Last night Devastator and I went downtown for an evening of metal mayhem with Heaven and Hell, Megadeth, and Machine Head. My ears were still ringing this morning. Machine Head played a twenty-minute set of competent new-school metal, which really isn't my cup of tea. They were tight and actually had guitar solos, but their riffs were more lunkheaded than heavy or catchy, and the gutteral vocals were just plain silly. Oh well, the crowd seemed to like them.
Megadeth were awesome, playing a fierce mixture of old and new songs. The highlights for me were raging versions of Peace Sells and Holy Wars. The audience went apeshit, and Dave Mustaine seemed genuinely surprised and moved by such a rabid response. Many critics have always written Megadeth off as a "poor man's Metallica", but the fans know the real story: Megadeth have stayed true to their metal roots and have never released a steaming turd like St. Anger. Looks like Mustaine may have the last laugh after all.
The last time I saw Ronnie James Dio live was way back in 1985 on the Sacred Heart tour, so I was incredibly psyched to see him reunited with his Black Sabbath bandmates as Heaven and Hell. I was not disappointed, to say the least. Dio has not lost any of his vocal range, sounding just as powerful as he did two decades ago. He moves a little slower onstage these days, but even that works to his advantage, giving every movement a deliberate and confident swagger. The set list drew from the three Dio-era Sabbath albums and also included two new songs from the collection that Rhino Records put out last month. Amazing.
The only downer of the evening? The constant intrusion of beer and t-shirt vendors walking through the crowd hawking their wares during the show. Get the fuck out of my face--this is not a baseball game. If I want a shirt, I will go to the merch stand and buy one. To interrupt my enjoyment of the concert in such a manner is crass and disrespectful to both the audience and the performers, so please take your over-priced plastic beer bottle and stick it up your ass.