Friday, August 27, 2010

Megadeth, Slayer, And Testament Concert Review

Slayer, Megadeth, Testament
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN

I noted my initial reaction to the much-hyped Slayer/Megadeth pairing earlier, and I’ll expand up those thoughts here. This show was originally scheduled for February but was postponed due to Slayer frontman Tom Araya having to undergo back surgery. It wouldn’t have surprised me if this tour was scrapped altogether, but thankfully everything went on as planned. Testament took the stage a few minutes early to the sold-out house (nearly 5,000 strong) that greeted them with huge applause as they launched into “More Than Meets The Eye”. Drummer Paul Bostaph was phenomenal behind the kit, and the entire band seemed to be having fun. “Dog-Faced Gods” from Low was the biggest surprise, along with the fact that “Trial By Fire” and “The New Order” were the only early songs played. Their eight-song set also included “The Persecuted Won’t Forget” and “The Formation Of Damnation” from the incredible The Formation Of Damnation album. At just over 40 minutes, this show wasn’t much shorter than Testament’s disappointing headline set at Epic a couple years ago. This was an impressive night for Testament and hopefully it opened the eyes of the younger fans.

*A note about the videos below: Yes, the video quality is worthless since I was perched in the upper reaches of the auditorium. The sound quality of the recording is decent, and these are intended to give you an idea of how each of the bands sounded this night.
Click to hear Testament play “The New Order”.
Click to hear Testament play “Trial By Fire”.

As Megadeth immediately tore into the entire Rust In Peace album from the start, it was immediately apparent that Testament’s poor sound wasn’t a case of the opening act getting shafted. This was the worst sound quality I’ve ever heard at Roy Wilkins, and it was inexcusable that Dave Mustaine’s microphone seemed to not be on as he started to sing “Holy Wars”. Listen to “Holy Wars” below to hear for yourself how Megadeth’s riffs were lost in the muddy sound. The intricacy of Megadeth’s songs unfortunately made their set the worst-sounding of the three bands, which was disappointing and unfortunate since this is the best lineup since Marty Friedman left and the band was obviously playing their hearts out. “Polaris” was the biggest high point of Rust In Peace, and it closed that part of the set in convincing fashion. The rest of the 70 minute set was rounded out with some of the band’s biggest hits including “Trust”, “A Tout Le Monde”, “Symphony Of Destruction”, and “Headcrusher” from 2009’s Endgame. As “Peace Sells” ended the set, Mustaine launched the band into a reprise of “Holy Wars” that brought the house down. It’s sad to say, though, that the horrible sound turned this into the least enjoyable Megadeth show I’ve seen.
Click to hear Megadeth play “Holy Wars”.
Click to hear Megadeth play “Trust”.
Click to hear Megadeth play “Peace Sells/Holy Wars (Reprise).

If Megadeth was greeted as conquering heroes, then Slayer was lauded like gods as they began their show with two songs from World Painted Blood, “World Painted Blood” and “Hate Worldwide”. The ground-breaking Seasons In The Abyss album was then offered up in its entirety with little break between the songs. It wasn’t a surprise, then, that the remaining time in the set was filled with “South Of Heaven”, “Raining Blood”, and “Angel Of Death”. I hadn’t seen Dave Lombardo play with Slayer since 1991, and I was pleasantly struck by his almost relaxed yet intense jazz-style approach to his drumming. Slayer benefited from their songs not collapsing under the bad sound like Megadeth’s did, so this alone made Slayer’s show the best of the night.

Click to hear Slayer play “World Painted Blood”.
Click to hear Slayer play “Hate Worldwide”.
Click to hear Slayer play “South Of Heaven”.

The show that should have been any metal’s fan highlight of the summer was unfortunately reduced to mild enjoyment due to the bad sound. Maybe there was a sweet spot in the center of the floor, but let’s face it – you can’t listen and absorb the nuances of a live performance in the middle of a mosh pit. Megadeth sounded phenomenal at the now-closed Myth a couple years back, and this show has me longing once again for that venue’s professional-quality acoustics.

1 comment:

  1. totally agree. I thought Testament really brought the fire, and I was really impressed with their intensity.

    The Megadeth set was awful. I couldn't believe how bad the sound was. At one point I thought I heard the bass tone actually being adjusted mid-song.

    And Slayer ruled hard, and it's good to hear some deep cuts on Seasons, like Expendable Youth.