At The Carling Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 20, 2008

Even before Megadeth hit the stage for their first-ever appearance in Newcastle, the 2000 strong crowd chanted along in tribal fashion to the chorus of Pantera’s “Walk,” creating a real stirring atmosphere and you could tell that they are really up for a serious evening of Metal from one of Thrash’s titans.

With a fairly basic stage set dwarfed by Shawn Drover’s huge cage-like drum kit, Megadeth hit the stage with “Sleepwalker”… then with “Wake Up Dead” and “Take No Prisoners” coming thick and fast with barely a chance to pause for a breath … and when they did Dave Mustaine looked visibly overwhelmed at the crowd reaction.

megadeth The fact that their latest album United Abominations is their best selling in years and has been met with almost universal critical acclaim is a testament that Mustaine has plenty of fire left within him. Understandably much of the setlist is slanted towards this opus featuring “Washington Is Next,” “Gears Of War” written for the computer game of the same name, and “Never Walk Alone.”

Although the sound during the night was a little muddy in places with Mustaine’s trademark snarl at times lost in the mix, the band was tight and precise and full of fire.

Megadeth may have changed over the years with only Mustaine present from the original incarnation of the band, however, few would doubt that the current line-up is as strong as prior one… after all, would Mustaine settle for a watered-down version of his creation?

megadeth James Lomenzo, bass player with one time Melodic Rockers White Lion, may have raised a few eyebrows with diehard fans, yet his aggressive and dexterous style and lively stage presence vindicates his place in the band.

Drummer Shawn Drover is a powerhouse of a drummer with a limitless supply of energy. Special mention must be made to the classically trained, former Nevermore six-stringer Chris Broderick who just made his live debut with the band on the first night of their European leg of the Gigantour in Helsinki on 4th February. 12 shows in and Broderick was riffing and shredding away, looking like he’d been in the band for years.

megadeth With the recent arrival of Broderick, it was necessary to tailor the set towards the more standard Megadeth material with a pummeling “Hangar 18” and riff frenzy “Tornado Of Souls” confirming that Megadeth in full flow is the musical equivalent of being whacked in the face with a sledgehammer.

Highlights of the show included an impassioned “A Tout Le Monde” without, unfortunately, a guest appearance from Cristina Scabbia; a pulsating “Symphony Of Destruction,” the evergreen “Peace Sells” and the show closer “Holy War,” which set the moshpit into a swirling frenzy.

For a time at the dawn of the new Millennium, it looked as though Megadeth were no more, but with a new line-up and a hugely successful album under their belts, you can be sure there’s a lot more to come from Mustaine and Co. in the future.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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