The Return Of GOD: Megadeth – Live At Roseland Ballroom November 10th 2004

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:

https://metalheadconfessions.com/2016/06/30/possibly-the-best-ozzfest-lineup-ever-ozzfest-2004-august-26th-2004/

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 was 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 because he’s scumbag piece of shit).  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 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

Angry Again

Of Mice And Men

Reckoning Day

A Tout Le Monde

Die Dead Enough

Tornado Of Souls

Kick The Chair

Hangar 18

Sweating Bullets

Symphony Of Destruction

Back In The Day (featuring Exodus near the end of the song)

Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?

Encore:

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:

https://www.facebook.com/confessionsofanangrymetalhead

https://www.instagram.com/confessionsofanangrymetalhead/

https://confessionsofanangrymetalhead.tumblr.com/

The Rock Carnival…And The Biggest Parking Lot Fuckjob Ever.

This past Saturday my girlfriend and I went to Day 2 of the three day Rock Carnival put together by WDHA and WRAT at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, NJ.  I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go to this because the only bands I’d give a shit about at all were King’s X, Sevendust and especially Black Label Society, hell, Anthrax wouldn’t be playing until the next day and the lineup for that day was shit compared to what we saw the day we went; but Courtenay REALLY wanted to see King’s X and she REALLLYYYYY wanted to see all the food trucks.  So we went.

It was a nice day out, especially with it being the last day of summer.  First off – I call absolute BULLSHIT on having to pay $20 to park on the field for the day.  Second, it looked real nice when we got there; they had a ferris wheel, four stages tents everywhere, a beer garden and of course, food trucks.  But the set up was so fucked up and unorganized.  We felt like we had to go through a fucking maze to go from one stage to another, or from the beer garden back to the one of the two main stages.  Fucking stupid!

The first band that was on when we arrived was this shit emocore band called Bad Case For Big Mouth.  Someone should tell them the they a real bad case of playing some really shitty music.  I also think anyone with whinny vocals should just chop their balls off.  Hell…whoever the first fuckface was who decided it was ok to whine like a bitch should just fucking go and kill himself now – you reading this Morrissey????  So after seeing that shit we ditched their asses immediately to check out the rest of the carnival.

While walking around we saw a tent.  The closer we got I remember seeing that Game Changer Wrestling was on the bill.  The closer we got after that I noticed someone a little too familiar to me.  Yeah…it was Jaka…

Jaka

My little backstory with him is something I’ll get into another time.  The important thing is if I saw him I knew before he even told me that was definitely going to see this guy…

chris dickinson

Chris Dickinson…wrestler turned drummer turned wrestler again.  I actually played guitar in his very first band but that was about eleven years ago now.  Around the time he had gone back to wrestling he and Jaka were feuding but now they’re part of Team Pazuzu and the two of them will actually be wrestling The Steiner Brothers in Manville, NJ on October 16th.  Anyway, I decided to stick around to see Chris wrestle since I hadn’t since I was a ring announcer in a no holds barred match he had against Jaka six years ago.

Here’s the match:

I caught him for a few minutes after the match ended before he and the rest of Team Pazuzu had to drive off to Connecticut for another match that night.  So we walked around a bit more until 5pm when Skid Row were about to go on.  I personally could give two flying fucks about them without Sebastian Bach but Courtenay was curious to see what they sounded like with their brand new singer Tony Harnell, who sadly used to sing for TNT.  New Jersey is the band’s home town so the old school crowd that probably saw them in bars turned up for this shit.  They were not that bad but dude…their singer was in TNT.  Done.  Over.

After they got off they were setting up for Sevendust while methhead led Puddle of Mudd were on the other stage – I’m surprised Wes Scantlin even made it out to the gig without getting arrested again!  Too bad you still sucked ass.  Courtenay, being a towering 5 ft wanted to get as close to the stage as she could before anyone showed up or she knew she wouldn’t be able to see Sevendust, since she could barely see Skid Row; so there we were, standing there, subjecting ourselves to Puddle of Shit until Sevendust were to come on.  The most entertaining part of the wait was the way the crowd cheered as Skid Row’s banner was being brought down.  Puddle of Meth took FOREVER to finished their lame as fuck set.  Of their entire catalog most people only know of one shitty CD and they just dragged it out to death.

Then…a REAL band came on:

Lajon Witherspoon?  Corey Glover on steroids.  The guy is still a BEAST on the mic, one of the best singers of my generation, criminally underrated.  Morgan Rose…I want his drum kit…now.  I lost my way with Sevendust for a long time and it’s not their fault.  Starting with their 1997 debut – which I have on cassette – they were pretty much lumped in with the nu-metal movement, most likely because of their grooves but in reality they thankfully are nothing like that.  Sometime in between songs Lajon decided to talk about how he’ll always be the guy that talks to all the fans and how grateful the band are to us because they’d be doomed without us.  When I hear people say things like that I automatically assume they’re just full of shit.  Or was he?

After Sevendust finished up I immediately took Courtenay by the hand and rushed us to the other main stage to see Black Label Society.  This was going to be the seventh time I saw them and I wasn’t going to miss shit.  Zakk Wylde is GOD.  There was no one else that night that could play worth a shit compared to Zakk Fucking Wylde, not Slash, not the Skid Row guys, not even Ty Tabor – no one.  The band’s set were intense as usual, hell, ever since he got sober the band’s shows have been like religious experiences and this was no exception.

Here are the first two songs:

Considering each band had just fifty minutes to play I found it amusing that Zakk managed to fit a brief solo section into the set. “Now this is just meedly meedly stuff”, said Courtenay.  Me?  It’s the best meedly meedly you can get here.  After we finished watching Zakk pound his chest like Captain Caveman we relaxed a bit before we walked over to the “Birch Hill” stage to see King’s X.  No way we were seeing Stephen Pearcy.  Fuck him.  Fuck him and every single washed up glam rock asshole that was there.  But while hanging around I noticed a tent with a bunch of middle aged metalheads raffling off bass drum heads signed by 80’s thrash bands as well as selling some nice rarities.  Oh shit is the Old Bridge Metal Militia really back from the dead as a result of mid life crisis?  I think so!  But I have to admit, it was nice to see them out.  No, I didn’t talk to them.  I wasn’t even born yet when they were giving Metallica a home when they came to Old Bridge from California.  What was I going to say to them??

IMG_20150919_202941288 IMG_20150919_202916867 IMG_20150919_202156689

They even made an attempt at being slightly relevant by making a webpage.  Aaawwww!  Check them out at http://www.oldbridgemetalmilitia.com

After Ratt’s washed up ex singer finally shut the fuck up we walked to the stage.  That’s when I noticed dUg’s bass cabinets and had a real bad Beavis and butthead moment:

IMG_20150919_211237651

Huh huh, hey Beavis, look at the letters on his amps, huh huh.

This was going to be my first time seeing King’s X, what an honor…just too bad Eddie Trunk had to announce them on stage.  Ok we get it, you were there for everything that happened…a million years ago.  I used to love listening to him but he caters way too much to his age group.  The band came on…dUg Pinnick looks really good with a goatee, makes him look a lot younger than 65…it’s good to see Jerry Gaskill still doing this after enduring two heart attacks and the loss of his home to Hurricane Sandy.  Ty Tabor is an incredible guitarist and he showed his ability to keep up with dUg and Jerry during some long jams.

As I was filming their set Courtenay pointed out to me the back of someone’s dreadlocked head.  “Lordy lordy!!!” he yelled out with a big excited smile as he was talking with other people during the show.  It was Lajon Witherspoon; I thought he was just bragging for the sake of image when he spoke about his love for the fans and not being afraid to go out to the crowd but there he was in the flesh.  In fact he was standing right next to me at one point and when I said the band were amazing he talked to me about them.  Wow.  After King’s X ended their AMAZING set I approached Lajon, told him I’d be honored to take a picture with him and Courtenay.  “Let’s do it!” was his immediate response.  Amazing guy, very down to earth, more people should be like Lajon Witherspoon.

IMG_20150919_215338669

Then there’s that parking lot bullshit.  We tried to leave after our selfie with Lajon but it wasn’t happening.  In fact there was a line that just didn’t move.  At one point Courtenay just parked her car all over again to save gas because we were going nowhere.  People were increasingly enraged, drunk, both.  So I walked to the nearest parking lot attendant and asked him what the fuck was happening.  “None of this would be happening if the police just listened to us.” was his answer so I realized that the police were directing traffic JUST one way.  This was absolutely disgraceful.  It was over two hours before we finally got the fuck out of there.  Hell, my friend Maureen from Brooklyn said fuck it and took car service back to her hotel and left her car in the lot just to avoid the bullshit.  I also know there were a lot of complaints the next day and I also know that I’m not going back until WDHA and the Clark Police Department figured out how to safely organize and run an event like this.

The show was nice…just really fucking disorganized from start to finish.

My First Metal Concert

This just popped in my head a little bit ago…maybe because Phil’s bringing this band back out on the road again, but only as Superjoint for “legal reasons”, whatever the fuck that means.  In early 2003 I was finishing up my first year of college and was anxiously waiting for Phil Anselmo to stop with the multiple side projects and get with Pantera again.  So one day before I finished for the semester I met this guy Hussein, who I’m still buddies with.  I don’t remember how it came about but we got to talking about Pantera and he mentioned that Superjoint Ritual, Phil’s Black Flag-meets-Black Sabbath hardcore side project, was going to be playing L’Amour in Brooklyn in a week and opening up for them would be Sepultura. Whoa wait a sec.  Superjoint Ritual?  Phil Anselmo?  Sepultura?  Playing…in Brooklyn??  Playing …in THIS place??? imgres I figured for sure Phil Anselmo was too big of a name for a place like L’Amour, I don’t give a fuck how many bands played there.  Hell my first two gigs ever were at L’Amour and I vowed to never played there again because the faggot ass guineas running the place didn’t know how to talk to people.  But I realized I had to go.  It was Superjoint – it was fucking Phil Anselmo, who at that time still had it as a vocalist, and sadly it was as close to seeing Pantera as I’d ever get, partially because Phil wouldn’t shut the fuck up but that’s another story…kind of. May 20th, 2003.  It was perfect, I wasn’t scheduled for work that day and all I had to do was hand a final paper to my English professor and I was a free man.  While on campus I couldn’t help but go on a computer and check out Pantera’s website.  It read “May 20th 2003: Phil says Pantera is over.”  I click on it and there was a link to an audio clip were Phil explained his logic that he wanted to do another Down record, his label wanted another Pantera record and therefore his “obvious choice”, as he put it, was to stick with Superjoint Ritual.  Don’t get me wrong, Use Once And Destroy was a fucking AMAZING CD, but that’s his ‘obvious choice”??  Why didn’t I realize he was far from sober the whole time? So I took car service all the way to 63rd St in Brooklyn, which I swear is like this magical hidden block that you can’t know about unless you know what to look for because I never knew of or saw the place until two years earlier.  I got there real early anticipating a line but thee wasn’t.  But I did see a Ryder moving truck with Sepultura’s gear in it and realized Igor Cavalera was hanging out in front of the building while the crew was unloading the band’s gear. These days I have no problem going up to musicians but this was the first time I ever saw someone like Igor in the flesh and I just fucking froze.  I didn’t know what to say, do, nothing.  It got worse when Andreas Kisser came out.  I did try to talk to the road crew, offering to help them unload.  They were cool but they nicely declined.  Fuck! I was there for a few hours before I decided maybe I should get on line.  Problem?  I didn’t have tickets; but that all changed when I ran into an old friend whose band, Dieverse, was one of the local bands opening up the show.  So one of his fat goth chick friends sold me a ticket while (I think) subtly offering to blow me – not happening sweetheart!  I was one of the first on line when Superjoint’s bus came around and the band walked out.  Considering all things Phil looked pretty normal as he high fived me. I walked in there and was surprised to see that since I last played there in October 2001 they had built a brand new stage in the back, which meant there now were two stages.  I thought this was pretty genius since L’Amour was notorious for overloading the bills with local bands up the ass.  I would know – my old band suffered for it twice.  So while seeing the first main band, this really shitty hardcore band called Full Blown Chaos – wow they sucked so bad! – I found myself talking to some older woman who was standing next to me.  She was a real cool chick and I found myself asking her were she lived and when she said the village (Greenwich Village for those of you dopes unfamiliar with lower Manhattan) I for whatever reason said “I figured so”.  She asked me nicely how I figured that and I couldn’t think of a good answer even though I totally didn’t mean it as an insult.  I must’ve meant the fact that she came off as such a free spirit but didn’t know how to say it like such at the time, and being just days away from turning 19 what the fuck did I know anyway?  “I’m getting another beer, I’ll be right back”, she said.  Guess if she ever came back.  Oops!  Yeah, I was a dope.  Lesson learned! So Sepultura came out next and they fucking SLAYED.  Igor’s drum kit is something else but whatever.  The man is one of the greatest metal drummers of all time, a pure machine.  Andreas Kisser’s tone was heavy as fuck as they played stuff off classics like Roots and Chaos A.D.  During “Roots Bloody Roots” the place came apart for a bit.  There was no way they’d be able to steal Superjoint’s thunder – even with Paolo Pinto’s bass sounding like a 747 taking off. So Eddie Trunk came out to introduce Superjoint and I had just discovered him not too long before this night but he was every bit as fat as I imagined he would be just from listening to him as he showed off his vast, useless musical knowledge.  The only thing he was missing as far as I was concerned as was a pair of nerdy Steve Urkel glasses and suspenders!  The band came out and the place came apart for real this time.  I wish I could find footage of the show but I can’t.  There was this one guy with these nasty looking dreads standing in front of us who just had to keep his middle finger out in the air while yelling out “FUCK YOU ALL!!!” over and over again.  The guy standing next to me was jokingly putting his lighter to the guy’s head – I wish he lit that asshole up! Some memorable parts of the show include a girl jumping on stage to grab Phil’s nuts and hand him a joint, in which Phil responded in kind: “Thanks for the joint – thanks for grabbin’ my balls!”, as security took the girl away.  There was the part were some dude jumped of the stage head first and no one caught him.  Yeah, cringe moment for me and the dudes I now was hanging with.  Then Phil said the one thing some of us predicted he’d say. In a pure drama queen moment he put his left palm out to the crowd, closed his eyes and proclaimed “It feels…SO GOOD…to be only two inches in front of you.  I’ve been on all the world’s biggest stages – I’VE BEEN ON ‘EM ALL!  But this is where I belong…and this is where I’m stayin’.”, he said as he backed up toward Joe Fazzio’s drums for the next song.  “Who called it?”, someone yelled out. Aside from that the band destroyed the place for real.  Just one issue…how the fuck do I get car service to take me home??  I found a number for car service then I heard someone say “I know you from Psychology class”.  Anna Lopez??  Thank Satan you’re here!  And there was my ride home.  The next concert I went to two months later was far bigger but this was Phil Anselmo and this was also to be the second to last time I’d ever go to the original L’Amour; the place closed down eight months later.  If any of you reading this were at the show at all drop me a line and tell me about your view of the show.  Let me know if I forgot to mention anything.