Hangar 18. Wake Up Dead. In My Darkest Hour. Tornado Of Souls. Sweating Bullets. Holy Wars. Megadeth unleashed their wickedest setlist in years last night, overwhelming the Paramount Theater crowd with the blistering thrash metal assault fans have come to expect from the hardest touring members of the Big 4.
Ten years ago, no one would’ve predicted that Dave Mustaine and Megadeth would be the most stable and active band in the Big 4 and arguably, heavy metal at large. But as 2013 comes to a close, that’s the fantastic reality of the situation, and somehow the band seems to just keep getting better.
Megadeth played the Suffolk County-based Paramount back in May, performing the entire Countdown to Extinction album for a once-in-a-lifetime experience (read my full review here). They went on to play Manhattan later that week, then returned there in August with Gigantour (photos & review here), and after Friday night’s show in New Jersey (read my non-credentialed, somewhat drunken review here) they wrapped up one of their most successful years ever by coming full circle with Tuesday’s show at the Paramount.
Mustaine and his band have focused their highly calibrated concerts into an art form, and last night saw the group hammering through their thrashiest hits with the deadly precision of lightning strikes. Fans on the floor barely had time to catch their breath between favorite songs, each tune offering bombastic choruses and shrieking guitar solos fiercer and faster than the last. Fans shouted out “Sweating bullets!” louder than Dave himself, and the floor of the Paramount opened up for a free-for-all stomp-fest as moshers went crazy for that song’s hypnotic breakdown.
Fans also got a treat with the rarely-heard Set The World Afire, and gamely supported the only new song of the night, Kingmaker. Cryptic Writings singles Trust and She-Wolf led to Symphony Of Destruction and of course Peace Sells, giving fans a veritable best-of concert despite the tour theoretically supporting the new Super Collider record.
The Paramount has quickly become Long Island’s best venue, boasting plenty of space, great lighting and a plethora of bars, and even the hour-long haul from the city was well worth the fantastic display of guitar pyrotechnics last night. With support from Nonpoint and the long dormant Fear Factory, fans enjoyed their metal appetizers before devouring Megadeth’s crushing set, sandwiched perfectly between the epic riffs of Hangar 18 and show-closer Holy Wars.
While the 70 minute, 13-song set could’ve used a few more songs from a headliner of this caliber, it’s hard to complain when the show barely had any filler. Just about every song played was a masterpiece and performed to perfection, and other than the welcome respite of A Tout Le Monde, the crowd never stopped rocking out from start to finish.
Tuesday night's show was more than just another stereotypical heavy metal concert. When Megadeth is in town, the entire Megadeth family is in town, and every man, woman and child packed onto the Paramount floor with their fists in the air were there for one thing and one thing only - to worship at the feet of Dave Mustaine and his supercharged, fret-shredding, face-melting Megadeth thrash metal machine. (Read my October interview with Dave right here.) And if you still haven’t seen one of Megadeth’s dozen or more New York shows in the past few years, here’s an easy New Year’s resolution for 2014: Go see Megadeth!
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