Once the news spread that Motorhead was sitting out of Saturday night’s final installment of Gigantour 2012, you could feel the crowd deflate ever so slightly. Lemmy had come down with severe case of laryngitis, and his style of singing does not make it easy to work through. Though I could tell everyone was disappointed, that was not going to stop this crowd from attempting to show the Moody Theatre at ACL Live how we like to throw down when metal royalty hits the stage.
Having never been to this venue, I walked all around looking for the entrance, til I saw the line of black t-shirts and the cloud of smoke rising from the bottom of the stairs on 2nd Street, next to the W Hotel. Initially, I felt out of place at such a fancy-pants venue, but I soon realized Megadeth was an anomaly and a welcomed change to the usual Earth, Wind and Fire or Gladys Knight concert, which was there the night before.
Just as I had my “package” checked, Lacuna Coil was done playing, which was an unfortunate surprise, as I had not expected them to open the show, rather Volbeat instead. Somehow 20-year vets of hard rock with six major label albums and one that was just released had to take a back seat to a relatively new band better suited to wet the appetite for a Nickelback crowd.
That said, Volbeat does what they do well—I am just not a fan of what they do. Apparently, the split on Volbeat can be pinned down to gender. The ladies love this band from Denmark for some reason (nice haircuts I think). They bring the rock sound, crank it up a bit, but in the end just seemed to fall flat for many, and have yet to spawn a major hit so singing along was better left to the ladies signing for the hearing impaired.
That was not a misprint by the way, the most impressive thing I have seen in a while were the group of ladies using sign language and air guitar to enhance the experience for the hearing impaired. Probably the strangest thing I have ever seen, but since I have been listening to metal for 25 years, I better learn.
As the scrim rose and Megadeth poised to take the stage, all the fans gathered, wondering what the set list would be. Others looked it up on their smart phones, while others stumbled drunk toward the sweaty pit to start the ritual swaying and elbow party. When the unmistakable riffage began the melody to “Set the World Afire,” I was actually impressed with the choice.
As the set progressed with “Hangar 18,” “In My Darkest Hour” and “A Tout Le Monde” featuring Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, it became clear this was one of the best set choices I had seen from Megadeth in quite some time. Mixed with Dave Mustaine’s signature dry sense of humor and command of the audience, by the time the end was near they had hit the highlights everyone had wanted, ending their main set with “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells.”
Once the band had their fill of applause, they reappeared rather slowly, Mustaine giving some final thank yous on the last night of this tour, including Lemmy and Motorhead and then dove into a cover of Motorhead’s “No Class,” which was the cherry on top of Gigantour 2012. Their rousing rendition of “Holy Wars” sufficiently finished off the crowds expectations for one of metals all time greats.