Saturday, November 10, 2012

Megadeth @ Lupo's, Jere's Awesome Fun-Time Review

Wow, it's 2012, and I'd never seen Megadeth until tonight. Kim and I had great seats, second row center in the balcony at Lupo's here in Providence for the first night of the Countdown to Extinction 20th Anniversary Tour.

I liked Megadeth back in the Rust in Peace era, circa '90, right before "grunge" "broke," when I was 14 and wished my hair looked as cool as Justin Kopaz's, who was in my Latin class even though I was a freshman and he was a senior. I basically wanted to be a stoner without getting stoned. I was developing a mullet, but we didn't call them mullets then, we just called it BEING COOL.

So I'd watch the videos for Hangar 18 and Holy Wars on Headbanger's Ball during the commercials of SNL which it was my duty to tape (VHS, not Beta) for the rest of the family to watch the next day. Sometimes Bruce Dickinson would "pre-empt" Dana Carvey for a few seconds, to mom and dad's dismay.

I even almost got this Megadeth straw-type hat from Spencer Gifts at the mall. Never did pull the trigger, though--Nirvana would end up being my first "rock clothing" the following year when I got the Sliver tee.

When Countdown to Extinction was about to come out in '92, I "warned" my new pal Trevor to prepare for a whole new world. Meaning other people in our high school besides the stoners will have heard of them. After Metallica had gone full mainstream the year before, I knew Megadeth was about to follow suit. It was a pretty good album--and here was Dave Mustaine, the singer, wearing flannel. Funny, I wanted to have some kind of heavy metal identity, but couldn't pull it off, only to become roped into "grunge" later, while the same metal guys who I originally wanted to be like were forced to cull a grungier look or fall off the face of the earth. Anyway, the album was clearly made for a wider audience, but it had a few solid tracks. And I still laugh my head off every time I hear Sweating Bullets, though I'm not sure I'm supposed to.

So tonight, Dave, Dave, and two newer dudes came out and played the whole album, as is the tradition in live concerts these days. (I'm not a fan in general--a live show is supposed to be different from the album.) But first, to my delight, they played a few of the classic songs from the "straw hat days," as I'll go ahead and call them. Hangar 18 is my all-time favorite, and I've now crossed it off my Megadeth fuck-it list.

Then they kind of crawled through the Countdown album, stopping after several songs to regroup backstage. At one point Dave was just staring at someone in the crowd and wouldn't play. We in the balcony couldn't tell what was going on down there. But between that and the rest stops between songs, there was a lot of inaction. Dave said something about how he just came from backstage where he was checking off all the things that could possibly go wrong. They must have been having technical issues but we couldn't tell the difference. Megadeth, as far as I know, pretty much lets the music do the talking, with not much "hello Cleveland!" or laser light bullshit. They played well when they were playing, and we got to hear the songs we wanted, so everybody was happy. They did have video screens, and there was a brief appearance from their "mascot," Vic, too. He took a stroll around the stage doing the "cut the scene short" motion at the crowd. The malaise in Vic's gait screamed "can you believe these songs are 20 years old?" (Trevor called my cat Truffles "Vic" back in '92, as he had some operation where he ended up with tubes sticking out of his head and looked like some sort of robotic cat-borg.)

After the album was through, they added a couple more classic tracks, Holy Wars and Peace Sells, better known as the three-second bassline between "MTV News, You Hear It..." and "...First." Dave gave a heartfelt thanks and they even did the arm-in-arm Broadway bow, and that was it. The other Dave, aka Junior, seemed to have an embarrassed look, as if to say, "I was against the bowing idea," but then I figured the guy's got leather pants on, how embarrassed could he be? I will say that Junior seemed to care about us in the balcony more than any other band member. And you gotta hand it to Mustaine for coming back from major health issues again and again (at one point he didn't have the use of his left hand) to play these speedy songs.

The crowd: Kim and I were the same age as everyone else. I guess today's metal kids--and they seem to have made a comeback in society--don't give a crap about their founding fathers. This crowd was the people who bought the album as teenagers in '92, and nobody else.

And one bonus thing I learned: In two songs, Hangar 18 and Symphony of Destruction, there's a triple-beat type thing. In other words, the "ba ba ba/oh oh oh" part of Sweet Caroline. And as with that song, fans of the band have injected their own part into the tune, chanting, "Me-ga-deth" over the three beats.

So that's the story of Megadeth and Trevor and Truffles and Justin Kopaz, and an album that I can't believe turned 20.

Picture courtesy of Kim and her iPhone.

PS: I left out the mandatory "Dave Mustaine's political/religious views" stuff. That's a whole other post. But I know allll about it. I even read the autobiography and watched an hour-long interview he did with a batshit....okay, see, there I go, I'll have to stop now.

Opening act was KYNG. Didn't see the whole set, and I wasn't quite into it, but I'm down with any band of any genre who doesn't try to "shock" me. "I'm Mike Tyson, I've seen everything." So I'll give 'em that--they were down-to-earth dudes who were way better than Slipknot is. (Or insert whatever 2012's version of Slipknot is here.)
I saw Megadeath open for Judas Priest at the PCC in 1991 (my 17th birthday, I believe). I was a high school junior. That concert rocked!
I feel like this fact came up once before, possibly on Joy of Sox. Either way, awesome.
I was down in the pit, mustaine was trying to read a sign someone had that was the hold up lol. There were rumors of a fight but none that i saw. A lot of technical issues though.
Thanks for the update. I did see the sign(s) that he took from the people in the front, which he seemed to read to himself and not tell us what they said. So you're saying that was another sign? He was staring at it for so long...

I could see one guy get pulled out of the crowd by the bouncers and get taken out in a chokehold.
You may be right. Oh, shit, don't tell me I've become my father!

"Have I told you this story before?"

"Only three times, Dad..." :-)

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Location: Rhode Island, United States