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Rude Awakening
April 2002
Released: 2002, Sanctuary Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: CrashTest

I caught Megadeth during the opening show of the World Needs A Hero tour in October of last year. I was not real impressed, having seen them put on better shows in the past. Yet I wasn’t really disappointed either, since I’ve never really thought Megadeth was a great live band anyway. Knowing this to my general attitude toward the Megadeth live experience, why did I buy the CD? I guess old habits die hard.

So what can I say about Megadeth’s first live album? Well, it covers a lot of territory over two CDs. Nine of the songs from Megadeth’s golden era are covered, including three each from PEACE SELLS BUT WHO’S BUYING (4.75/5) and RUST IN PEACE (5/5). RISK is totally ignored, to the delight of many I am sure. Mercifully, “MotoPsycho” is left out, but thumbs up to “1000 Times Goodbye” which sounds a lot better live and without the female voice over.

As for the production and overall feel of the album? To these ears it sounds like Mustaine and company were going for a bootleg vibe, although a very high quality bootleg to be sure. It sounds like the show was recorded at the soundboard, though I’m no expert on bootlegs. The drums and vocals are high in the mix. It pisses me off to no end that the guitars are mixed way too far back during some of the thrashier moments. In fairness to Al Pitrelli, he’s good and he covers Friedman fairly well, but the punch just isn’t there. The fact that you can barely hear the intro to “Holy Wars” is sheer blasphemy. The copy I picked up at Best Buy features an exclusive bonus track, simply titled “Peace Sells Medley”. It mixes “Peace Sells” with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and the Sex Pistol’s “Anarchy in the UK”..

Whether you’ll want to pick up RA for yourself will come down to what kind of Megadeth fan you are. If you lost faith in them during the 90s, this album is not for you. If you have remained a fan despite the change in sound, or you became a fan in the 90s, the pickup is essential. You decide.

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