Rude Awakening (DVD)
Released: 2002, Sanctuary Records
Everyone is now aware of Dave Mustaine’s decision to put an end to Megadeth, after he suffered an injury that caused severe nerve damage to his left arm and hand. It was diagnosed as Radial Neuropathy (compressed radial nerve). A full recovery is not guaranteed and within a year he’ll have a better idea of what this will mean. As a fan, I would rather have heard he was putting the band on a leave of absence until it was determined if he could play guitar again. Even if he can’t, he can still sing and Megadeth could continue on--but, alas, this is not what was said. Mustaine did say that “For the time being I have decided to exit Megadeth…” – so that leaves me with a small ray of hope that there might be a time when he will again rattle our god damned heads with some more ‘Deth! Megadeth’s RUDE AWAKENING CD and live home video, therefore, come at a time making this feel not just like a live album, but also as a parting gift to the fans.
The Megadeth DVD has the same cover as the CD: a picture of what looks like James Hetfield in a bed falling off a building in some sort of twisted and warped version of the “Enter Sandman” video. In fact, I really dislike this DVD/CD cover. It doesn’t look “metal,” nor does it have the Megadeth feel to it at all. I would have much preferred a painting or at least something with Vic on the cover! But as any good librarian will say, ”don’t judge a book by its cover” (well, in this case a DVD). Contained on the DVD is one of the best looking and sounding live gigs I’ve seen on DVD. The picture is perfect, as is the sound. In fact the sound is so perfect it makes me wonder how much of this is actually live? I would not be surprised if there were some touch ups done on the material in the studio. In fact, in a couple of places where you see Mustaine’s lips it’s not 100% in time with what you hear. I only noticed that 2-3 times so it’s not that much. But still, I’d rather hear a couple minor mistakes then any studio overdubs. But I’m getting picky here, because I really did thoroughly enjoy watching the DVD. One thing that really impressed me was Al Pitrelli. I’ve known he was an excellent lead guitarist for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how he’d approach playing some of the Megadeth leads which are more technical, intense and challenging than the material he’s written himself. However, to my delight, he pulled it off without a hitch. Even when he did solos for songs like “Hanger 18” and “Tornado of Souls” he nails them all just about note for note!! The other thing that was re-affirmed while watching this DVD is just how great of a soloist Mustaine is. He plays a lot of leads and he can really rip it up! Hearing him play the solos in “Wake Up Dead” was a stand out. In fact, hearing the band perform that live was a stand out for me!!! Other songs that made this DVD extra cool were: “Devil’s Island”, “Holy Wars,” “She Wolf,” “Hook In Mouth,” “Mechanix” (where Dave says “there are two ways you can hear this song. Our way and their way”), “Tornado of Souls,” “Hanger 18,” “Sweating Bullets,” “Peace Sells”, etc.
Unfortunately, there are some songs on here that are filler, such as: “Train of Consequences,” “A Tout le Monde,” “Burning Bridges,” “Almost Honest” “Trust”, etc. There are a number of songs that I wish they would of played instead of these!! For example, why not another track from the glorious first Megadeth album? Why not “Looking Down The Cross”, why not another less known track from PEACE SELLS like “Good Mourning/Black Friday”. They only played two songs from SO FAR SO GOOD...SO WHAT. Why didn’t they play “502”, “Liar” or “Set The World Afire”?? Again…only three songs from RUST IN PEACE when they could of unearthed some godly tracks like “Five Magics” or “Take No Prisoners.” I was kind of surprised that they didn’t play “Skin O' My Teeth” or “High Speed Dirt” from COUNTDOWN. But they did after all play enough tracks from that album. They also played too many songs from YOUTHANASIA in my opinion. They didn’t pick the best tracks from the overlooked album CRYPTIC WRITINGS either. They should of stuck a song like “The Disintegrators” into the set….NOT “Almost Honest” or “Trust.” Thankfully they didn’t play anything from the horrid RISK album (the only Megadeth album I do not nor ever will own). They of course played some material off their (return to metal) album THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO but they strangely left off the “hit” song “Moto Psycho.” Not really a big loss I know…
On the DVD there are some extras like “bonus footage from underground live show.” Sadly this didn’t feature the songs I missed from the concert but instead consisted of: “Kill the King”, “Angry Again”, “Almost Honest”, “Train of Consequences”, and “A Tout le Monde.” Why couldn’t the bonus footage of been some better song selection or better yet why couldn’t they dig up some live good quality bootleg footage from PAST tours. Can you imagine how cool it would be to see some good quality live videos from the old days??? Another of the DVD extras is interviews with current band members called “Megadeth on Megadeth.” They are pretty well done and what they speak about was interesting enough to keep my attention.
Despite my nitty gritty complaints I loved the concert. I would of given this a 5/5 if they had picked better songs for the live show. But as some of you are probably thinking, you can’t please everyone. I guess my heart with Megadeth lies with their older material still and as a result I wasn’t as excited to see some of Megadeth’s weaker moments so well represented. Let’s hope there are more chapters in the Megadeth story to write in future years. Even if there are not, we still have some great albums to listen to for all time. Megadeth has earned and obtained their important place in the history of heavy metal and shall not be forgotten!