Gigantour 2005 was an incredible tour which not only paired Megadeth and Dream Theater as co-headliners for two monster sets but it also gave the fans the music of Nevermore, Symphony X, Fear Factory, Life Of Agony, Anthrax, Dillinger Escape Plan, Drykill Logic, & Bobaflex. Immediately met with a large level of appeal against the likes of Ozzfest and Warped Tour, this was set to be the beginning of a new and powerful yearly event. The entry price was accommodating and many of the bands were serious Metal providers while some other participants were met with a level of "why are they here?". In any case the fans that attended still talk about it like it was yesterday, and when the second year was discussed, the approval was absolutely resounding. Gigantour 2006 would have no questionable acts on the performance roster and instead deliver on all fronts with legendary acts Megadeth and Overkill, new talent such as Smashup and Sanctity and most important - some of the most relevant bands that the Metal scene offers you today with Arch Enemy, Opeth, Into Eternity and Lamb Of God. To call this a shred fest would be a serious understatement, this would be "a f**kin' sick shred fest!!". Here is some of how the evening went down with comments from Sea of Tranquility's Ken Pierce and Pete Pardo on all the bands we were able to see. Read on true believer!
SMASH-UP & SANCTITY: Sorry friends of Metal but I cannot give you any insight on Smashup at all for I was still getting situated during their very short stage time (20 minutes or so). There are some fun samples of them on the tours main page and I am sure that if Mustaine added them to the roster that there was a certain level of appeal to their music at least in his eyes. Sanctity I would not see either, but I did see this impressive new band when Dragonforce came through town in May this year. They are not bad and show levels of promise on big and better things.
INTO ETERNITY: Yes, the same Into Eternity that most Metal fans know very well by now. The same Into Eternity who blew us away at shows over the past two years as we found them as opener for the likes of Opeth, Nevermore, Amorphis, Hate Eternal, Hammerfall, EdGuy and the list truly goes on. The bands all too short set would be a couple of their staple numbers from "Buried By Oblivion" as well as a taste of the killer new release "The Scattering Of Ashes". If there is some reason you have not heard of this band by now, then you need to rectify the issue and join the party. It was incredible to see this fine band performing on the second run of Gigantour. They have many big things in store for them, and for you. Don't miss the bus on this group.
OVERKILL: "Here's to the Old School", yes the Thrash Metal legends were in the house tonight and dead set on "Elimination" of all in their path. Overkill is truly one of the Metal mainstays and it's always an exciting set when they are pounding the skulls of the audience. Bobby Blitz sounds the same and D.D. Verni continually rumbles on the bass while the guitars and drums test the limits of your brains ability to absorb the assault. Staple numbers such as "Rotten To The Core" were delivered and "Elimination" would be even more special as guest drummer Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater would sit in for the number. I'm always impressed with Overkill and their ability to not only deliver any time on the stage but also in their being able to get an entire arena to sing along with "Fuck You", their rousing closer. I felt this was a great chance for Overkill to regain some footing in the Metal audiences as while their core following is loyal to a fault there are folks who might not be aware of their impact in the younger legions.
ARCH ENEMY: Arch Enemy is a fan-favorite whose popularity seems to grow with each adventure they take. The band recently completed a headlining tour, did the Ozzfest two years in a row and now finds themselves high on the lineup roster for the ultimate shred-fest Gigantour 2006. Their music is pure Metal and since this was an audience full of pure Metal heads, it was a win-win situation all around. No Emo as far as the eye could see and scanning the crowd all you saw were fists and horns held high into the air. Angela Gossow is one of those unique front women who breaks the walls down in this particular genre and sets an example that other women who sing can follow. She is not an Operatic singer but instead a demon from the depths that uses her guttural growl to hold all the members of the audience to her will. She shows that a woman can successfully front a Metal band of this type and do it very, very well. Opening up with "Nemesis", a blistering track from "The Doomsday Machine" the group performed to a "Ravenous" audience and delivered songs like "My Apocalypse", "Dead Eyes See no Future" and the show-stopping closer of "We Will Rise".
OPETH: The group that comes off like the Pink Floyd Of Progressive Death Metal are still in support of their Roadrunner Records release "Ghost Reveries" and while the group delivers a more sedate and intellectual level of Metal focus at times, there is no respite from the excitement generated when they play. This was an incredible step for them as in the States the band has not yet played to an audience of this capacity. They did have large crowds when appearing on the "Sounds Of The Underground" tour in 2005, but their early and short set time along with a mostly Grindcore audience left fans of the band finding them a bit lost in the mass. Tonight they truly showed what they offer the Metal fans as they opened with the albums "Ghost Of Perdition" and showed how well the Progressive elements mixed with their unique brand of Melodic Death Metal in "Deliverance" and "Baying Of The Hounds". Opeth is a band that raises the musical bar very high and should not be overlooked especially if you yearn for levels of difference in your Metal.
LAMB OF GOD: Lamb Of God is best summed up in one word – Metal. Plain and simple, pure and true, this is full-blooded American Heavy Metal and there are not many bands like the one and only Lamb Of God. Their recent release of "Sacrament" shows just how good this band is and is a step up from their blockbuster "Ashes From The Wake". This new album shows musical development and melodic growth but is not at all short on the heaviness factor and seeing them this high up on the roster was as exciting as you might imagine. The group performed what seemed to be an hour-long set, but I admit to losing track of time in the cascading bodies that began flying around during the set. Some friends and myself had navigated down to closer to the stage and there was little secure ground to find down there. Some of the songs performed would be "Walk With Me In Hell", "Redneck", Laid To Rest" and "Now You've Got Something To Die For". They are a group that is stepping up into the role and leading Metal fans ahead providing levels of aggression previously only enjoyed at Pantera shows. Lamb Of God is proving to be one of the most important Metal bands our recent history has allowed us to enjoy. Their latest release is an album that is molding the way the genre can be delivered and its worth picking up.
MEGADETH: Say what you will about Dave Mustaine, but when it comes to Heavy Metal music this is a man who has consistently remained relevant to the genre and its purity. Known for his ability to shred as well as direct politically astute lyrical content in his music he is the mastermind of this tour and closes it out with a memorable set of classics. I attended Gigantour 2005 when it was at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and perhaps this different venue made it more enjoyable to me or perhaps the lineup that Megadeth has is now more comfortable in their roles. The MHCC show was incredibly hot in terms of room temperature and the band seemed not as on top of the game as I was finding them tonight. Perhaps it was just heat stroke, but tonight I was finding the whole presentation above par and the band performing like a Heavy Metal superpower should. Backed by the Drover Brothers on guitar and drums (Glenn and Shawn) the group also has James Lomenzo (White Lion, Black Label Society) on bass. I felt that this was one of the tightest performances that I have ever seen Megadeth deliver and despite his being a rather outspoken person, Mustaine would keep the banter light and focus more on the music. One of the more memorable comments he would make was before "Mechanix" where he referenced the Metallica version as something he would do if on Quaaludes. The bands blistering hot set would include some of the bands most revered numbers and give the audience a preview of their forthcoming album "United Abominations" with the track "Washington Is Next!". As the show completed Mustaine spoke to the crowd saying how Gigantour was about the guitar and that its spirit will never die. Perhaps he was referring to the more commercialized other festivals the US features or perhaps this is just his view on it all. In any event, this was the better of the two attended Gigantours for me, and I can only imagine the surprises that will be in store for us when the 2007 roster is unveiled.
Megadeth's new album will be available on Roadrunner Records in early 2007.
Pete Pardo: I'll give a quick summary of the festivities from the PNC show. First of all, this was a metal line-up through and through this year, with not a harcore band in sight. That in itself was a good thing in my book. Having missed the first few acts, I was able to witness veteran thrash act Overkill as my first band of the day. If you've seen Overkill before, then you know what to expect. These guys never fail to impress or deliver a set that shows them giving 150 % to the audience. With a set list filled with Overkill classics old and new, Blitz & Co. shook the stage and delivered some energetic old school thrash that thrilled all the older fans in attendance, and showed the younger ones that this crew of veteran players still have what it takes. Sweden's Arch Enemy were up next, and they came on stage to a roar from the crowd that signaled that this band is starting to be thought of as among the elite metal bands these days. Fresh off an appearance on Ozzfest and a headline tour of their own, Arch Enemy, led by the venemous vocal talents of the gorgeous Angela Gossow and the virtuoso guitar skills of Michael Amott, ripped through killer tracks from their last few albums, heavy in favor of songs from their most recent Doomsday Machine. Melodic, technical, and with plenty of groove, Arch Enemy delivered a stunning set, whether you want to call if thrash, melodic death metal, or progressive metal.
Also along for the ride from Sweden came progressive death metal legends Opeth. The fact that they are this high up on the bill should come as no surprise, as this band is one of the most respected in all of metal. With a excellent discography under their belt, the band has been riding high from the release of their Roadrunner Records debut Ghost Reveries, and played a few songs off that album, "Ghost of Perdition" and "Baying of the Hounds", as well as older favorites "Deliverance", "Leper Affinity", and the acoustic based "Windowpane", complete with ominous Mellotron washes from new keyboard player Per Wiberg. Mikael Akerfeldt & Co. were spot on, and though they only played five songs (their average song length is somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-9 minutes) they fans loved it and chanted a thunderous "Opeth, Opeth" during the breaks of each song. As good as Opeth was, Lamb of God litterally slayed the audience. This band has gotten so much better live in the course of a few short years, and they took control of the crowd and pummeled them throughout the hour long set. As they played songs from all their albums, highlighting tunes from their latest Sacrament like "Redneck", "Walk With Me in Hell", "Pathetic" , and "Again We Rise", Lamb of God commanded the stage, had a HUGE sound, and drove the crowd into an utter frenzy. If you don't believe that Lamb of God have what it takes to be the next Pantera or Slayer, go check them out live...and pick up a copy of their new CD while you are at it. Headliners Megadeth might seem like an aftertought on this night of "new blood", but these long standing thrashers brought their game with them on this night. One of the more disappointing acts on Gigantour 2005 as far as I was concerned, Megadeth were at the top of their game on this night. Playing songs from throughout their long and illustrious career, plus some new material, Dave Mustaine and the rest of the group rocked like a bunch of youngsters. Dave and Glenn Drover have really settled in and become a formidable guitar team, trading wild licks on classic tunes like "Wake Up Dead", "Devil's Island", "Tornado of Souls", "Skin O' My Teeth", "Symphony of Destuction", and many others. Vocally and musically, the band had a great night, and it's obvious that Megadeth has plenty of life left in the tank after this performance. Overall Gigantour 2006 at PNC Band Arts Center was a success, and altough only about 7-8,000 fans were on hand, it was great to see an outdoor show in the early fall with cooler temperatures and a great metal line-up. Here's hoping 2007 will be just as good.
Megadeth Set List
Blackmail The Universe
Set The World Afire
Wake Up Dead
Skin O' My Teeth
In My Darkest Hour
Take No Prisoners
Symphony Of Destruction
Kick The Chair
Washington Is Next!!
Tornado Of Souls
Peace Sells (But Who's Buying)
Official Web site: http://www.gigantour.com
Official Web site: http://www.megadeth.com
Official Web site: http://www.intoeternity.net
Official Web site: http://www.opeth.com
Official Web site: http://www.wreckingcrew.com
Official Web site: http://www.arch-enemy.com
Official Web site: http://www.lamb-of-god.com