I was actually going to give this gig a miss as we’re trying to save a bit of cash and I’ve seen Megadeth countless times before. However, my mrs wanted to check them out so we picked up two tickets. I was quite pleased when Glasgow’s Bleed From Within were added to the bill for a hometown show as well.
A stinking how day outside led to a pretty stifling venue, and with beer over £4 a pint (ouch, O2 – really?) I settled for an Irn-Bru while Gillian decided to make the most of her night off work. By which I mean she didn’t give a damn about the prices and set out to enjoy herself.
Bleed From Within came on around 8:00 and showed why they’d been picked to support such a well-established act. If there was a show where they had every right to be nervous, this was it, but no such signs were on display.
They blasted through a set of around eight songs in a very professional manner and singer Scott Kennedy managed to thank their headliners, and praise the crowd without ever quite sounding like he was gushing.
Definitely a band who deserve the praise I’ve heard being chucked in their direction, and they did the job any support band is meant to have: warming up the crowd for the headliners.
So – Megadeth. Why was I expecting to be disappointed? Well, they’ve not really released anything good since the Countdown To Extinction / Youthanasia days. At best, most of their albums in the last 15 or so years could class as “adequate”.
Plus there’s Dave Mustaine‘s politics. Once a figurehead in convincing the youth in his country to vote, he’s now a conspiracy-theorising born-again nut-job who won’t play certain songs from their back-catalogue as he isn’t prepared to utter some of the words in their lyrics.
However, as far as I could tell through the faltering vocals and poor sound quality – par for the course at the Academy – Dave stuck to band-related conversation during the gig and the set was predominantly filled with tracks from the previously mentioned albums as well as the utter classic Rust in Peace. Two new songs were played, one or two recent ones, a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat” and – to the most rapturous reception of the evening – “Peace Sells…”.
Hard to believe that Countdown is twenty years old (I was barely out of school when it was released), and despite not really being a thrash album compared to their older material, it still sounds great live. It’s just a shame that the much older material didn’t get a run out, but with the number of songs that Megadeth have to choose from, they’re never going to please everyone. Still, I’d have loved to hear “Black Friday” live again.
Gillian had to leave the gig a few songs early due to the heat, which is a shame as they were not the disappointment I was expecting. Musically, they were as tight as a gnat’s bumhole and the set list had a great variety.
The light show was also superb, with three video screens choreographing song videos or animations behind every track. They also helped with the lighting so I got some of the best photos I’ve ever managed to take at a gig!
What did disappoint was the sound. Once again the Academy let down the band and the fans, this time with a section of the mid-range (vocals and guitars) just disappearing at times. It wasn’t up there with the utter audio mess that was Machine Head a couple of years ago, but it’s irritating all the same.
Now, if Dave could just let his music do the talking instead of opening his gob in the public media as he does, things could be just that bit better in the world. And I just spotted this story on MetalSucks regarding the Manchester show. Way to go, Dave.