitely a treat for the hardcore Megadeth fans.
Dave’s voice was a little low in the mix, but otherwise the band sounded great tonight. They recently parted ways with original bass player David Ellefson, and holding down the low end on this tour is bass player James Lomenzo. Lomenzo previously was in the band from 2006 until their reunion with Ellefson in 2010, and played on the albums United Abominations and Endgame. Those were both great albums, and I saw many great shows in that era with him in the band, so as much as it’s a shame Ellefson isn’t in the band, J.Lo is certainly my top pick for who to fill the role. It would have been cool, with Lomenzo there, if they’d played some material from those two albums, like “Washington is Next,” on which he has a great bassline, but as I’ve already said, they only could fit so many songs into their set time. Lomenzo’s bass sounded great on the thundering intro for “Peace Sells,” which was the final song of the set before the encore.
As Dave came back out to start the encore, the crowd started singing “Happy Birthday” to him. He stood back, soaked it in, and then joked to the crowd, “You know my birthday was yesterday, right?” After that quick laugh, he introduced “Holy Wars… the Punishment Due,” to finish off the show.
The Threat Is Real
Conquer or Die!
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
After the song, the band tossed out guitar picks, and Dave came to make his signature farewell to the crowd. As he started addressing the crowd, the background music stopped, and a video started playing on the screen on stage. It was a prerecorded happy birthday message from John 5, Rob Zombie’s guitar player. He was standing on stage, and got his crowd to sing “Happy Birthday,” as he played it on guitar. This was followed up by happy birthday messages from other rockstars like Slash, Ozzy, Kerry King, King Diamond and Nikki Sixx. All said, the video was probably about five minutes long. Dave ended up sitting down on the stage to watch it. At the end, you could tell he was definitely moved by the messages, and thanked the crowd for being here for this special night. “You’ve been great, we’ve been Megadeth! Goodnight!”
Megadeth has been working in the studio on a new album, so hopefully soon we’ll see some new material, and they’ll be back to support that album. As always, a show not to be missed!