"We didn't know what to expect we came here" (Dave)
Russia waited for so long. And finally it happened. July 6, 2001. There was already some info on the current playlist of the gigs that the band was playing during its European "The World Needs a Hero" tour. The information on the concerts and fans exclamations on the latter could have been found on the official Megadeth site. About two weeks before the show tickets were thrown out for sale. The floor cost about $13 which was quite nice especially compared to the Deftones show in Moscow a week before.
The show itself started at 8 p.m. at Luzhniki Ice Palace. That's quite a good place to have such a large-scale concert 'cause it turned out to be the best sound in Russia in closed-type venues (they say the last time Moscow experienced such a great sound was 1988 when Yngwie Malmsteen was there). There were a lot of rumors about the concert 'cause almost nobody could believe that Megadeth would come to Moscow. But everybody stopped losing their nerve cells when they saw posters with the Mighty Vic on the streets. Although Moscow does not have any Megadeth street team the posters could be seen in the half of the city. Tickets were on sale almost in every ticket office. There were even some mysterious VIP-seats tickets. They were much more expensive, but the idea itself of arranging VIP seats at a Megadeth concert (heavy metal gig) shocked me.
July 6, 2001. Morning. Very hot. And especially in the hearts and souls of those who had to wait only about 12 more hours to see their Gods. The situation started aggravating at about 5 p.m. Metalheads put on their Mega-T-Shirts (BTW I have never seen so many different ones - from all the years, from Killing… up to Risk and TWNAH) and moved to the underground/subway/metro. But as you all know metalheads need an extensive amount of "gasoline" (beer) for their "hairy carcasses" that's why many of them got themselves together to go in the concert hall about 20 minutes before the start. But many of the "wise" ones went into Luzhniki an hour before the concert to buy all the merchandising stuff they wanted without any possibility for being late for the show. The only merchandising stuff that was on sale that evening was short-sleeves/long-sleeves TWNAH T-shirts ($10/13) and CDs for overwhelming prices (they even brought CDs from Germany or may be Holland) with "MID-PRICE" sticker on it. And nevertheless they cost as if they were without any discounts. And frankly speaking yours truly was a bit disappointed because he knew that on all shows in Poland/Greece/Turkey much more stuff was on sale - baseball caps, Yellow T-shirts (like those that both Daves wear - $50 by the way) and a lot more.
7.30 p.m. The pit. Surprisingly only about 100-200 people there. Later someone said that right at that time a huge line emerged at the entrance of the sport's hall. Fans had already had their beer and decided to come in…and there were too many of them at the same moment. On the stage everybody could see a line of guitars - Dave's Jackson's (even a double-necked one) were among them. The back of the stage was covered with TWNAH cover-drape. What surprised many that evening was music playing before the show. We had everything there: Rammstein, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy. Well, AC/DC was understandable - they used to headline the first part of the tour, Thin Lizzy was also aired in Europe before the shows, but what got Rammstein to do with Megadeth?
8 p.m. …8.05 …Suddenly the lights went down and "Prince of Darkness" intro started playing. That was it. The intro faded away…and…and MEGADETH appeared on the stage. The dream came true. The first chords that broke the silence were "Dread and Fugitive Mind" and this blastful one rushed into "Kill the King" without giving the headbangers any time for rest. The song that not so many people know 'cause it was only on the "Capitol Punishment" compilation, but nevertheless the fans sang along. Dave looked very tired and malignant as usual. Then we all heard the first of very few utterances Dave produced that evening (I don't remember exactly, so don't blame me for that) "The next songs is from Peace Sells album" and air went ablaze with "Wake Up Dead". A feeling like being back in 1986 and there never was any "risky" stuff. Junior was in the aforementioned yellow T-shirt, playing his bass as a freak and from time to time changing places on stage with Al. As for the latter a lot of megafans were curious to see the new "Friedman" and find out if Dave had been right or not when taking Pitrelli into the gang. The concert showed that like Slayer once underwent painful Lambardo substitution with Bostaph and won by it, we saw the same thing here in Megadeth. Friedman was a technical madman who had his own style. Pitrelli of course has his own and he never thought of blind copying Marty. Al played his solos more open-heartedly, you know. He has a different approach and probably he understands he will be always compared to Marty. You can't escape it. As for Jimmy he was sitting and drumming, drumming and drumming J. He had air blowing into the face and it seemed like as if it was a long 2-hours video shooting.
Retelling the whole concert song-by-song would take ages to type it all down at least. Let's just underline the most remarkable parts of it. I always wondered how "Crush'em" sounds live without all these computerized additions. Very good and a bit different form the original. The audience sang along and especially the refrain. "She-wolf" surprised with extended and amazingly done additional soloing. Dave and Al were like one multi-guitar machine. They played letting each other "take the floor" to produce another "skull-crushing" solo. To play "Time: The Beginning" Dave took an acoustic guitar. It was surprisingly followed by "Use the Man". The climax of the show was when they played both "Hangars" split by "Silent Scorn" (taped). Dave looked especially angry playing "Sweating Bullets", but it should be like this, isn't it? They also played "1000 Times Goodbye" which was awesome. I wondered if they use female vocals but they replaced them with solos. Only after the show in a couple of days on Megadeth Message Boards it turned out that they played "1000" live for the first time in Moscow.
After they performed "Trust" (22nd song!) they went off the stage. But the fans didn't feel like going home. In several minutes Junior appeared on the stage playing a solo that turned out to be the beginning of "Symphony", one of the easiest songs in Mega-repertoire, but one of the vibiest, too. Then came "Peace Sells..". They went away for the second time…but again the crowd was shouting asking the band to come back. And they did. Dave was very wet (he spilt water onto himself) and looked a bit frustrated. He started playing with the crowd by picking chords asking the people to repeat after him. First he did it with the "right wing" then the "left" then the "center" and then showing "all together" he gave "birth" to "Holy Wars". It was like the last drop. Everyone in the whole hall could barely move let alone headbang. The music went off. "Thank you very much" produced Dave and left the stage breathless, having thrown several picks and black hand straps Lights were turned on. That was it. Surprisingly "Capitol Punishment Hidden Track Medley" started to go out of the speakers, but it was taped.
That was an excellent evening. 2 hours 15 minutes of living Megadeth.
Now let's draw the line in this long narration. The show will always remain stuck in our brains. As I already mentioned that was the best show many Russian fans (including me of course) ever experienced in their lives. Another interesting fact that left unrevealed - the audience consisted mostly of people over 18, there were a couple of hundreds of 40-over daddies who also bestially sang along and even headbanged, and that fact reminds of the aforementioned Slayer gig in Moscow.
The estimation says that the concert was attended by almost 2,750 people and that's both strange and disappointing (the Megadeth show in Portugal earlier this year was attended by 40,000 people). Megadeth do not visit this country every year (actually it was the first time in their 16-year history). But they say that such fans activity is quite understandable - a lot of people go to resort places and seasides at this time in Moscow.
P.S. Someone told us about a freak who came all the way from the US to attend the show… Now that's what I call patrotism ;)
Set-list in exact order:
(Prince Of Darkness intro)
1 Dread And The Fugitive Mind
2 Kill The King
3 Wake Up Dead
4 In My Darkest hour
5 Angry Again
8 Reckoning Day
9 Solo + Train Of Consequences
10 A tout le Monde
11 Time: The Beginning
12 Use The Man
13 Hangar 18
14 Silent Scorn
15 Return To Hangar
17 Moto Psycho
18 Tornado of Souls
19 Almost Honest
20 Sweating Bullets
21 1000 Times Goodbye
23 Symphony Of Destruction
24 Peace Sells
25 Holy Wars...The Punishment Due
26 Capitol Punishment Medley
--Felix Da Katt
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