Megadeth w. Suicidal Tendencies, Children Of Bodom and Havok
at GEC in Calgary, Alberta
March 6th, 2016
All pictures courtesy of Jeff B. and Metal Nation Radio
Sunday, March 6th was a semi-historical occasion in the Calgary Metal scene. It was the first time that a Metal concert was hosted in the Grey Eagle Casino, a beautiful new venue in Calgary. Sure Queensrcyhe had played the GEC a couple months before but the small seated crowd of 500 older fans but that gig was almost a warm-up for the crowd and style of show as the sold out Megadeth tour. There were so many unanswered questions…would the layout be seats or standing area? Would it be loud enough? How would the line-up’s be? Could security handle the crowd? And most importantly…would there be enough beer?! I’m pleased to say the GEC met all expectations as it was a great, safe show and it seemed that all the 2700 or so people had a great time.
The show started on time to the minute with Denver based thrashers Havok opening the show. It was pretty full as it was an earlier show, and earlier door times on a Sunday night. Unfortunately, the heavy-weight four-band bill (a mini Gigantour?) only afforded Havok time for three or four songs. They rose to the challenge and were the best ‘pure’ thrash band of the night as they ripped it up with a ferocity I knew that Megadeth has a hard time reaching these days.
Up Next Finland’s Children Of Bodom were next. They were a bit of a dark horse band on the tour. They opened with ‘Are You Dead Yet?’ and blasted through half a dozen songs. I’ve seen them many times over the years, on their own tours and supporting and this time they seemed a bit flat. It was nice to see new guitarist , in action and I would have liked to hear more Janne Warmen, one of the more unique and interesting features of the bands sound but a short set means they had to keep their set short, tight and fast.
Up next was Suicidal Tendencies, my first time seeing them. They say you only live once so I slammed my last drink of the night and pushed my way up front. It might not seem might much, but for a skinny, 45 year old dude with glasses to be in the pit at a Suicidal show…well…let’s just I survived! It don’t hit the pit too ften anymore but I had to for ST! They opened with ‘You Can’t Bring Me Down’ and followed up with the one-two punch of ‘Institutionalized’ and ‘Trip At The Brain’. They kept it fast and old and the young guys in the band did a great job. The few people I talked to who saw them in Calgary earlier in 2016 on the Slipknot tour said the GEC show was way better. It was cool to see Cyco Miko up close and enjoy his breathless fast-talking inspirational stage raps about ‘being all you can be’ and all that. They were a highlight of the night for me for sure!
It was only about 9:30pm at night and we had blasted through three or the four bands! Megadeth seemed pretty invigorated with the new line-up and treated us with a sort of futuristic sci-fi, spaceship/freighter kinda of look for the stage. The sound was great, the light show was awesome and the backdrops and big screens were relentless in messages of war, anarchy, fire, footage of political turmoil from across the world flickering incessantly, almost to the point of distraction. Mustaine stills wears his politics on his sleeve! Kiko is arguably the most talented guitarist that Megadeth has ever had easily switching from the more complicated fluid style of Power Metal he normally plays in Angra into the simpler thrash of Megadeth with ease and finesse.
Dave’s voice was a little rough but he never was known for being a virtuoso vocalist and his sing/talk style held up well.
The band blasted through a set-list largely comprised of older songs, not one single song from the last full eight studio albums (!) since 1994 with the exception of three cuts from DYSTOPIA. As I was enjoying the old favorites it occurred to me compared to some of rhe young retro-styled thrashers like Havok, Megadeth really have veered into a more mainstream classic Metal sound than a pure thrash act. They certainly are more musical and diverse than many of the other thrash bands around.
There was not too much banter from ol’ Dave as he growled through hit after hit, maybe even looking a bit tired about halfway through a fairly long north American tour hitting many secondary markets, which I’m sure is appreciated. Megadethh are too god and too professional to ever really put on a poor show, I’ve seen them more fired up and I’ve seen them worse as well but this time it was one of the better shows.
It was great package tour, in a great venue and a fun night for everyone. Catch this tour if you can!