The crowd at the Megadeth/Slayer double-bill was mostly male unshaven tattooed sorts, so I fit right in. The few women around were wearing the latest-and-greatest fashions from Biker's Moll Weekly. Apparently black was this season's black.
The opening act (Double Dragon) did a workmanship job of warming the crowd up. Leading them on several drum-driven chants of MEGADETH! and SLAYER!!
Then came Megadeth, or as they are more rightly known, Dave Mustaine and three other guys. While Dave has a vocal capacity that spans the full range from A to B, he uses it with precision and devastating efficiency. Just like the Pied Piper, he led the crowd into a passionate pit. Peace may sell, but they crowd wasn't buying that. They were however eagerly lapping up all that he put out to tender. By the time Megadeth finished their scorcher of a set, the front of stage was a holy war indeed.
Slayer came on and the concert unfortunately descended into a true season in the abyss. The first song had sparing vocals but was the hardest wall of metal I have ever had the privelage to be assaulted by. Wrapping the crowd up in it's muscular arms just as one of guitart Kerry King's beloved pythons coils around a prey item. The drummer was hitting the frenetic pace that can only be fueled by enough red bull to give an elephant's heart a stop. After the first song, Tom Araya motioned for the crowd to be quiet and then informed everyone that his voice was shot and that there wasn't going to be much singing. The band then launched into a series of instrumentals. Not Spinal-Tapian free-form jazz, but rather something much heavier. However, in the absence of vocals, the pace could not be sustained and the band flagged.
The rapport with the crowd was also lost when there were complete blackouts between songs lasting a minute or longer as roadies wandered around with flashlights, perhaps looking for Tom's voice. Kerry may be able to sing as well as play guitar, but unlike walking and chewing gum, he can't do them at the same time. So the band brought on random people from backstage to sing. They did it in good spirit and while the crowd were positive about the attempt, none of them had the power of Tom in full-flight, when he has the voice of two mortals. The filler-attempt reminded me too-much of the movie Rock Star. I half expected one of the walk-ons to launch into a spirirted rendition of 'Stand up and shout' including the sustained vocal note. Slayer finished their set abruptly and without the obligatory encore.
One hopes Tom's voice hits its former glory and that this is not a harbinger of the tour to come. The show is worth going to for Megadeth alone though. Perhaps it should be re-billed as MegaDave!