Blood, Sweat & Megadeth

By on December 17, 2013

The Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

December 8th will live in infamy if you are a music fan. This is the day when both John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell Abbot were murdered in cold blood by their “fans.”  Lennon was shot by a man after earlier in the day providing him with an autograph, and Dimebag was shot in cold blood on stage during a performance in Columbus, Ohio.  While music fans will always mourn both of their deaths, on this date, the metal community celebrates the life and legacy of Dimebag. The “family” was out in full force on Sunday night at St. Pete’s Jannus Live to witness an outdoor performance by Non-Point, Fear Factory and metal legends, Megadeth.

Immediately after walking in to Jannus Live during Non-Point’s set, I could tell that it was going to be a great show. The place was absolutely packed. Wall to wall, elbow to elbow, and if you haven’t been to Jannus Live, this is a pretty big multi-level outdoor venue, with a 2,000 plus person capacity.  I’ve been to numerous shows at this venue throughout the years, more times as a fan than as a member of the media, and I can’t remember this place ever being this crowded.

Non-Point opened the show. Nonpoint is a fantastic high-energy band based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.    Unfortunately for me, I only caught Nonpoint’s biggest hit of their career, “Bullet With a Name,” which peaked at No. 22 on the Mainstream Rock charts in 2006. It has taken Nonpoint a few years to get back into the mainstream rock playlist, but with the help of Sirius/XM’s Octane, their last two singles have provided them with the boost that their career needed. Nonpoint’s first single off their 2012 self-titled release, “Left for You,” was a huge hit that topped out at No. 16 on the U.S. Active Rock Charts and Mainstream Rock Charts. This single helped bring big crowds to their performances at festivals that Nonpoint played at this summer.  Their second release, “That Day,” has been climbing the charts and is only going to increase Nonpoint’s popularity.

On the vocals for Nonpoint Elias Soriano (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Nonpoint’s vocalist, Elias Soriano, commanded the crowd with his bigger-than-life stage presence, and the rest of the band, which consists of guitarists Dave Lizzio and Rasheed Thomas, bassist Adam Woloszyn, and drummer Robb Rivera, kept everyone engaged with their own brand of stage antics. These guys are high flyers and head bangers on stage, which true fans of metal will always appreciate.

The next band to hit the Jannus Live stage was Fear Factory. Established in 1989 in Los Angeles, Fear Factory brought in a big following tonight. I was surprised at how many people were singing with vocalist Burton C. Bell. I’ve seen this band before but it was many years ago. Bell mixes clean vocals with death metal type growls, etc and has been an influence on today’s metal bands like Machine Head, Strapping Young Lad and Chimaira Guitarist Dino Cazares has also been a huge influence on many players with his machine gun style that has made him the focus of many of the top guitar player magazine articles.

Burton C. Bell Fear Factory (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Bell and Fear Factory brought their “A” game for their fans tonight and whipped them into a frenzy throughout their set.  Fear Factory’s set included songs from their whole catalogue of releases, including “The Industrialist,” “Shock,” “Edgecrusher,” “Damaged,” “Self Bias Resistor,” and “Replica.”

Throughout their show, security had their hands full with small but frequent mosh-pits and crowd surfing.  Janus Live’s security also had to deal with some fans who couldn’t handle the moment due to extreme levels of whatever substances they were consuming. It always amazes me when I attend shows and I see that for some fans, partying takes precedent over the performance of the artist they came to see.

In the end, Fear Factory provided their fans everything they wanted with their performance: speed, energy, and of course, the quality musicianship that you would expect from a band with their resume.

Dino Cazares, Fear Factory (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Dave Mustaine and the men of Megadeth exploded onto the stage with a raging start to their set with the classic track from Rust In Peace, “Hanger 18.”  Using this song to start off their night, I had a feeling that Megadeth’s set would be laden with hits from their extensive catalogue. They did not disappoint or prove me wrong, continuing with “Wake up Dead,” and the classic track off So Far, So Good, So What, “In My Darkest Hour.”  To say that this song is a fan favorite would be an understatement.

Using dynamic background visuals and movie clips referencing the band on three digital screens that were synched perfectly with the music, Megadeth was providing to their fans a perfect sight and sound combination to attack their fans’ senses. Continuing with “Tornado of Souls” and then the song that inspired the ground breaking music video in “Sweating Bullets,” Megadeth could of walked off the stage and concluded the show right there and the crowd would have been content. “Set the World on Fire” from the So Far, So Good, So What release was next and then the anthem in “A Tout Le Monde” had the crowd singing bilingually as the chorus of this track is in French. Not to say everyone in the crowd speaks fluent French, but those who know Megadeth, knows a little to get by during this song. It is a beautiful song that speaks of a person passing. The chorus is:

A tout le monde (To everybody)
A tout mes amis (To all my friends)
Je vous aime (I love you)
Je dois partir (I must leave)
These are the last words
I’ll ever speak
And they’ll set me free

 

Dave Mustaine (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Next up was “Kingmaker” which is a new track of their most recent release “Super Collider” “Kingmaker” is another politically charged song that Megadeth is know for.

With Super Collider, Megadeth have been continuously touring since 2004 after Dave recovered from his radial neuropathy injury and was unable to play guitar and had to retrain his left hand. With bassist David Ellefson back in the band for the past few years and stabilizing the lineup with Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover, they are once again a force in Heavy Metal.  Megadeth continues to gain new fans as well as keep the ones that have been with them since the beginning with their first release, Killing Is My Business & Business is Good.

Two of my top five Megadeth songs were next with “Trust” and “She-Wolf” of their 7th release, Cryptic Writings. “Trust” is another crowd favorite and hit # 5 on the BillBoard Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1997 and was nominated for a Grammy.

Chris Broderick, Megadeth (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

A surprise of the night was Megadeth’s Thin Lizzy cover, “Cold Sweat,” which I hadn’t heard before and the band kept the fans engaged throughout the song with amazing visuals of lightning strikes on the three video screens.

Megadeth closed out the set with “Symphony of Destruction” and of course, “Peace Sells But Who’s Buying.”  “Peace Sells” will always be known as one of the greatest and most recognizable heavy metal songs of all time, not because it was named by VH1 as the 11th greatest metal song, but because the lyrics and the bass line by David Ellefson. Ellefson’s bass line is one of the most recognized in music. Not just in hard rock or in metal but in all genres of music.

Dave Ellefson, Meagdeth (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

With only a minute or two break, Megadeth performed their encore with arguably their number one song, “Holy Wars…the Punishment Due.”  “Holy Wars” is the quintessential track from Rust in Peace and the song that they have ended their performances for years.

After the completion of their set, it felt to me and other fans that it was a short set but in actuality it wasn’t. It was that we just wanted more Megadeth. From the band members on the stage to the fans drenched from singing and moshing, all parties left nothing at Jannus Live on December 8th and our lost heroes would have been proud.

Megadeth has stood the test of time through injuries and lineup changes and the shift in music from rock to grunge and back to rock that occurred through the late nineties to present day. Dave Mustaine has shown through perseverance, timeless lyrics and the love of the music he provides to the fans, that Megadeth will remain an unforgettable entity. Blood, Sweat & Megadeth… Always.

Dave Mustaine (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Dave Ellefson (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Shawn Drover on the drums, Megadeath (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Rasheed Thomas, Nonpoint (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Mike Heller on the drums for Fear Factory (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Chris Broderick (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Dave Mustaine (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

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