Canadian Carnage with Megadeth & Slayer

June 24, 2009
General Motors Place

Vancouver, BC


Review By Paul Oostergo / Photos By Paul Oostergo
Exclusive to Rockstar Weekly

There was carnage at GM Place this past Wednesday June 24 – “Canadian Carnage” that is. That‘s the name of the tour that features thrash metal legends Megadeth and Slayer playing together on the same bill for the first time in over 15 years. Vancouver was the first of four shows that includes stops in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. Both bands have apparently put their past differences behind them and are officially listed as “co-headliners”. Each will close two of the four scheduled shows. Suicide Silence and Machine Head opened the show, getting the somewhat less than capacity crowd of just over 6,000 pumped up for Slayer. Megadeth closed out the evening.

Slayer hit the stage and opened their set with “Disciple”, the Grammy-nominated track from their 2001 album “God Hates Us All”. The band then treated the crowd to several favourites from their early years such as 1984’s “Chemical Warfare”, 85’s “Hell Awaits” and show staple “Angel of Death” from ‘86. About halfway through their set, bassist / vocalist Tom Araya took a moment to ask the crowd what they would sacrifice for their beliefs before dedicating 1988’s “Mandatory Suicide” to what he called “Iran’s freedom fighters”, making obvious reference to that country’s recent political turmoil. The mostly male crowd responded enthusiastically and the already frantic mosh-pit doubled in size. Rounding out the set were other late-80’s tracks such as “Ghost of War”, “Live Undead”, “South of Heaven”, 1990’s “Dead Skin Mask” and a mix of “War Ensemble” and 2006’s “Jihad”. “Psychopathy Red” from their upcoming album (reportedly titled “World Painted Blood”) also made its live debut tonight. The guys closed out their 12-song set with another show fixture, 1986’s “Raining Blood”. Slayer’s stage presence was fairly understated, with some long-time fans commenting that they lacked energy. That said, consensus was that Slayer, which is once again comprises their original line-up of Tom Araya on bass and vocals, Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King on guitars and Dave Lombardo behind the drum kit, still kicks ass.

After a fairly quick stage change it was Megadeth’s turn. In what appears to be his typical style, Dave Mustaine kept the anxious crowd waiting after the stage was set before coming out with “Sleepwalker”, the lead track from their last studio album, 2007’s “United Abominations”. Mustaine put together a set list that was a bit more varied than Slayer’s, opting to give a more even sampling of the band’s music across their 24-year history. Notable was the appearance of the long-absent “Rattlehead” from their 1985 debut album “Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good!”. Towards the end of their 50-minute set, Dave took a moment to give the fans a status update on their forthcoming album “Endgame” stating that it is set for release in September. Ever the showman, he told the crowd that they were “too important to wait for it” and gave them a treat with the debut of “Headcrusher”. If this is an example of the overall style of the new album, then it seems that Mustaine has decided to take the band back to their earlier style of metal that put them on the map. The song’s driving drum line, thrashy guitar riffs and Dave’s trademark growling lyrics re-invigorated the crowd, which had calmed down somewhat after nearly four hours of metal mania, and brought the mosh-pit back up to speed. Other songs in the set included “Wake Up Dead”, “In My Darkest Hour”, “Hangar 18”, “She Wolf” and “Kick The Chair”. “Skin O’ My Teeth” and “Symphony of Destruction” from 92’s “Countdown to Extinction” also appeared and were definite crowd pleasers. After closing out the main act with “Peace Sells”, the band returned for introductions – Chris Broderick on guitar, James Lomenzo on Bass and Shawn Drover on the drums – and to give the “ME-GA-DETH!” chanting crowd a one-song encore – perennial favourite and staple closing song “Holy Wars”. Mustane and the band took their bows to a standing ovation at the end of the night and spent several minutes wishing the crowd well and tossing out souvenir picks and drumsticks to the appreciative crowd.

“Canadian Carnage” travels to Rexall Centre in Edmonton Friday, June 26th, plays the Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday June 27th and winds up its run at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Sunday, June 29th.