For many years Rust In Peace was the worst album Megadeth ever put out to me. Sure it had Holy Wars…The Punishment Due and Hanger 18 but that was about it. There always seemed to be something missing on that album for me. Granted Holy Wars…The Punishment Due was almost good enough to save the entire record it was THAT GOOD.
Then a string of crappy albums came out from Cryptic Writings on, and I realized that Rust In Peace wasn’t that bad. There are three or four songs on every Megadeth album that stand out. Never enough to make an entire album listenable, but enough to keep the band and my version of their ‘greatest hits’ in constant rotation of my iPod. Give me Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good, Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying, and So Far, So Good…So What. Those albums front to back are pretty much flawless. And I’m not talking about the remastered versions where Dave went in there and fucked up the songs adding parts, changing lyrics, and generally fucking up his legacy. Did he not see Star Wars episodes 1-3? Does he not know how George Lucas fucked up our childhood memories? Now Dave has fucked with my Adolescence. You can’t rewrite history. You can try, but all you do is fuck it up generally.
20 years after RiP was released Dave Mustaine & Co decided it was time to celebrate this so-so album and perform it in its entirety. Thankfully Dave (Jr) Ellefson rejoined the band shortly before this tour so we get the best player Megadeth has had performing the music he helped create 20 years ago. Chris Broderick is a decent guitarist and stands up well beside Mustaine. Trading rhythm and lead with Dave quite deftly. And Shawn Drover keeps the time and flourishes behind the drum kit throughout the show. Adding his own fills in to long established songs could go horribly wrong to those purists out there, but Shawn puts his own touch on and certainly adds to material. To me most notably on Five Magics, which is such a time convoluted song, that left in the hands of a lesser drummer could sound like a complete mess and just end up with the band standing on stage with their proverbial dicks in their hands.
The two biggest distractions on the DVD for me were Dave’s voice and the crowd noise.
There is a fine balance to be found (however difficult it may be to find it) between feeling as if you are AT the show while sitting on your couch watching it, and having some shrieking asshole screaming in your ear for 90 minutes. This may be the first DVD that I’ve ever actually been able to hear people screaming at the band and be able to decipher what they say. In post production the producer and engineer always juice the crowd up in between songs, after solos, etc. But at time this almost sounds like a bootleg with some dude standing in the crowd with a mic and people screaming around him. Turn the crowd down already! I don’t want to hear them. And I don’t care if they are shitting their brains out because you’re playing Lucretia for the first time in 20 years.
Dave’s voice in his higher octave (if you can call it an octave) is shot. He sounds like he’s on helium when he sings parts of Holy Wars and Tornado of Souls. I noticed it when I saw the cinecast of THE BIG FOUR at Sonisphere, and it has caused me much pause in purchasing the landmark event on DVD because of Dave’s voice at that show. I was really hoping that this DVD recorded a couple months before that show would show a stronger voiced Mustaine. And in many parts it did, But Dawn Patrol, parts of Holy Wars, and Polaris it is rough when he reaches for those high notes.
Last complaint is the kick drums. Very flat and crisp. A certain lack of bottom end from the mix for sure. Definitely takes away from the ‘live feel’ of the DVD. The kick drum hits you in the forehead instead of right in the chest like it should.
Visually it is stunning. And the encore or bonus songs at the end, In My Darkest Hour (with more helium voiced Dave), Trust, Peace Sells, etc, round out a great set of music. Yes I said I wasn’t much of a fan of the album, but really, take out Five Magics, Poison Was The Cure, and Lucretia and you really have a good set, add in the other songs, and you have a great concert. The crowd (annoying screamers aside) appears to really be into the show and the moshing and crowd surfing are plentiful throughout the show.
I know I am in the minority with my opinions of Rust In Peace the album, and I did give the DVD high marks because Megadeth live is aurally and visually is a good time and whiplash is guaranteed. That being said, you will want to go out and get RUST IN PEACE LIVE. You will enjoy it, and you will thank me later.