Megadeth: “Gigantour” @ PNC Bank Arts Center (9/30/2006)

Logo - Megadeth

Artist: Megadeth: Gigantour 2006
Venue: PNC Bank Arts Center (Holmdel, NJ)
Opener: Lamb Of God, Arch Enemy, Opeth, Overkill, Into Eternity
Date: 9/30/2006
Label: Roadrunner Records, Century Media Records

“Gigantour 2005” was an incredible tour which not only paired Megadeth and Dream Theater as co-headliners for two monster sets but it also gave the fans the music of Nevermore, Symphony X, Fear Factory, Life Of Agony, Anthrax, Dillinger Escape Plan, Drykill Logic, & Bobaflex. Immediately met with a large level of appeal against the likes of Ozzfest and Warped Tour this was set to be the beginning of a new and powerful yearly event. The entry price was accommodating and many of the bands were serious Metal providers while some other participants were met with a level of “why are they here”. In any case the fans that attended still talk about it like it was yesterday, and when the second year was discussed, the approval was absolutely resounding. Gigantour 2006 would have no questionable acts on the performance roster and instead deliver on all fronts with legendary acts Megadeth and Overkill, new talent such as Smashup and Sanctity and most important – some of the most relevant bands that the Metal scene offers you today with Arch Enemy, Opeth, Into Eternity and Lamb Of God. To call this a shred fest would be a serious understatement, this would be “a f**kin’ sick shred fest!!”. Here is some of how the evening went down with comments on all the bands we were able to see. Read on true believer.

SMASH-UP & SANCTITY: Sorry friends of Metal but I cannot give you any insight on Smashup at all for I was still getting situated during their very short stage time (20 minutes or so). There are some fun samples of them on the tours main page and I am sure that if Mustaine added them to the roster that there was a certain level of appeal to their music at least in his eyes. Sanctity I would not see either, but I did see this impressive new band when Dragonforce came through town in May this year. They are not bad and show levels of promise on big and better things.

INTO ETERNITY: Yes, the same Into Eternity that most Metal fans know very well by now. The same Into Eternity who blew us away at shows over the past two years as we found them as opener for the likes of Opeth, Nevermore, Amorphis, Hate Eternal, Hammerfall, EdGuy and the list truly goes on. The bands all too short set would be a couple of their staple numbers from “Buried By Oblivion” as well as a taste of the killer new release “The Scattering Of Ashes”. If there is some reason you have not heard of this band by now, then you need to rectify the issue and join the party. It was incredible to see this fine band performing on the second run of Gigantour. They have many big things in store for them, and for you. Don’t miss the bus on this group.

OVERKILL: “Here’s to the Old School”, yes the Thrash Metal legends were in the house tonight and dead set on “Elimination” of all in their path. Overkill is truly one of the Metal mainstays and it’s always an exciting set when they are pounding the skulls of the audience. Bobby Blitz sounds the same and D.D. Verni continually rumbles on the bass while the guitars and drums test the limits of your brains ability to absorb the assault. Staple numbers such as “Rotten To The Core” were delivered and “Elimination” would be even more special as guest drummer Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater would sit in for the number. I’m always impressed with Overkill and their ability to not only deliver any time on the stage but also in their being able to get an entire arena to sing along with “Fuck You”, their rousing closer. I felt this was a great chance for Overkill to regain some footing in the Metal audiences as while their core following is loyal to a fault there are folks who might not be aware of their impact in the younger legions.

ARCH ENEMY: Arch Enemy is a fan-favorite whose popularity seems to grow with each adventure they take. The band recently completed a headlining tour, did the Ozzfest two years in a row and now finds themselves high on the lineup roster for the ultimate shred-fest Gigantour 2006. Their music is pure Metal and since this was an audience full of pure Metal heads, it was a win-win situation all around. No Emo as far as the eye could see and scanning the crowd all you saw were fists and horns held high into the air. Angela Gossow is one of those unique front women who breaks the walls down in this particular genre and sets an example that other women who sing can follow. She is not an Operatic singer but instead a demon from the depths that uses her guttural growl to hold all the members of the audience to her will. She shows that a woman can successfully front a Metal band of this type and do it very, very well. Opening up with “Nemesis”, a blistering track from “The Doomsday Machine” the group performed to a “Ravenous” audience and delivered songs like “My Apocalypse”, “Dead Eyes See no Future” and the show-stopping closer of “We Will Rise”.

OPETH: The group that comes off like the Pink Floyd Of Progressive Death Metal are still in support of their Roadrunner Records release “Ghost Reveries” and while the group delivers a more sedate and intellectual level of Metal focus at times, there is no respite from the excitement generated when they play. This was an incredible step for them as in the States the band has not yet played to an audience of this capacity. They did have large crowds when appearing on the “Sounds Of The Underground” tour in 2005, but their early and short set time along with a mostly Grindcore audience left fans of the band finding them a bit lost in the mass. Tonight they truly showed what they offer the Metal fans as they opened with the albums “Ghost Of Perdition” and showed how well the Progressive elements mixed with their unique brand of Melodic Death Metal in “Deliverance” and “Baying Of The Hounds”. Opeth is a band that raises the musical bar very high and should not be overlooked especially if you yearn for levels of difference in your Metal.

LAMB OF GOD: Lamb Of God is best summed up in one word – Metal. Plain and simple, pure and true, this is full-blooded American Heavy Metal and there are not many bands like the one and only Lamb Of God. Their recent release of “Sacrament” shows just how good this band is and is a step up from their blockbuster “Ashes From The Wake”. This new album shows musical development and melodic growth but is not at all short on the heaviness factor and seeing them this high up on the roster was as exciting as you might imagine. The group performed what seemed to be an hour-long set, but I admit to losing track of time in the cascading bodies that began flying around during the set. Some friends and myself had navigated down to closer to the stage and there was little secure ground to find down there. Some of the songs performed would be “Walk With Me In Hell”, “Redneck”, Laid To Rest” and “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For”. They are a group that is stepping up into the role and leading Metal fans ahead providing levels of aggression previously only enjoyed at Pantera shows. Lamb Of God is proving to be one of the most important Metal bands our recent history has allowed us to enjoy. Their latest release is an album that is molding the way the genre can be delivered and its worth picking up.

MEGADETH: Say what you will about Dave Mustaine, but when it comes to Heavy Metal music this is a man who has consistently remained relevant to the genre and its purity. Known for his ability to shred as well as direct politically astute lyrical content in his music he is the mastermind of this tour and closes it out with a memorable set of classics. I attended Gigantour 2005 when it was at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and perhaps this different venue made it more enjoyable to me or perhaps the lineup that Megadeth has is now more comfortable in their roles. The MHCC show was incredibly hot in terms of room temperature and the band seemed not as on top of the game as I was finding them tonight. Perhaps it was just heat stroke, but tonight I was finding the whole presentation above par and the band performing like a Heavy Metal superpower should. Backed by the Drover Brothers on guitar and drums (Glenn and Shawn) the group also has James Lomenzo (White Lion, Black Label Society) on bass. I felt that this was one of the tightest performances that I have ever seen Megadeth deliver and despite his being a rather outspoken person, Mustaine would keep the banter light and focus more on the music. One of the more memorable comments he would make was before “Mechanix” where he referenced the Metallica version as something he would do if on Quaaludes. The bands blistering hot set would include some of the bands most revered numbers and give the audience a preview of their forthcoming album “United Abominations” with the track “Washington Is Next!”. As the show completed Mustaine spoke to the crowd saying how Gigantour was about the guitar and that its spirit will never die. Perhaps he was referring to the more commercialized other festivals the US features or perhaps this is just his view on it all. In any event, this was the better of the two attended Gigantours for me, and I can only imagine the surprises that will be in store for us when the 2007 roster is unveiled.

Megadeth’s new album will be available on Roadrunner Records in early 2007.

Set List:
1. Blackmail The Universe
2. Set The World Afire
3. Wake Up Dead
4. Skin O’ My Teeth
5. In My Darkest Hour
6. Take No Prisoners
7. Devils Island
8. Symphony Of Destruction
9. She Wolf
10. Trust
11. Hangar 18
12. Kick The Chair
13. Washington Is Next!!
14. Tornado Of Souls
15. Mechanix
16. Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying)
17. Holy Wars

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