What a great show! I’m usually rather weary of concerts at larger venues like this, but I’m really glad I went. I didn’t get there in time to catch Anthrax, but I’m not a huge fan of theirs anyways so I wasn’t too upset about it. I was there for Megadeth and most of all Slayer. I hadn’t seen either of them play in several years. This tour, originally called Leg 2 of the American Carnage Tour was renamed the Jagermeister Music Tour and there were some random college girls walking around giving out Jagermeister merch, and Kerry King even did a shot of Jager on the stage between songs at one point. It was weird seeing product placement in the middle of a Slayer gig like that. The main draw to this tour though was that Megadeth was playing their classic 1990 album Rust In Peace from start to finish and Slayer would be playing their album Seasons In The Abyss, also from 1990, straight through also. It was in Baltimore, and I’d never been to the 1st Mariner Arena before, but I couldn’t miss that.
I was coming to the show after work, where a friend had met me. I had called the venue ahead of time and they told me Megadeth would be hitting the stage around 8pm and Slayer at 9:30 so I had a frame of reference on how to get there. There was a bit of traffic when I left around 6:45 and we were sweating making the gig on time. When we got to Baltimore we parked in a garage directly across from the venue and booked it inside. Just by sheer luck we had parked on the side that was general admittance tickets only, which is what we had. So we quickly got down there, realized Megadeth wasn’t playing yet and got beers. As soon as we walked back out onto the main floor the lights dimmed and the show started, you can’t plan timing that good! Megadeth started with the Rust In Peace album right out of the gate. Holy Wars… The Punishment Due was the first song but people weren’t getting into the show right away. A lot of heads kinda bobbing and fist pumping but I don’t think I even saw a mosh pit until half way through their set. Megadeth’s main man Dave Mustaine switched out guitars several times through the night, even pulling out some double neck flying V (does that make it a flying W?) guitar at one point. He also mentioned the problems with their last concert in Baltimore, the one where someone poured a drink on the mixing board three songs into their set so the show was canceled. More info on that fiasco here. He also called that venue, Rams Head Live, a piece of shit, which got people laughing a bit. They had the Rust In Peace album cover backdrop up while playing the songs from that album, but switched it to an image with Megadeth’s mascot Vic doing a sort of fist bump thing with background artwork from their latest album, Endgame. They also had a guy wearing a suit and a Vic mask with skeleton gloves come out on stage during Dawn Patrol, I suppose to distract people from the weakest song on Rust In Peace. One thing that sucked was Dave’s vocals during Megadeth’s entire set were shitty! They weren’t consistent at all and just sounded awful, which you can hear in the videos I posted below. I don’t think it was his voice as much as the PA not working correctly or something. The band seemed to be having a lot of fun up there and even did an encore. I always think it’s kind of odd when a band does that who isn’t the headliner. Especially since Slayer did not do the encore gimmick this show. Regardless, it was fun seeing Megadeth play some of those killer though less played songs on Rust In Peace like Five Magics and Poison Was The Cure. I didn’t see them last March when they came to the 9:30 Club playing the same album, so this was great. After they had played the album they played Head Crusher from their latest album in a mix of Megadeth classics like Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? People were really into the show by the time they finished and everyone knew the intensity was about to go up once Slayer hit the stage. Another odd thing, Dave said “God bless you” to the audience as he left the stage, which wouldn’t be that weird (we all know he’s become a born again Christian) except for the fact that fucking Slayer was up next.
A white curtain was dropped to hide the stage while Slayer set up. The crowd was in a state of anticipation when they started projecting the Slayer logo onto the curtain. I worked my way to the front as close to the center as I could get, ended up about 3 or 4 people back the entire show. I saw Slayer play Reign In Blood in 2003 at the now razed Nation so I figured I’d see them play Seasons In The Abyss too, since that album is also awesome. Maybe they’ll play Show No Mercy straight through for the next tour! I had assumed that Slayer would start their set with War Ensemble, the first song on Seasons In The Abyss, but they surprised me and played a couple songs off their latest album, World Painted Blood. The title track and Hate Worldwide are decent songs I guess, but that’s not what people were here for. Just as the crowd’s enthusiasm started to wane Slayer burst into War Ensemble and got the show really going. The audience instantly came to life and the pushing and shoving up front started and didn’t stop until the end of the show. I’d say War Ensemble is one of Slayer’s more “mosh friendly” songs, but really how many Slayer songs aren’t great for moshing to? For those who have not seen Slayer before, their mosh pits are intense! They have one of the most rabid fan bases in all of metal, which is really saying something. And let me tell you it’s not easy taking pictures or shooting video in the middle of all that! Hell, just keeping yourself relatively still while Slayer is 10 feet in front of you playing Raining Blood or Angel Of Death is not an easy task even if nobody else was there. But I’m no rookie to mosh pits, I love this shit. I did see a few kids getting pissed about all the pushing and elbows they were getting, but I mean it’s Slayer, what were you expecting people to be standing around staring blankly like it’s a fucking Fugazi concert? They actually had the security pull them out of the crowd to leave the front and avoid having to go back through the mosh pit. Those kids could not handle the Slayer! This was the first time I’d seen Slayer since Tom Araya had his neck surgery, after which he no longer head bangs. Kind of weird but not a huge deal, it did mean I could get more good pics of him throughout the show though. They played Seasons In The Abyss as advertised and again it was great hearing them play some of those awesome songs that never get played live from that album. Temptation really got people going crazy too, which I wasn’t really expecting. The sound seemed better for their set than the Megadeth show, though you can judge that for yourself with the videos below. They finished the set with just a few of their classics, South Of Heaven and the like. The only odd thing was after playing Raining Blood they immediately went into Aggressive Perfector, which is a bonus track from the Reign In Blood album. They didn’t do an encore and you could tell when the show rather abruptly ended after Angel Of Death the audience still wanted more. Some people started chanting Slayer for them to come back but really that wasn’t going to happen. I was covered in sweat and bruises but damn if that wasn’t a fun show. I really liked this venue too, they had an open setup and the fact they let me shoot video the entire time was great too. After the show someone told me that somebody had broken a leg or something in the pit, apparently toward stage left. I’m definitely glad I got the floor tickets instead of seats, the intensity of being up front at a Slayer show is second to none, though I’m glad I wasn’t the one with anything broken! Now check out the two Megadeth and six Slayer videos I shot last night that are posted below. Enjoy!