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Megadeth - September 30, 2007 - 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.)

By: Greg Xanakes

Clean living has led to a cleaner vocabulary for Dave Mustaine in recent years, but someone awakened a sleeping giant at Megadeth’s recent tour stop at the 9:30 Club in our nation’s capital.

A stone’s throw from the politicians who have fueled so much of Mustaine’s creative fires for the last quarter century, the speed metal figurehead was a bit salty after a stop in New Hampshire the night before when the crowd booed our military’s efforts overseas. Needless to say, that was more than enough to kick Mustaine and Co. into another gear for the night’s festivities.

The band whipped through about 90 minutes of top-notch thrash, opening with “Sleepwalker” from this year’s highly-acclaimed “United Abominations” album. During “Take No Prisoners” the crowd on the floor surged like an oncoming tide during a full moon, capturing lost souls in the drift and capsizing others under the pressure. The line, “Ask what your country can do for you,” took on even more significance in the District.

On this leg of the Tour of Duty, Megadeth has gone above and beyond the call by giving fans an opportunity to vote on the setlist (www.pickrset.com) and express their thoughts (www.saynow.com) by leaving a voice message for any one in the group. You can’t get that kind of service any longer at the local grocery store. Oddly enough, however, Mustaine neglected to make any mention of the band’s impending release of “Warchest,” a comprehensive package of four CDs and a DVD that unearth a wealth of demos and unreleased tracks that document Megadeth’s tenure with Capitol/EMI.

While I still have a hard time accepting the fact that former White Lion bassist James Lomenzo has been given access to the Megadeth kingdom after so many years as a hair metal sideman, there’s no doubt he fits perfectly into the mix and easily carries weighty tunes such as “Wake Up Dead” and “Gears of War.”

For his ode to former Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, Mustaine perseveres during “In My Darkest Hour” even though he has trouble getting the right mix in his monitors. In the past that may have pissed off the perfectionist, but maybe Mustaine’s inner peace has led to a sagely growth that knows better than allow the little things to eat at him.

Perched high atop a familiar kit that has accommodated many a drummer over the years, Shawn Drover gets a bird’s eye view of Mustaine, Lomenzo and brother/guitarist Glen as the quartet rips through a cautionary tale of “Hangar 18.” “I’m afraid I’m going to have to change the lyrics to this song,” Mustaine grumbles midway through the set. “Washington Is (motherfuckin’) Next!” he spews as the group launches into one of the many politically motivated tracks from UA.

A remake on the new studio album, with the addition of Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia on vocals, “A Tout Le Monde” may be a favorite of Mustaine (the one that likes long walks on the beach at sunset) but there was a noticeable groan from the audience as many ‘heads suffered through the softer side of ‘Deth.

The epic bass line opening of “Peace Sells” rattled the tiny club, shaking the balcony’s floor as the group picked up the pace to close out the set. Despite their best efforts, the crowd tried to mimic the chanting of the Buenos Aires crowd that was highlighted on “That One Night” during the first encore, “Symphony of Destruction” but they didn’t even scratch the surface of just how dedicated international fans have been of Mustaine and his endeavors. Although, the song did produce the first crowd surfer of the night, and the second, and the third…

Letting his music do the talking, Mustaine refused to even deign to speak about the New World Order and what he really thinks about the US government, opting to close out the night with a powerful rendition of “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” and simply leave it at that.

myspace.com/megadeth


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