Tonight was the night that we all have been waiting for (referring to the Edmonton-based metalhead double true followers… huh, guess that’s just me). Thrash metal legends, Megadeth, finally return to Edmonton after thirteen whole months, this time with Slayer! Trust me when I say it was well worth the wait.

Canadian Carnage

Canadian Carnage - Rexall Place - Lower Level Seating

The name of the mini-tour is as hard hitting as the music itself: Canadian Carnage. With respect to the Edmonton show at Rexall, the order of the bands was as follows:

  1. Suicide Silence
  2. Machine Head
  3. Megadeth
  4. Slayer

Because Suicide Silence is a death metal band and Machine Head is a growling thrash metal band, I decided to pass on the opening acts to avoid personal discomfort. However, I arrived about an hour-and-a-half late and Machine Head was just about closing their set. As I predicted, they were not my type of band. But the saying “to each their own” comes into play here, as the present crowd displayed an impressive show of animosity and chaos. The floor occupants gave their moshing respects, though the liveliness was not as strong a presence where I was (lower level seating near the back). From where I was standing, people were either crazy as hell or, more prominently, bored as shit; I was the latter (sorry for offending anyone).

I was dreading the concert from the moment I reached my seat and MH began their song “Halo” (no, it’s not as pretty as it sounds). I was not particularly entranced by the growling vocals, nor by the phrase “head bang motherfucker.” And to add to this, a couple of rude bitches spilled their cold beer on my back. Things were looking grim from my viewpoint. But my worries faded along with the lights as Megadeth commenced their performance.


Megadeth Setlist (June 26, 2009):

  1. Sleepwalker
  2. Wake Up Dead
  3. Hangar 18
  4. Skin O’ My Teeth
  5. Rattlehead
  6. Kick the Chair
  7. In My Darkest Hour
  8. She-Wolf
  9. Head Crusher
  10. Symphony of Destruction
  11. Peace Sells
  12. (Encore) Holy Wars

That was the setlist, if I recall correctly. I was somewhat anxious throughout the first song because the audio was sounding rather messy (the sound itself not the performance). But maybe my ears had adjusted or maybe the sound guys fixed their problems because by the end of the second song I had no complaints for the  audio quality (other than a two-second malfunction on Mustaine’s guitar during the intro of “Hangar 18”). My only other complaint regarding the audio was that I found Broderick’s guitar to be noticeably quieter than Mustaine’s. I could pick up the old guitar solos because I’m familiar with them, but I struggled to grasp the “Head Crusher” solo, due to the fact that it is a new song. But for the most part, the sound was spectacularly raw; blissfully loud; magnificently metal.

The song choice as well was quite satisfying. It’s somewhat unsettling that six of the twelve songs are played in every Megadeth set (seven if “Kick the Chair” is included), but many would argue that they are essential. Hence, it is debatable whether this is good or bad. But I was quite pleased with how the setlist covered all the essential albums in a rather equal proportion. I was delighted with inclusion of the very old “Rattlehead,” and even more so with the very new “Head Crusher.” The upcoming album, Endgame, is looking very promising. It is to be released sometime in September, and includes the new song “Head Crusher”. Hopefully I’ll release an early review. But anyways, back to the concert…

Performance-wise, each band member was flawless. Not only was Dave Mustaine able to hit pitches spot-on during complex riffs, but he made it look easy. James Lomenzo did a fine job on bass guitar. Drummer Shawn Drover kept steady beats without faltering. And the newest addition to the team, guitarist Chris Broderick, does an amazing job at incorporating his own personality into the solos of his predecessors without the diluting of quality. The performance was very orderly and well-presented.

To my surprise, the same could be said about the crowd. Thankfully, no beer was spilled on me while Megadeth held the stage. It is not to say that they were unable to hook the crowd. After each song and at warranted moments, the audience would give it their all. They were very controlled, civilized, and respectful. I suppose being a more melodic thrash band, Megadeth would garner a different kind of appreciation. The focus was felt more on the music itself than the fact that it’s heavy. Unlike the Megadeth audience, where it could be said that order was maintained, the Machine Head audience consisted of those who were either passing time patiently in their seats (like me) or thrashing around violently.

And though it is not my intention to disappoint readers, I must admit that I skipped Slayer’s set. Because they’re a growling thrash band, I assumed several links between the Slayer and the Machine Head experience. I anticipated a crowd thrashing around violently (I assume no one would be sitting) rather than one of order. I expected a focus felt more on the heaviness itself rather than the music. And unfortunately, I had already made the decision to avoid personal discomfort. By saying this, I feel that I am admitting to not being a true metalhead. My apologies if I disappointed anyone.  To Slayer and Machine Head, as well as their fan base – I ain’t saying you’re not kind, you’re just not my kind.

But from a Megadeth point of view, it was an excellent concert. My expectations were fulfilled and my doubts were washed away. Although existent, the technical issues were minor. The song choice was satisfying and their performances were beyond impressive. Most importantly, Megadeth showed that they are not to be forgotten in the near future. But until next time, rattle your goddamn heads!

Megadeth: (L-R) Broderick, Lomenzo, Mustaine, Drover

Megadeth: (L-R) Broderick, Lomenzo, Mustaine, Drover

, but he made