Megadeth / Amon Amarth / Suicidal Tendencies / Metal Church / Butcher Babies, Sands Event Center, Bethlehem, PA October 11, 2016

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Megadeth / Amon Amarth / Suicidal Tendencies / Metal Church / Butcher Babies

Sands Bethlehem Event Center
October 11, 2016

Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by She Wolf

Megadeth / Amon Amarth / Suicidal Tendencies / Metal Church / Butcher Babies 2016 Tour
Megadeth / Amon Amarth / Suicidal Tendencies / Metal Church / Butcher Babies 2016 Tour


Why do thrash metal legends keep going? What more is there to prove? What the hell else are these defiant bastards supposed to do? For more than 30 years Megadeth has contributed to the metal genre musically, socially and politically and has been a voice for a generation. Earlier this year Dave Mustaine and co proved they still have teeth and something to say with their new album DYSTOPIA. Always a relentless touring machine, Megadeth is in the middle of their second US tour for 2016 in support of the album, this time with Viking metal stalwarts Amon Amarth, classic crossover thrash Suicidal Tendencies, old school Metal Church, and Butcher Babies. This is Megadeth’s second show in Bethlehem this year. Back to the Sands we go! TAKE NO PRISONERS!


The Sands Bethlehem Event Center is this great concert venue attached to the casino. Place is large enough to hold 3,500 people standing room and there isn’t a bad spot in the place, I’ve been here many times for shows and even a few fights. Sound quality is good, loud, and clear, no distortion. Stage is large with plenty of room for the musicians to move around and there is a barrier so stage diving is not possible. There are balconies on the sides and an upper balcony on the left side. Floor is spacious with plenty of pit room. Tonight is not a sell-out, attendance was good but not as good as last March. Tonight is a Tuesday vs last time it was a Saturday plus some people aren’t interested in seeing the same band twice in the same year (obviously that’s not fucking me!).


We have no pictures for Butcher Babies because we didn’t arrive in time to be escorted to the photo pit. We did see their set, I didn’t care for their nu metal / metalcore style. Mercifully it was short, 25 min.


  1. Monster’s Ball
  2. The Butcher
  3. Gravemaker
  4. Igniter
  5. Axe Wound
  6. Magnolia Blvd.




Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, Metal Church has been around for more than 30 years and most old school guys like me were happy they were added to the bill. Their musical style is more Iron Maiden influenced than other San Fran bands (Testament, Death Angel, Metallica) and they added some good diversity to the lineup. Frontman Mike Howe was all over the stage, delivering powerful melodic vocals. Original guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof and guitarist Rick van Zandt provided excellent riffing and solos and the low end (Jeff Plate – drums, Steve Unger – bass) was handled well. Whole set was very good, just wish it was longer. “Start the Fire” ( BRING DOWN THE HAMMER!) was my fave. The last time I saw these guys was 11 years ago opening for Motorhead and Ronny Munroe was the singer, so it sounded completely different. Metal Church is promoting their new album XI on this tour and they are still carrying the torch of the old Maiden / Priest / Dio sound, so if that is your thing, check ‘em out!


  1. Fake Healer
  2. Start the Fire
  3. No Tomorrow
  4. Badlands
  5. Beyond the Black













I’m not a fan of these guys, but they are always on bills with stuff I love (Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, etc) so here we are again. The crossover / hardcore group is very popular with fans from the 80’s, so I am in a minority in my age group. Opening song was the well known “You Can’t Bring Me Down”, stretched out to 10 minutes with slower passages. Singer Mike Muir has limitless energy, constantly running around the stage and gesturing to the crowd while delivering vocals. “Freedumb” really featured the sensational drumming of Dave Lombardo and some of his kickass drum work sounded a bit like “Angel of Death”, which I’m sure was intentional. Short set was mostly hits and the crowd enjoyed it. Needless to say Lombardo is still a beast!


  1. You Can’t Bring Me Down
  2. Freedumb
  3. Trip at the Brain
  4. War Inside My Head
  5. Subliminal
  6. Living For Life
  7. Pledge Your Allegiance













Ah Viking Metal! The Swedish metallers have become very popular over the last few years, headlining Mayhem Fest a few years back and now getting the top spot under Megadeth, ahead of Suicidal. Touring in support of their new album JOMSVIKING, these guys play “melodic” death metal, which to me means watered down death metal for the masses. When I think of Swedish bands I love, I think of pure death metal like Grave, Entombed, Deranged, Unleashed (the ORIGINAL Viking metal to me!), Dismember, Seance, Hypocrisy, etc. Amon Amarth is a bit deathy vocally but the music is lighter and more accessible. Stage set up was cool with a Viking ship in the middle of the stage with the drum riser on it. Musically these guys are talented, they sounded razor sharp and together. I just don’t dig them.


  1. Twilight of the Thunder God
  2. The Pursuit of Vikings
  3. As Loke Falls
  4. First Kill
  5. On a Sea of Blood
  6. Runes to My Memory
  7. Deceiver of the Gods
  8. Raise Your Horns
  9. Guardians of Asgaard













At 9:45 Megadeth stormed the stage and blasted us with a great rendition of “Hangar 18”! Mustaine was on fire from the start, deftly trading scorching riffs and solos with Kiko Louriero. Has anybody ever played as naturally and intensely at the same time as Dave? I think not! New drummer Dirk Verbeuren (ex. Soilwork) fit in with the band like he’d been there for years, he is a solid drummer like Shawn Drover, not at the level of Chris Adler but more than competent. He pounded us good on the heavy part of “Hangar 18”! David Ellefson laid down the bass line perfectly, the focus isn’t on him much but he is the stabilizing glue that holds the Megadeth war machine together! Without taking a breath the band dove into a ferocious “The Threat is Real” (THE CLOCK RUNS OUT, THE WEAKEST LINK!) and then dedicated “Tornado of Souls” to the late Nick Menza and just shredded for him, it was fantastic! Things were off to a killer start!


My favorite part of the set came next, a one-two punch of the PEACE and SO FAR albums, “Wake Up Dead” (always great – “I SNEAK IN MY OWN HOUSE!) and the Cliff Burton inspired “In My Darkest Hour” (GRACE DID NOT SHINE ON ME!). The change ups in “Wake Up Dead” still blow my mind today, the riffing and the changes in mood and tone are superb. We got a ton of new material from DYSTOPIA tonight (7 songs!) and all of it sounded great, heavier and rawer than the album. This time we got “Conquer or Die” and “Lying in State” which weren’t played on the last tour in March.


As usual Dave addressed the crowd a few times. He encouraged us to go out and vote, he said if you don’t like where the country is going, don’t vote for the status quo and more of the same. Dave also told a story about the inspiration for “Holy Wars – The Punishment Due”. Drunk on Guinness at a show in Ireland, Dave told the crowd that Protestants and Catholics should just put their differences aside and come together in the audience. Needless to say it didn’t go over well and other band members feared for their lives for the remainder of their stay in Ireland!


The set was a killer 90 minutes of hits and new material. Besides the aforementioned songs, I also really dug “Sweating Bullets” (THE DARK BLACK PAST IS MINE!), “Poison Was the Cure” (I love anything off of RUST IN PEACE, blistering fast!), “Post American World”, “Dystopia”, and of course the triple finale of “Symphony of Destruction” (never get tired of this one and it is more appropriate today than it was in 1992!), “Peace Sells” (extra venom in this one tonight from Dave!), and “Holy Wars”, which always ends with the band introduction. Overall a very crowd pleasing show that sounded even better than the March one, everyone went home happy. Megadeth’s still got plenty to say and plenty left in the tank. BECAUSE I DON’T SAY IT, DON’T MEAN I AIN’T THINKING IT. NEXT THING YOU KNOW, THEY’LL TAKE MY THOUGHTS AWAY!


  1. Hangar 18
  2. The Threat Is Real
  3. Tornado of Souls
  4. Wake Up Dead
  5. In My Darkest Hour
  6. Conquer or Die!
  7. Lying in State
  8. Poisonous Shadows
  9. Fatal Illusion
  10. She-Wolf
  11. Dawn Patrol
  12. Poison Was the Cure
  13. Sweating Bullets
  14. A Tout Le Monde
  15. Trust
  16. Post American World
  17. Dystopia
  18. Symphony of Destruction
  19. Peace Sells
  20. Holy Wars… The Punishment Due



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