It’s not often that you get the chance to see thrash living legends Megadeth play a venue smaller than an aircraft carrier or from the back of a decidedly muddy field at a festival, so the chance to catch Mr David Mustaine and his able cohorts in the confines of Camden’s Electric Ballroom on the Tuesday after Download was too good an opportunity to miss.
Yeah, I know, Megadeth (and Mustaine in particular) have a reuptation (often well founded) for being famously irascible, famously indignant and famously crotchety. Tonight though- apart from one spat with a sad old heckler-the whole band seemed relaxed, happy even. Mustaine himself seemed to be pretty laid back, pretty happy with his lot; it certainly showed in his guitar playing and his interplay with the audience. He seemed enthused and invigorated to be playing a small club and his personal warmth was more than reciprocated by the fanatical, partisan crowd who knew every word to every song and bellowed their lungs out for the entire evening.
Megadeth’s set list was pretty much as you would have expected- all the hits plus a couple of additions (Guns, Drugs and Money trivia fans). Let’s be fair, there isn’t a lot wrong with a band that can give you Holy Wars, Peace Sells, Hangar 18 and Symphony of Destruction with still plenty of space and time for my own personal favourites Trust and A Tout Le Monde (which was positively valedictory tonight). However, the entire set list was lively, punchy and free from any angst or tension- this was a band saying thank you to a dedicated support and seemingly enjoying every second of it.
It’s a cliche to observe that seeing hugely popular bands in small venues is “special”, but tonight was. Megadeth put on a cracking show and delivered a thoroughly splendid, occasionally magnificent, never less than compelling evening.