Even though Megadeth has been touring steadily since the release of “Thirteen” last November, it was easy to see why band founder and leader Dave Mustaine didn’t want to pass up a chance to make the rounds one more time with a full airing of “Countdown to Extinction” to commemorate that album’s 20th anniversary. Not only is “Countdown” Megadeth’s most commercially successful album to date, but also_ and more importantly_ it is as resonant today as when it came out.
Mustaine caught shit during the election season for comments made about the validity of Rick Santorum and the historical accuracy of 9/11 accounts. Sunday, Nov. 11, during Megadeth’s show at The Palladium in Worcester, Mustaine wasn’t going to be muzzled, blasting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for not yet testifying before Congress about the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya.
Being an agitator is nothing new for Mustaine, “Countdown to Extinction” being a prime case in point. He’s an equal-opportunity ranter, who points out dire desperate deeds and other bullshit wherever he finds them. You still hear that loudly on “Countdown,” especially on the title track, “Symphony of Destruction” and “Foreclosure of a Dream."
Beyond its relevance, “Countdown to Extinction” is simply a solid album from start to finish. The well-known songs come early, but that closing shot of “Captive Honour” and “Ashes in Your Mouth” is as powerful as anything you'll find in the Megadeth catalog.
|Broderick, Drover, Mustaine, Ellefson...Megadeth 2012|
The current lineup of Megadeth with guitarist Chris Broderick, drummer Shawn Drover, and founding members Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson did the “Countdown” songs proud. Broderick_ who has been in the band for four years_ teams well with Mustaine in trading licks and building towering thrash harmonies. A lot goes on in the “Countdown” songs, from political and social commentary to odes about skydiving and cyborgs. The music is as rangy as the themes. Megadeth 2012 nailed it in proper celebratory style, meaning they played the songs like they still enjoyed them, not like they were fulfilling a tour-poster promise.
Before Megadeth got to “Countdown,” it offered up a mix of old and new material, starting with “Trust.” The intricacy of the production blew away the band’s Gigantour show from January. Mind searing vids and lights accompanied most numbers, which helped those occasional rough patches when Mumblin’ Mustaine’s vocals just sunk into the sound mix.
Longtime favorite “Hangar 18” showed up early, followed by “She-Wolf,’ a song that Megadeth keeps firm in the set list and actually holds its own as a fierce live number. The smoky “A Tout le Monde” gave way to two solid new songs, “Public Enemy #1” (whose monkey video offers the best chimp action-film footage since Lance Link) and “Whose Life (is it Anyway?)” before “Countdown” kicked off.
The non-“Countdown” sequence aptly set the stage, as the band sounded tight but not overly prepped or too stiff to let the solos and jams feel a little spontaneous.
After “Countdown,” Megadeth sealed the concert as a great one with explosive versions of “Peace Sells,” which brought out mascot Vic Rattlehead to stalk the stage for a bit, and “Holy Wars…Punishment Due,” final reminders that the old fights are still dominating today’s news. Keep talking, Mustaine.
Kyng opened with a grungy bit of three-piece hard rock. The band offered a decent stew of stoner, thrash and doom.