Worth The Wait: Canadian Carnage Comes to the Maritimes
Testament, Megadeth, and Slayer Live at the Metro Centre
July 26th, 2010 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Review by EvilG
Live Pics thanks to Jason Saulnier
Originally scheduled for November 2009, then moved to February 2010, then again moved to July 2010, this seemed to be the concert that would never happen for many of us on the East Coast of Canada. Thanks to the rescheduling, in airline ticket change fees alone this concert cost $300! Add on top of the actual flight cost, concert ticket, hotels, meals, and a pile of metal shirts, this is one of the most expensive concerts I've ever been to!! Sadly none of these bands have ever played out this way before which added to the anticipation. As everyone knows, the delays were caused by Slayer's Tom Araya and his ongoing back problems and eventual back surgery. The line-up also changed with openers Machine Head being replaced by the mighty Testament and the band Suicide Silence thankfully no longer on the bill for July.
Prior to the show, we had the opportunity to meet all of Testament thanks to a VIP ticket. It was quite surreal to meet people who we've listened to since the mid 80's! After being brought backstage we were led into Testament's den. The guys were sitting around on couches, guitarist Alex Skolnick fiddling with his guitar, and Chuck Billy was the first up from the couch with a big smile and warm handshake. No rock star attitude at all, just a friendly guy. I was a bit in awe of course and was grinning and telling him how awesome it was to get to meet him and the band and that they were actually playing this far east. He commented “It's always nice to hit new territory and win over new fans”...or in my case, to finally play in my neck of the woods so it was possible for me to see them. Alex asked if we were from Halifax or had traveled to the show. I said I was from even further east to which he said “How can you go any further east?!?” I explained I was from Newfoundland, an island north east of Nova Scotia. I think he had heard of the place but clearly it's off the tour map of all bands. After a few more words and thank-yous we had our photo taken and were led by a super-nice and accommodating band assistant out onto the floor to watch Testament do a sound check. Alex was noodling around and playing some Randy Rhoads riffs. Eric Peterson then came out and it was all chugga-chugga riffage right away. Ha! They both played a little bit of the harmonized intro to “The Haunting”. Chuck was wandering around on the floor taking some pics of their stage setup. Drummer Paul Bostaph then pounded out a few beats which you could feel impact your chest as the arena was virtually empty so not many bodies were there to absorb the sound.
We were told we might see of the other bands backstage but to not run up to them and freak out. Understandable. Megadeth drummer Shawn Drover was standing at the sound board about 20feet from us and it was hard to not run over and say “dude, you rule!” ha. When David Ellefson and then Dave Mustaine wandered out I was just grinning like a kid at two people who had been such a part of my metal life since the 80's. I was hoping they would of come over our way but it was not to be.
We then departed to drop off our Testament goodies back to the hotel. Upon returning to the venue we were felt up by security, oh well, at least it was by a woman and not some wanker. Ha! There was a lot of security and even a number of cops, maybe that's normal for a stadium show in Halifax...I dunno!? After buying a few shirts, hats etc we headed to our seats but not before running into about 10 people from Newfoundland! Felt like I was at a show at home with so many familiar faces wandering around! We were seated in the second row up close, stage right (Kerry King's side of the stage) but not on the floor thank you very much. I'm old enough to know I'm not indestructible so getting into a Slayer pit was not on the menu.
The doors opened at 5:30, and at 6:40pm the stage went dark and the crowd roared. The intro music, “For The Glory of...” from Testament's most recent studio album THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION (we here at Metal-Rules.com voted it the best metal album of 2008!) was pipped through the PA and in shadow you could see the band members taking their places. Then, as on the album, the band cuts into the glorious track “More Than Meets The Eye”. Chuck sounded as powerful live on this track as on the studio recording with his bellowing “Whoah ohh ohhhaaaooo”.
Chuck got everyone on the floor to do the “wall of death”. Chuck commanded "I want every one on this side to kill everyone on that side...and I want everyone on that side kill everyone on this side.” As the crowd parted, Chuck kept saying “wait for it, wait for it...” then finally “GO!”. The wall of bodies piled together like a wave crashing ashore....brutal and fun to watch!
Although I loved the set, due to it's shortness, there were some things that I wish they would of played. For example, I was REALLY hoping to hear “Over The Wall”, “Trial By Fire”, and “Souls of Black”. Also, from the latest studio album: “F.E.A.R”, “Henchmen Ride” would have been nice additions...but I'm not complaining, you can't cover all bases when you only play for about 45mins. Hopefully I'll get to see Testament again and for a 2hour long set!
(This is as close as I recall the set, I might of messed it up slightly...sorry)
1. For The Glory Of (intro)
2. More Than Meets the Eye
3. D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
4. The New Order
5. Practice What You Preach
6. Into the Pit
7. Dog Faced Gods
8. The Persecuted Won't Forget
9. The Formation Of Damnation
Before Megadeth took to the stage there was a long intro played with an Endgame / conspiracy /new world order related speech over the the classic song “Black Sabbath” (the recognizable tritone riff from the intro). To paraphrase: “Remain calm. All rights are suspended. Stay in your homes. Do not attempt to think. Curfew is at 7pm after work. Anyone found outside of their sub-division sectors after curfew...will be shot. Obey all orders without question.” It went on longer, but you get the idea.
Drummer Shawn Drover was the first to emerge during the speech, standing up behind his drum-kit and raising his arms to the roar of a hungry crowd. Next, guitarist Chris Broderick stormed out and everyone continued cheering but when David Ellefson came out, the roars of approval reached new levels. Clearly everyone is pleased to see him return to the band! However, when the man himself, the legend, Dave Mustaine, casually took to the center stage there was a feeling of electricity and metal magic in the air. For many of us in the audience, this was the first time we've seen Mustaine in person...after years and years of watching his videos, interviews, seeing him on music DVDs, and how here he was. Right away he cut in with the opening riff to “Holy Wars” - and so began nearly one hour of classic thrash metal as we heard the band play the entire RUST IN PEACE (1990) album.
The highlights from that album for me both on album and live are “Holy Wars”, “Hanger 18” and “Tornado of Souls”. From an instrument standpoint, all the album was executed flawlessly. Broderick is clearly the best guitarist that's been in the band since Marty Friedman as he nailed the solos with the fluidity and grace that astute fans want and expect. Dave's vocals were to be honest, hit and miss. During “The Big 4” theatrical event in June, it was hard to watch Mustaine struggle through the RUST IN PEACE material. However, his vocals for this night were much much better. Some of the highs still clearly gave him some trouble but it was passable at worst and awesome at best. Regardless, how he manages to sing and play those crazy technical riffs is a mystery!
Throughout the performance of the RUST IN PEACE album, there were no breaks or in between song bantering. It wasn't until the album had been finished that Dave actually spoke and said “That was Rust In Peace”. The crowd was clearly appreciative of what they'd just witnessed. Dave said something to the effect of “Where's my manners, I haven't even said hello to you....so......hello”. The next song played was “Trust” on which Dave's vocals sounded much better. Then it was onto “Headcrusher”, sadly, the only song played from the killer album ENDGAME. Next it was time for some of the band's most known material with the commercial “A Tout Le Monde”, “Symphony Of Destruction”, and the closing song, and a definite highlight, “Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?”.
Near the end of the set, around “Peace Sells...”, Dave walked across the the edge of the entire stage, acknowledging everyone in attendance and giving what felt like a personal thank-you, to everyone in the arena. He appeared to be genuinely touched by the reception that the band had upon the metal-starved masses from the eastern coast of Canada. After the final song, the entire band took their bows and Mustaine stayed on the stage by himself for a little longer just to give final thanks to the mega-fans and take a final bow by himself. It was sad to see him leave the stage but no one was complaining with the performance...a performance which will be remembered and reminisced about for a lifetime.
1. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due
2. Hangar 18
3. Take No Prisoners
4. Five Magics
5. Poison Was the Cure
7. Tornado of Souls
8. Dawn Patrol
9. Rust in Peace... Polaris
12. A Tout Le Monde
13. Symphony Of Destruction
14. Peace Sells
After Megadeth said their farewells, the anticipation was rising for some fuckin SLAYYERRRRRR! I had only seen them live once before, so I knew it was going to be awesome! A giant white sheet masked the front of the stage upon which spinning Slayer logos and pentagrams were projected. Soon enough the intro to the song “World Painted Blood” emerged from the PA. As it was playing, I heard the clinking of chains and saw guitarist Kerry King walking up the side steps to the stage (I was on his side so I could see him well). After the intro finished, the slaytanic guitar gallop began as bassist/vocalist Tom Araya cut in with “Disease spreading death entire population dies. Dead before you're born, massive suicide”. The huge sheet dropped and the lights blazed. Awesome! After the new song, Tom asked, “Are you ready for War??” Then “warrrrrrr ennnsembleeeee” and in crashed Kerry with the opening riff to one of my favorite songs. As expected, the rest of the SEASONS IN THE ABYSS album followed in order. This is an album that I've played so many times that I know most of the words, so by the end of them playing the album live I had shot my voice from yelling like a madman and losing it and screaming out “Slayyerrrrrr” between most songs like a kid.
What I did not partake in however was the mosh pit. Holy shit it looked violent! For those who didn't want to mosh, but wanted to be up front, they had to constantly duck avoid a boot to the head as the crowd surfing that had been all through Megadeth intensified throughout Slayer. The security guys sure earned their pay catching bodies as the flew up front. I saw one big guy go down and land on the hard concrete...it was perhaps his 4th time over the top so maybe they were tired or catching his sweaty arse! Hah!
After all of SEASONS was played, the supremely evil opening melody to “South of Heaven” began. Accompanying the music were a bunch of spinning crosses projected onto the backdrop. At the key moment in the melody after the trill and the melody switches to a lower octave, the crosses locked into their proper position – upside-down! Sadly there were only two songs left to the set, the mandatory “Raining Blood” and arguably Slayer's finest song, “Angel of Death”. Nothing could of followed...and nothing more needs to be said other then whew...what a set...what a concert, easily one of the best from three of the best bands in thrash metal.
If this concert is playing anywhere in your region, GO!!!
1. World Painted Blood
2. Hate Worldwide
3. War Ensemble
4. Blood Red
5. Spirit in Black
6. Expendable Youth
7. Dead Skin Mask
8. Hallowed Point
9. Skeletons of Society
11. Born of Fire
12. Seasons in the Abyss
13. South of Heaven
14. Raining Blood
15. Angel of Death
The day before the show, the news paper laid outside my hotel room had a front page picture of the shit act Black Eyed Peas who had played (AKA: lip-synched/danced around/did anything that doesn't involve actual musical talent) the night before. It figured that this garbage would get covered. My thought was, “I bet the morning after Canadian Carnage, there will not be any coverage at all.” Even though these bands have influenced a generation of musicians, helped redefine metal, and helped start a style of metal (thrash), the mainstream still remains ignorant of it's importance. Aw well, fuck them, these bands don't need them, and neither do we.
Thanks to Jason Saulnier for the pics!
Thanks to TESTAMENT for being so damn cool with meeting us.
Thanks to Meg and Tiff from the Testament camp
along with David Berger of Live Nation and Maria at Adrenaline PR.