Saturday, August 24, 2013

Gigantour 2013 in NYC

Gigantour 2013 (Megadeth, Black Label Society, Newsted)
Live in New York City
Reviewed by Rob Acocella

Rating: 4/5

When Dave Mustaine announced he was putting together the 2013 incarnation of Gigantour, my ears instantly perked up to see who would be on the bill. Known for great lineups, I was eagerly awaiting the announcement. The first time I heard that Black Label Society and Newsted would be on the bill, I knew I had to be there.

The New York City show had been broken up into two separate nights rather than one all-day festival, and from what I understand, it was the only stop on the tour that was managed that way. Unfortunately, the first night, which was supposed to feature Hellyeah and Device, had been cancelled.

Anyone who knows me from when Paragon first started knows I've always been a huge fan of Zakk Wylde's work, as well as Megadeth, and if you came up on Metal music beginning with post-Cliff Burton Metallica, you know it's been way too long since Jason Newsted got on stage and performed.

(Clicking the photos below will take you to full galleries of each band's performance.)

DIGImmortal Photo: Newsted 08-07-13 &emdash;

The first band of the night was Newsted, and what a great show he put on. I had not yet had the chance to hear his new music, so I wasn't totally sure what to expect. If you had ever seen the concert footage of Metallica's Binge and Purge, you know Jason is well-known for lending his vocals to live versions of "Whiplash." After a full set of all new, original material, true to what I had hoped, they covered the Metallica classic at the end of the set. I was surprised to see Mike Mushok of Staind performing with Jason, as I hadn't heard the announcement that he would be joining the band. Say what you will about Staind, but Mike is one hell of a guitar player and has a great stage presence when performing.

DIGImmortal Photo: Black Label Society 08-07-13 &emdash;

Black Label Society played a great set with a good balance of mid-career and new material. Zakk shreds his guitars like only Zakk can. The only thing I have been critical of over the years has been his singing voice. He had been doing backing vocals and harmonies for Ozzy for so long that his previously gruff, masculine voice has turned into a higher-pitch whine. No, I'm not a fan of the way he started singing on anything after 1919 Eternal. That's not to say that he has put out bad music since then, I just wish he'd sing like he used to on Stronger Than Death. The unfortunate thing is that it sounds even worse live. Enough about Zakk's voice though, because what people really go to see BLS for is the playing, and there was lots of great playing that night. Zakk and Nick Catanese have always locked in real tight and, together, they create one big wall of guitar sound. J.D. is a monster of a bass player and even tosses in some Funk flavor when playing these songs live. Overall, it was a great performance, but I wish I could have heard a few of my favorites from the first two albums as well. I'm not picky, though. I'll go see Zakk play any chance I get because I know it will always be a great show.

DIGImmortal Photo: Megadeth 08-07-13 &emdash;

Finally, the band everyone was waiting for, Megadeth, took the stage and opened with "Trust." I have to be honest, I was expecting more songs from Supercollider than only two, especially since one of those two songs are a cover. I was happy to hear "Kingmaker," as I've already said in my review of the album that it would have been a better choice for a first single over the title track. I just think that something like "Forget To Remember" or "The Beginning of Sorrow" would have been a better choice than "Cold Sweat." I did like the cover of "Cold Sweat" on the album, but if you're out promoting the new record, I would have expected only original tunes in the set list, at least for the fist time out. It was great to hear "Wake Up Dead," "Darkest Hour," and "Architecture of Aggression," in addition to the regular live favorites like "Hangar 18," "She Wolf," "Peace Sells," and "Holy Wars." The rhythm section of Ellefson and Drover has to be one of the tightest I've seen live, almost ever, and the scorching rhythm/lead change-offs between Mustaine and Broderick will give you whiplash. I've never seen a bad Megadeth show, and this continued that streak.

Even though this wasn't the full Gigantour lineup, I give this mini-Gigantour a solid 4/5 only because of my strong feelings on certain setlist choices. Performance-wise, though, it was flawless. Click here for a complete gallery of photos from the event.