Gigantour, 9/24/2006

It was a dark and stormy night…. Er, wait. It was a cold and stormy night…. Nah, that’s not right either. It was a cold and windy night… Now we’re cookin. It was certainly cold and windy, but I didn’t care much since four of my favorite bands were going to share the same stage. I went with a few guys from work, Gene and Nick, and their buddy Aaron. We all made the pilgrimage to Pine Knob, one of my favorite spots to check out a show.

The four lesser-known bands that opened the show were all decent-to-good, the best being Overkill. They’ve been around for a long time from what I gather, and easily had the largest following of the opening four. They brought an old-school metal sound into the mix, with a lot of New York attitude. A huge sod fight also broke out on the lawn during their set. I can’t remember if it was as spectacular as the one that took place during the Jerry Cantrell/Metallica show I saw at the Knob in ’98, but it was a sight nonetheless. It also got old pretty quickly, but the teenager types thought it was a riot to pelt the people further down the hill with tufts of sod. I didn’t think it was all that fun, but I remembering having a lot better time back in the day when I was the one throwing the grass. I guess grass-throwing loses its appeal with age.

Arch Enemy was the first of the larger bands to play. With eight bands playing, even the bigger bands had pretty abbreviated sets. AE probably played a good 45 minutes I would imagine. They played a good mix of songs, and the crowd was enjoying it, mostly because of Angela Gossow, their singer. Yep, she’s hot. And her vocals would scare small children. Both are good qualities for a woman fronting a metal band. Given that they could only play for 45 minutes, they made the best of it. Definitely a good showing. Grade: A

Opeth was up next. They were the band I wanted to see most, by far. I had seen the other three big bands there at least once, but I hadn’t seen Opeth yet. They made the most of their 45 minutes as well… by playing four songs. Opeth songs tend to be quite long, to say the least. They opened up with “Ghost of Perdition,” followed by “Windowpane,” “The Leper Affinity,” and “Deliverance.” It was a pretty good mix considering the curcumstances, but I really wish they had another fifteen minutes so they could have fit another song in there. Hearing something like “Blackwater Park” or “Serenity Painted Death” probably would have forced an accident in my pants. I was cracking up a decent amount during their set though. There were quite a few people there that knew Opeth and their style, but there were also a bunch that didn’t. They were easily identified by the “WTF?” looks on their face whenever Opeth would drop into a clean section of a song, or pretty much through all of “Windowpane.” These sections don’t exactly fit in a stereotypical metal show. I don’t care though – Opeth rules. The only bad thing about their set is that one of the guitars was barely audible, which made the songs sound pretty funny in places. Grade: A-

Lamb of God occupied the next-to-last slot, and because of it, they had a longer set, probably on the order of an hour and a half. They’re a force to be reckoned with nowadays, and it was evident as soon as they came out. They showed up Slayer when I saw them together a few months back, and they were aiming to claim this show as their own as well. They easily had the tightest and most well-mixed sound of all the bands that played, and they weren’t taking prisoners either. They played quite a few older songs, including my personal Lamb of God favorite, “Vigil.” They also played a good three or four songs off the new album “Sacrament.” They were on throughout their whole set, and the crowd was loving it. They definitely achieved their goals and stole the show. Grade: A

Gigantour is Dave Mustaine’s baby, so it’s natural that Megadeth headlined the show. This was my fifth time seeing Megadeth, but sadly, it was probably the worst show I saw them put on. I’m not sure why, but Dave Mustaine just wasn’t on. He seemed visibly agitated for the first couple songs, walking off to the sides of the stage to talk to stage hands between songs and during long instrumental breaks. It may have been due to time restrictions, because he made a point of announcing that they had to rush through their set due to the hard kurfew present at Pine Knob. In any case, he just wasn’t on his game. His vocals were pretty weak through most of the songs. He sings with a few distinct styles, and it didn’t seem like he was hitting any of them. The mix was also really bad. The vocals and drums were noticiably quiet, while the guitars were way too loud. I like loud guitars as much as the next guy, but they shouldn’t drown out the rest of the band. The set list was pretty strong, and they played a new song off the album they’re releasing next year. It sounded pretty good. Not “Rust In Peace”-era Megadeth good, but good nonetheless. Grade: B

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