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Artist: Megadeth
Venue: The Mid-Hudson Civic Center - Poughkeepsie, NY
Opener: Dream Theater
Date: 8/21/2005


When I was offered the opportunity to cover the “Gigantour” it was a goal of mine to try and do this in a venue that I had never been to previously. Of course The Jones Beach Amphitheatre or the PNC Arts Center would have been an easier commute and travel but this is Metal and raising the bar a notch is what I am all about. I opted for the performance that would be held at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie NY. As many Metal heads know by now the “Gigantour” is the brainchild of Megadeth’s mastermind Dave Mustaine. The show is colossal and features a number of varied and very interesting Metal acts. The roster for the show I would attend would be as follows: Bobaflex, Drykill Logic, Symphony X, Nevermore, Life Of Agony, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Fear Factory, Dream Theater and of course Megadeth. Not as numerous in line-ups as the Ozzfest, but in all honesty I prefer a festival to not be overblown either. It loses some of its appeal if there is too much going on and makes it very difficult to report on.

Before arriving we had heard that both Bobaflex and Drykill Logic would not be performing yet in the parking lot we saw a Bobaflex van and inside heard Drykill Logic’s set come to a conclusion. So much for advance tips but we would have missed them anyway for when we arrived we were given issue with our allotted photo badges. Apparently a number of fakes were being shown and as a result they got changed one hour before doors opened. This change however did not funnel down to listed people and their photographers so it made entrance into the venue an absolute delight. Even when I was cleared and made it in the venue and then to the photo pit with the now "approved" pass I was denied because it was a “fake”. No one in Security knew the left hand from the right and made a normally frustrating deal ever more complex. With no one in the place being on the same page we were lucky that our Friend Chris Caffery was around and got us Working badges. Thanks man, you saved the day without realizing it and allowed the event to be covered to the degree it needed. We walked in as Symphony X was preparing to come on as and I love this band for they are so energetic. As always, singer Russell Allen clearly delivers the best he possibly can. Yet also in this performance I would find some fault with the sound as it seemed very distorted at points and inconsistent at others. This was not the fault of the band. Add to that it was incredibly short. The band played five numbers and it seemed as quick as they came onstage that they were gone. Symphony X is one of those bands that I think all fans of bands like Queensryche and Fates Warning should pay attention to for they are great live and merit a lot more acclaim than they have gained thus far. Resultant of the entire photo badge drama I was unable to get any Symphony X pictures.

Up next would be Nevermore and after absorbing some of their latest release “This Godless Endeavor” I was very excited. Of course it would prove to be a problem as now it was time for me to interview one of the guys in Fear Factory. Down to the depths of the venue we trekked and right past Dave Mustaine himself. He was reading and lounging on the couch so I did not want to disturb him pre show. For a few minutes we got to chit chat with Burton of Fear Factory and the overall impression was their excitement to be on the tour as well as discuss briefly their pending release “Transgression”. On completion of our interview I raced up and back to the photo pit only to realize that Nevermore was in the middle of their second to last number. Once again a super power of Heavy Metal getting only 5 tunes. Needless to say the stuff I saw was serious business and showed that this band was as good if not better in the live sense. While the set list seemed to show only the video single “Final Product” you can be rest assured that the group will feature more of the tunes from this new CD. I also caught them performing “Enemies Of Reality” and look forward to seeing them again. There is rumor to them supporting Opeth in the Fall so if that comes to your town I advise you look into it.

Life Of Agony: I had just seen LOA at a recent Mudvayne show and admit that they impressed me more at that show that on Gigantour. Here they performed well. Yet they seemed a little out of place in the context of the bands that preceded them on the roster. It also became apparent that they were not being well-received by the audience immediately around me. I have to say that Nevermore’s set seemed hard to beat in terms of sheer unbridled Metal. I noticed the group getting a large number of negative commentary shouting and some middle finger high signs going off. Now, I am not a fan of that especially when the band is being ultra enthused on stage, but I did feel a better selection or an earlier slot would have been smarter in this instance. I can’t name a song they did since I was trying to shoot some photos and not be in the way of road crew who were moving stuff around almost consistently during this set. For the band I felt this was a good gig for them as they have not been in the public eye that much until their latest album, so perhaps other audiences liked them more. The played longer than the 30 minutes that Nevermore and Symphony X were given.

Dillinger Escape Plan: This was definitely the most craziness that I have ever seen and the minute they came on I did not like them since it was so much screaming and yelling. However as they progressed in the set, I was starting to detect a very adept level of musicianship. You needed to focus on it a little because it was just so frenetic that it would pass you faster than you expected. They did some cool things, and their guitarist is a madman while he plays. They were confined to such a small area of the stage which could not have been fun for them, and if I can draw one complaint on their set it would be the tossing around of the microphone stand and swinging the mic itself in such close quarters to everyone (band members and photographers down in the pit). This is not a band for everyone and if I am one of those people I have to get back to you on it. I remain on the fence.

Fear Factory were certainly among the most impressive acts of the night. We heard that a tune would be played from each of their albums as the band had been allotted a mere 30 minutes as well. I was starting to notice a disturbing trend. They made sure to give a sample of their new release "Trangression" by playing the title track as well as songs like “Archetype” and some others. The group had one of the cleanest sounds of the evening and one of the cool parts of the show was the brief Pantera jam and gave a shout out to Dimebag. Clearly Dime's absence from Metal music will hold some impact for a long time. I would have liked to hear more of the new CD from them as my advance copy was very interesting. The band does their own version of a U2 song and one by Killing Joke in addition to their brand of Metal. It is worth looking into.

Dream Theater: Truly these guys are Leaders in the Progressive Metal field without any question or any doubt. Everyone in the lineup is a virtuoso on their instrument and James LaBrie is a powerful front man who walked the stage like a regal King. On the drums is Mike Portnoy who has one of the most incredible drum kits ever visualized or imagined could be put together. This is clearly a drum techs worst nightmare and must require a map to store and put back together. John Petrucci remains one of the finest guitar players ever and that’s the easiest way to put it. He belongs on the G3 tour, although he has come out and jammed on occasion. Holding down the groove on bass is John Myung who never ever seems to lose pace or time. To this day I don’t think have heard as good a Progressive Metal bassist. Keyboardist Jordan Rudess (The Dregs) is also a phenomenon and comes up with ideas and musical colors that make the Dream Theater set more interesting time and time again. Among their stellar performance were the following songs: Caught in a Web, Lie, The Root of All Evil, Panic Attack, As I Am, Endless Sacrifice, The Glass Prison, The Great Debate, Pull Me Under & Metropolis. In the almost 2 hour set the band played a number of new tracks from recently released “Octavarium” and the previous masterpiece “Train Of Thought”. This is the 3rd or 4th time that I have seen them and rarely could I find more than praise for their level of work and creativity in music. They managed to get a little something in from their other records as well. It’s a band that mostly musicians tend to follow but I feel their appeal overall is of a larger scale.

Megadeth: The evenings closer and the reason for the Gigantour in the first place, Dave Mustaine and Megadeth are one of the greatest Metal bands around today. The lineup has remained stable with the Drover brothers on guitar and drums (Glen and Shawn) as well as former Iced Earth bassist James McDonough. Singer Dave growled through their classic numbers and mixed some of his new stuff in between. I did feel he should have performed a mostly hits set for this show to give the audience who might have only seem them recently a little more of a change. However like all the rest of the bands he has albums to sell in order to continue and one cannot fault him for that. I felt also that this time around the lineup seemed a little tighter, and more fluid. When I last saw the group at the Roseland Ballroom show I felt that there were moments where it felt like they were just going through motions. This might have been since the lineup was so very new at the time and needed to know a catalog of material as well as a new release. Their sound was great and Mustaine proves time and time again why so many of the songs he has released are considered Metal standards. I have to say that while a large part of the set was the same for me, he did manage to include so much of what I enjoy and the rest of the fans as well.

In closing I have to say that as much as I enjoyed Megadeth and Dream Theater, I felt this Festival should have been done just a little differently. I would have changed the lineup roster just a bit and cut the headliner bands set by maybe 30 minutes each. Doing this would have allowed for the fans to see more of bands like Nevermore, Symphony X and Fear Factory in particular. These bands truly made the night all the more sensible and should been later in the lineup roster as well. Bands like Life Of Agony and Dillinger Escape Plan should have found shorter and earlier slots. Perhaps some disagree with me but since I spoke to some folks who had just seen Mega and Dream and were interested more in X, Nevermore and Fear I could see where the change might have made this ever more a success. It’s my hope that this type of show happens again next year. It is a welcome change to the mix that Ozzfest offers and with Ozzy retiring from the Festival this year who knows how special that will be.

Megdeth Set List:
1. Blackmail
2. World On Fire
3. Skin Of My Teeth
4. Scorpion
5. Wake Up Dead
6. In My Darkest Hour
7. Die Dead Enough
8. She Wolf
9. Reckoning Day
10. A Tout Le Monde
11. Angry Again
12. Trust
13. Hangar 18
14. Sweating Bullets
15. Tornado
16. Kick The Chair
17. Symphony Of Destruction
18. Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying)
19. Holy Wars, Punishment Due

Official Web site: www.Gigantour.com
Official Web site: www.Megadeth.com
Official Web site: www.DreamTheater.net
Official Web site: www.FearFactory.com
Official Web site: www.Nevermore.tv
Official Web site: www.SymphonyX.com

--Ken Pierce




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