Venue: Izod Center (East Rutherford, NJ)
Opener: Megadeth, Testament
Label: American Records
The East Coast contingent of the Metal Republic was finding a whole lot of entertainment being delivered to them these last few weeks especially if they were only paying attention to the various clubs around them in the city. It’s true because the Big Apple had a rousing week that began with Y&T, Lillian Axe and Night Ranger who had each performed shows of their own at one of our favorite haunts B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in Times Square. Now that the Hard Rock side of things had finished, it was time to indulge in the Metal once again with an incendiary roster that included Slayer, Megadeth and Testament who had all banded together under the banner of “The American Carnage Tour”. The interesting thing for me was that I was not originally planning on hitting this show even though the lineup was killer. I had seen all of the bands a number of times before and I was not able to secure my normal Metal media credentials to do it up properly but when a ticket was given to me by the friend of a friend I knew that I had to be there and let you know the overall scoop. The closest that the show would hit NYC would be at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum and the Izod Center over in East Rutherford, NJ. We would be going to that one which was all right by me since I hate the trek to the Long Island arena. It was going to be interesting to be “off duty” this evening, but since I bleed this website for you, there is really never such a thing going on. Tonight I walked among the Metal Republic as one of its own maniacs as opposed to being its scribe of what went down.
The parking area seemed full and the fans were blasting a little bit of everything from Maiden to Priest to the expected three bands that were going to play tonight. I am always amused when the tailgaters choose to listen to the band that they are going to see right before a show. There were a lot of people cooking as well and this was a good night for it. As I wandered the halls of the Izod Center, it was great to see the number of Metal heads representing and I had to say that I recognized a lot of them from the other shows that I attend on a regular basis in the city. What I was not expecting was the setup of the arena itself and what I am referring to was it being done up as a theatre and being a space that had at least a 1/3rd cordoned off. To better imagine it, think of the stage itself being closer to the middle of the floor area as opposed to the far end side. The running order for the show would be Testament, Megadeth and then Slayer.
Testament: It’s without question that Testament has been enjoying a tremendous level of success since the release of their “Formation Of Damnation” album and this is justified. The band went on at what seemed to be the exact toll of 7pm and that was going to mean that those opting to hang out in the parking lot would miss out on a thundering set. There were limited bodies in the seats but I didn’t care since that was their loss and not that of myself and those around me who made sure to catch every moment of the show. The sound was a little bit on the muddy side but that was more in the PA mix than what the band was delivering to us. If you have not yet seen Testament live then you are cheating yourself because they are a band that always gives the audience their all. The set began with the instrumental intro from the latest album and then its “More Than Meets The Eye” track which I am surprised has not yet been picked up by the Transformers movie franchise. The new albums title was performed and they would do the wise move of playing something new, something classic, something new and something classic which mixed it up rather nicely. We had a “Wall Of Death” from the audience but there were not really enough people in place to make this all that impressive and while I am not against the whole circle pit moshing, I am not too crazy about this form of it. Of the three bands performing this evening, Testament would be the only one of them who would not be presenting a full album tonight. In some sense I was happy with this being the case. The changeover was rather quick and now one could say “Let there be Deth; Megadeth that is”.
Megadeth: For the American Carnage Tour Megadeth would be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their “Rust In Peace” album and be doing so by presenting the classic recording from beginning to end. When the show lights tripped for them to take the stage a solitary Dave Mustaine came out and asked the audience if they knew why they were here or something of that nature and off they went. The stage was laid out to reflect the album cover as far as its backdrop went and there were some wall sections that looked like a military base while the drums displayed a nuclear warning insignia. I always enjoyed the “Rust In Peace” album even though this was not my particular favorite of the bands output. In all honesty I was one of those Metal heads who preferred a few key tracks from each of their releases as opposed to the entire recording but to each his own. For many of the Metal Republic the other highlight of the bands set was seeing the return of bassist Dave Ellefson who had been able to shake hands with Mustaine and mend fences in order to return to the bands lineup. I did feel bad for James Lomenzo who I consider to be a monster bassist, but at the end of the day the formula works better with Mustaine and Ellefson on the stage. They would be the only two members from the original album but I had to say that both Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick were doing a great job at material originally executed by Nick Menza and Marty Friedman. The delivery of the album was a no-nonsense and no breather display of Metal energy and that was a good thing. As it ended Mustaine mused “and that was “Rust In Peace” and then he delivered a few extra tunes which could all really be considered encores at this point. Mustaine got a chuckle when he likened the choice of what other tunes to play in the 70 minutes was like being on a sinking ship and not knowing which kids are going to go into the rafts. They would do “Trust” which was never a personal favorite but follow it with “Headcrusher” from their latest Roadrunner Records effort “Endgame”. “A Tout La Monde” came up next which we found on “United Abominations” as a re-recording but Cristina Scabbia who sings on that version did not come out as a surprise. That would have been cool but alas it was not to be. “Symphony Of Destruction” had the fists pumping and then it was an extended bass intro ala Ellefson as the band broke into their final number “Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying)”. It was great to see Megadeth remind us of just how relevant they remain as a Metal band and in the event that you didn’t know this yet, Mustaine has recently released a memoir that is entitled “Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir”. I picked up a copy but have yet to find the time to sit and enjoy reading it. One can only hope that the bands former label helps to celebrate the special anniversary for “Rust In Peace” but if you don’t want to wait for that you can look into the release from Shout! Factory as they have put together a live CD, DVD and Blu-ray edition of the band performing this album from start to finish along with some bonus tracks. I love it and now without any further adieu…………………SLAYER!!!!!!
Slayer: Sometimes I am finding it difficult to explain just how powerful a Slayer show hits the Metal head because they are just so adept at what they are doing at this stage of the game. Tonight in a similar fashion to Megadeth, the band would be performing from beginning to end their critically acclaimed album “Seasons In The Abyss”. In terms of the bands larger relevance back in the day, this was a recording that garnered the band a lot of attention and it was also celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The guys would start their set however with “World Painted Blood” from their 2009 album of the same name. I felt that this worked incredibly well as this newer release is almost the perfect companion to “Seasons In The Abyss” and more in line of what the legacy Slayer fans expect from them. It is more the case with this album as opposed to the 2006 release “Christ Illusion”. After the opening tune it was a down to business and basics approach for the band. There was not a lot of talking from Araya who periodically called out the name of the tune in his own signature fashion. He was rather stationary this evening and one could not blame him as he had recently undergone back surgery. The rigors of touring cannot be easy to do after something like this. On his left, and our right, was Kerry King who is a head banging machine during every song. I am surprised that at this point it has not rolled off his body as it never stops from the beginning until the end of the show. On the opposite side Hanneman did his own guitar wizardry but my attention was largely focused on the thundering power of Dave Lombardo. In today’s modern Metal world he is regarded as one of its most important providers of thunder. I know that there are faster and more technical drummers in some of the bands out there now but Dave is still one of the original masters when it all gets compared.
The delivery of “Seasons In the Abyss” was a fun experience for me because it was my second most favorite album from Slayer. I got into the band very late and that is why this is the case. They sounded great tonight but I must admit that Slayer shows are pretty much the same experience from one to the other. There are just different songs being played. Tonight’s show was also the second time I would see Slayer deliver a complete album at one of their shows and that first time was when they did “Reign In Blood” as their encore. After the band completed “Seasons” they would follow the example of Megadeth and do a few more classics as their closer for the show. With Slayer we would get “South Of Heaven”, “Raining Blood” and the bands seminal “Angel Of Death”. This made their closing feature just as much impact and intensity as their overall performance of “Seasons”. The crowd was certainly on their feet and keeping the general admission floor area as one giant pit which is something that I knew would be the case going in.
Reviewing the whole show as a unique experience I had to say that I am still somewhat on the fence about bands doing a full album and then finishing off with a few select other “hits”. I feel that while some albums are iconic in nature, such as “The Wall”, or “Dark Side Of The Moon”, not every anniversary of a release needs to be celebrated. Some view this as taking an easy way out in terms of set composition and in some sense I have to agree with them because as an audience member I come to a show to see a wider variety of tunes. There were also some folks who felt that the headlining space should have been allotted to Megadeth but I felt this was better laid out like this. It’s got to be hard to follow Slayer, so why even bother setting it up like that. Let them lay waste to our Metal psyche and have us return into the night numb as all hell. So despite that one reservation I did have a blast at this show and more so especially since I was not even expecting to attend and did this as a spur of the moment thing. Closing up I will just say “Bring On The Big Four”.
Photo Notes: I just wanted to apologize for the lack of any real concert photos from this event which are things that the PiercingMetal readership has come to expect from our concert reports but as I mentioned in the beginning, I was not really on “Metal Duty” this evening and just used the spare ticket that one of the legions had offered me. What I did do was present historical archive galleries of each of these Thrash Metal Titans as we have photographed them a number of times in the past already.
1. Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
2. Hangar 18
3. Take No Prisoners
4. Five Magics
5. Poison Was the Cure
7. Tornado of Souls
8. Dawn Patrol
9. Rust in Peace… Polaris
12. A Tout La Monde
13. Symphony Of Destruction
14. Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying)
Slayer Set List:
1. World Painted Blood
2. War Ensemble
3. Blood Red
4. Spirit in Black
5. Expendable Youth
6. Dead Skin Mask
7. Hallowed Point
8. Skeletons of Society
10. Born of Fire
11. Seasons in the Abyss
12. South of Heaven
13. Raining Blood
14. Angel of Death
The poster for this particular event was impressive so I opted to share a visual of one with you readers. Enjoy. This one seemed to be aimed at the fan club of Megadeth who would be the second band performing on this tour. No matter what the running order was, every band was a headliner tonight without question.
From the sidelines I decided to snap a couple of long distance images with the PiercingMetal Phone and a small Sony that I carry everywhere. Tonight I was more interested in the show than taking photos of every moment. I did this to showcase what the stages looked like as they were impressive. Here is the visual of what Testament was delivering the goods in front of.
Here’s a slightly clear image of the band tearing up the stage. Not bad for hundreds of feet away.
Testament would be the only band on the bill that was not playing a full album from beginning to end tonight or during this tour for that matter. Megadeth was up next.
The band’s stage setting reflected their classic “Rust In Peace” album and if you were up on the tour’s premise you would know that the group was performing the entire album in full for this set of shows.
Here we see Megadeth thanking the crowd who were now catching their collective breath before Slayer was hitting the stage. As you can see Dave was tossing some of his guitar picks out to the audience. Lucky fans who catch those things. I love when that happens to me. I was too wrapped up in the delivery of this album to be snapping more pics during the set and as mentioned I was far away anyways. However, a few that led us up to Slayer come up next.
Before Slayer came out to devastate the masses, a large curtain was dropped in front of the stage. I had only seen this done a couple of times before. Once was for Megadeth if memory serves me correctly and the other time was for Tarja Turunen. Oh wait, Alice Cooper did it as well but his usage was very key to the opening song as opposed to just being a blocking to the audience .
When the lights went down the curtain was used to showcase the bands name. As if we needed a reminder about who was coming out. These logos spun around a little bit and eventually became pentagrams.
As soon as that visual had ended the curtain was quickly dropped and moved away and there they were in all their Metal glory – Slayer!!!!
Bearing in mind that we were as mentioned “only here to enjoy ze Metal” we would not be down in the mayhem that looked to be brewing in the photo pit during the Slayer set. From the distance there appeared to be segments of cabinets set up and the various photographers were scurrying back and forth between them and trying to stay out of the security personnel’s way. Amusing to see how I must look every now and again.
On either sides of the stage, Slayer had these two eagles set up. This is a typical band visual.
There was quite a bit of chaos down in the general floor area and here you see a brief moment of calm before the storm as the audience caught their collective breaths before starting up the circle pit once again.
A few of the fans near me were waiving this Slayer flag and moshing in their seats. It was amusing as half the time I felt they were going to go rolling down the aisle until they reached the floor area and at others I wondered if they thought that Slayer could actually see this banner from as far away as it was.
Since these are the only photos captured from the performance I decided to present to you readers some of our vintage work in relation to all of these bands. We’ve seen and photographed them all over the years a number of times and with that being the case were not all that dismayed by not being down in the pit for this one. In the end it let me speak to more of the Metal Republic in the arena and also hand out the ever necessary PM.com business cards. Enjoy these legacy photos and know that each link will bring you to the bands entire photographed presence on the site.