Slayer, Megadeth and Testament, LIVE

Monday night I went to see Testament, Megadeth and Slayer, at the Sandstone Ampitheater right outside Kansas City. Tickets for this show were more than I would usually pay, but the prospect of hearing “Rust In Peace” from start to finish was too tempting to pass up.

Before arriving, I was wondering what the crowd would look like. Would everyone be old (like me), or would there be a good mix? Well, there were a few youngsters there, but I’d say 90% were 40+ . I think this was the first time I saw vehicles with car seats in the back at a metal show.

All the tickets to this show were one price, and all were “General Admission”. Usually general admission means you have to stake a spot out on the lawn behind the seats in front. However, they had apparently removed the first 15 or so rows of seats to create a giant standing-only area in front of the stage, and the rest of the seats were first come first serve. I arrived about 45 min early and was able to snag some amazing seats, front and center.

Onto the show. Testament opened up, and I was hoping that since Testament is such an accomplished band, they would get a little more playing time than your typical opening act. No so much. However, this bit of bad luck actually turned into good luck since Testament sounded like garbage. Granted, part of it was the sound guy (who must have fallen asleep) muddying the guitars beyond all recognition, but Chuck Billy’s voice was also to blame. The dude sounded like he took a cheese grater to his larynx before going on stage. Paul Bostaph was their only saving grace. He killed it on the drums, which turned out to be a theme repeated throughout the show. Finally, Testament did themselves no favors by playing more songs from later albums than from their first three. Away with you, Testament, you have failed me for the last time.

Megadeth came on next, and all was right with the world. Before I get into Megadeth’s set, let me first say that I experienced a moment that night that I am not proud of. I’ll preface this tangent with the fact that a metal show in Kansas is jam packed full of two things: nerds and rednecks (or some combination of the two). Most of them super nice and happy to be there, and some sunburned jackasses that just want to hurt people in the mosh pit. The dude that sat down in the seat in front of me before Megadeth went on did not fit into either of the aforementioned categories, and was therefore immediately deemed suspicious by myself. This guy looked like he came out of a dance club: designer wraparound sunglasses, pencil-thin chin strap beard, some sort of beret, and an Armani t-shirt. Add in a cute, trendy girlfriend wearing a knit top and holding a clutch purse (!) and an entourage of similarly-dressed buddies, and color me confused. I immediately got defensive, thinking this guy and his friends are some friends of the promoter, and they got in for free, and thought it would be funny to come in and laugh at the dirty heshers. Well, I was wrong. Three songs into Megadeth’s set, and Mr. Club Kid knows all the words and is playing air drums and air guitar the whole time just like me. So, sorry I judged you, dude. You’re all right.

As I mentioned, Megadeth made everything right. The sound mix was perfect, and talent oozed out of every member of the band. The drummer they have on this tour – Shawn Drover – was incredible. Honestly, I was in awe the entire set. To see a band play so tight, so powerfully, and play one of your favorite albums of all time? Totally worth the money. It’s hard to pick a favorite song from the set, but “Holy Wars…” would have to be it. Dave Mustaine is an incredible talent, and got me thinking…how many lead guitarists sing vocals, too? Clearly, Dave values his guitar chops over his vocals when onstage, but I think it’s a worthy sacrifice.

Slayer rounded out the night, and I was hoping they could match the impressive show that Megadeth just put on. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Slayer was clearly having an off night. Jeff Hanneman’s guitar was lost in a poor sound mix – it was Kerry King or nothing. Jeff was clearly frustrated the whole set. He changed guitars three times in the first two songs, once in the middle of a song. Sometimes being louder than the band before you doesn’t always work in your favor. That said, sometimes Slayer got by on pure sonic fury. Thanks to the unparalleled skill of drummer Dave Lombardo, the set had many satisfying moments, including “War Ensemble”, “Spirit in Black”, and “Born of Fire”.

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~ by mikehill25 on August 25, 2010.

One Response to “Slayer, Megadeth and Testament, LIVE”

  1. I went to the same show in Detroit, and I feel exactly as you did. Though Slayer was a bit lackluster compared to what I was expecting.

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