Megadeth took no prisoners as the heavy metal pioneers battered the eardrums of the Knitting Factory’s sold out crowd Tuesday. The band proved its relevance and the timelessness of its songs by slaying through one of the its most critically acclaimed releases — 1990s “Rust in Peace.”
The night got off to an exciting start as 1,000 metal-heads were forced to evacuate the venue while fire alarms went off. The alarms, however, rang false as roughly 25 minutes later the anxious crowd squeezed back into the venue. Co-headlining Oakland thrash metal band Testament enlivened the crowd with an energetic performance.
Just after 10 p.m., the house lights dimmed, indicating the beginning of Megadeth’s set. Drummer Shawn Drover popped up from behind his enormous drum kit and the rest of the band sauntered onto the stage.
The quartet kicked off the evening with “Set The World Afire” from the album “So Far, So Good…So What!”
Four songs into the set, Megadeth launched into the guitar introduction to “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due,” the opening track from “Rust in Peace.”
“I want to give fans a snapshot of 1990 or 1991 all over again. They’ve seen these pictures of us from back in those days….Of course a lot of fans might not have even been born back then,” Megadeath bass player David Ellefson said.
Two types of fans rocked out at the concert. First, there were the fans who probably appreciated “Hanger 18” as it originally appeared as the second track on “Rust in Peace.” Then, often seen moshing in front of the stage, there were the younger folks possibly more familiar with Guitar Hero 2′s version of “Hanger 18.”
Regardless of age, the attendees reveled in guitar dueling between Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick.
Returning to the band from an 8-year-hiatus, Ellefson is glad to be back on the road.
“I think a little absence makes the heart grow fonder on all sides — which is good…It’s a good time to be in Megadeth,” he said.
The Grammy nominated, Platinum selling rockers don’t mind playing more intimate venues like the Knitting Factory.
“Doing something like this ‘Rust in Peace’ tour, it’s cool to to play a smaller venue. The music is very intricate,” said Ellefson. “There’s a lot of little nuances to it that I think in a big place might get lost.”
The three weeks before the tour that Megadeth spent rehearsing these nuances led to performances very close to the original recordings. The note-for-note guitar solo replication on songs like “Five Magics” and “Lucretia” particularly impressed.
Upon playing “Rust in Peace … Polaris,” the aforementioned album’s closing track, the band powered through fan favorites “Trust” and “Symphony of Destruction.” Megadeth gave the crowd a final taste of 1990 by running through the outro to “Holy Wars” before exiting the stage.
Ellefson hopes Megadeth’s current performances create a sense of nostalgia for their fans.
“For them (the fans) to come to the show tonight would be a way to kind of relive that moment in time,” he said.