I realized that it’s been a long time since I wrote about my concert history, the last time I wrote anything was about my trip to Ozzfest ’04 featuring headliners Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath…with Rob Halford on vocals. Click here if you never read it:
But that left one more concert for that year and it was one I NEVER thought I’d see. Seriously. Never.
A year earlier, Thrash Metal pioneer Dave Mustaine, who had quit Megadeth – his own band – and retired from music over an arm injury, had announced he was coming out of retirement. He’d even gotten himself a brand new endorsement deal with ESP Guitars…which I’d wonder from time to time after that if that was yet another blatant attempt to feel validated by his ex Metallica bandmates, as James Hetfield had been endorsed by them since 1988 and by the way still is. He had announced plans to remix and remaster the entire Megadeth catalogue, which he had actually started in 2001 when he remixed and remastered the band’s 1985 debut Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good…which really did give the record a fresh pair of raw, drug addled BALLS. Dave also mentioned the idea of recording a solo record that while he’d never tour for, he’d probably perform a small handful of club shows. Or so he thought.
About a year later Mustaine started posting snippets of new recordings and to say the least, they did sound promising. Very promising. This was also following the news that he managed to get former Megadeth guitarist lead guitarist Chris Poland to play on this new record…which was now a Megadeth record by name only due to contractual obligations with his publishing company. Let’s speed this up: he teased us with the release of three songs that sounded fucking great. Later in the year he released The System Has Failed, featuring those three songs as the opening three tracks. After that it’s such a fucking shitfest. From a musician’s standpoint the guitar tones were so fucking WEAK due to Mustaine playing an old Marshall Plexi, which is NOT the appropriate amp to play his style of music to begin with. Second of all, I understood that this was recorded as a solo record before Mustaine was forced to make it a Megadeth record, so I expected to hear a musical departure of sorts. But this whole album minus the first three songs was just lame. Oh, and if you’re reading this and you happen to be one of the jackasses that proclaimed that The System Has Failed was the “best album since Rust In Peace!”, you should jump in front of an 18 wheeler yesterday. Thanks.
Around the time of the album’s release Dave appeared on Friday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk to discuss everything that was happening from the album’s release to his MAJOR fallout with co-founder/bassist David Ellefson to Ellefson, Marty Freidman and Nick Menza – the classic Rust In Peace lineup – all refusing to join him on this comeback tour. But when he gave Eddie the list of tour dates he said the New York City on November 10th was a possibility (he couldn’t remember for sure at the time) I knew to save the date. Yeah the “comeback” record was weak but this allegedly was going to be the last time Dave Mustaine went on the road under the Megadeth banner so I didn’t give a shit. I had worshiped this guy since high school and some of my own guitar technique were taken from him. There was NO WAY I was missing this.
Tickets were pretty cheap at $36 each so I bought tickets for the guys in my band at the time: Idrees and Chad (who never paid me back). Our newest addition to the band, our drummer Chris, met us there with his girlfriend Shari and her sister Marissa, who was actually the music director of my college radio station at the time, along with her boyfriend Vin. Marissa claimed to be a big Megadeth fan but as she’d admit to later on, she was nothing more than a poser. I loved her to death – and she also had a great pair of titties! – but don’t call yourself a big fan of ANY band if you only have two albums from that band.
We arrived at the now-defunct Roseland Ballroom, close to the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, looking so 80’s it was hilarious, myself wearing a leather jacket with my denim vest over it and leather gloves with my dog chain that I still have. I had already learned that I’d rather wear just a plain, black shirt instead of any band shirt in order to avoid random losers interrogating me on love of said band and telling me stories I could honestly give two shits about. As we all walked in, the opening band, Exodus were playing. This was weird to see only because they had JUST released a new album, Tempo Of The Damned, only for longtime vocalist Steve “Zetro” Sousa to quit shortly after. So who was singing for him? Steev from Skinlab…who was doing way too much to try to look like Phil Anselmo circa 1996, between the undershave haircut (Idrees called it the Vagina Haircut), the leather cuffs, the short sleeve flannel shirt, the green cargo shorts and his tendency to always bend down to scream…which by the way Phil stole from Henry Rollins.
In between bands, as Megadeth were next, Idrees was approached by this muscular, 16 year old kid with glasses, who apparently met him in a pit during an Overkill show at the also now-defunct B.B. King’s. After they shared a few words the boy turned to me and said he knew me too. I was very confused; between his physique and the glasses I was sure he had to have mistaken me for someone else, until he reminded me that he met me at my former music store were I was still taking lessons at the time, and that he had approached me when he heard me playing the Megadeth song “Sweating Bullets” on an acoustic guitar. That was two years earlier and I had not seen him in that long a time so the fact that he remembered me was impressive. Nonetheless we were both stoked to see each other. We’d wind up hanging out together almost frequently for the next four years after this night but that almost didn’t happen and here’s why!
The lights went out, the crowds lost their shit as Ice T’s “Shut Up, Be Happy” began blaring through the speakers…
One by one, the current touring lineup Mustaine put together for this tour start to walk out on stage: drummer Shawn Drover, ex-Iced Earth bassist James MacDonough, guitarist Glen Drover. There’s wall of sick looking Marshall cabinets on the stage with a drum kit that looks a LOT like something Nick Menza would’ve played. After a minute of two…you could hear the sounds of another guitar playing the beginning of “Set The World Afire” from 1988’s So Far, So Good…So What!. That’s when Dave Mustaine finally walked out on stage, chugging away on his guitar. At that moment I felt a foot come out of nowhere, kicking me right in the fucking nose, making me bleed. Then the entire crowd were to become one gigantic mosh pit, meaning Rob and I, as quickly as we were reunited, were being forcefully pushed apart. We tried to grab on to each other but this crowd was understandably way too violent to try and overcome unless I really wanted broken bones to go with the bloody nose.
The band pulled out the classics on after another, starting with “Afire” and kicking right into “Skin ‘O’ My Teeth” into “Wake Up Dead”, which is when shit REALLY got out of hand. Then again, if you know ANYTHING about Megadeth I shouldn’t have to tell you that “Wake Up Dead” is essentially that one song meant just for moshing once the band gets into that middle riff after Dave’s first solo. And that was immediately followed by “In My Darkest Hour”. The band were really able to hold there own, although I always thought Shawn Drover was the least dynamic drummer in Megadeth’s entire history. Mustaine, however was surprising. He’d retired because he couldn’t even move his arm thanks to this bizarre injury he acquired and more than two years later he’s absolutely ripping it up as if nothing happened to him! It honestly made me and probably a few others rather suspicious as to the actual severity of his injury. But that’s a story for another time.
Here’s the setlist:
Set The World Afire
Skin ‘O’ My Teeth
Wake Up Dead
In My Darkest Hour
Something That I’m Not
Of Mice And Men
A Tout Le Monde
Die Dead Enough
Tornado Of Souls
Kick The Chair
Symphony Of Destruction
Back In The Day (featuring Exodus near the end of the song)
Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?
Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
At the end of the set, and after the band walked off the stage, Dave Mustaine walked back on for second. “Thank you…for believing in me!”, he yelled out, before walking off for good. As I said earlier, this was allegedly going to be the last time he toured not just under the Megadeth banner, but at all. This would go on for another several months, and on to his first ever attempt at a festival gig, which I did go to. But that’s for another article.
I no longer remember much about what happened after I left the building with my band, but I can only assume I bumped into Rob again and I’m sure we had to have finally exchanges numbers, either outside the building or on the ferry heading home. He’d tag along with Idrees and I to see Megadeth in New Jersey two years later. What I do remember, however, was driving not home, but to my Dad’s house after I was dropped off by ferry. It was almost 2am; I knew that it’d be way easier to sleep there than home, where my jackass brother and mother were most likely fighting even that late at night. I totally skipped my Astronomy class the following afternoon, having woken up around the time the class had just started, I think. No regerts. None. But my radio show was that afternoon so I did have to head to campus whether I like it or not. The show’s opener that afternoon?
I’m on social media these days more than I am on here writing articles because I’m super busy. Hopefully that’ll change soon. Here’s where to follow me: