On Feb. 24, heavy-metal powerhouse Megadeth played at The Complex in Salt Lake City to a sold-out crowd of loyal fans both young and old. From veteran fans wearing old Rust in Peace tour shirts to seven-year-old children (who were there with their parents), the main hall at The Complex was packed with metalheads. Touring with Megadeth on the Dystopia Tour is Finnish band Children of Bodom—a contrast to the classic heavy metal of Megadeth—who drew their own devotees. Children of Bodom are built around a more melodic/symphonic/power metal sound through keyboard and Alexi Laiho‘s haunting screams. Also on the tour is Denver-based thrash band Havok, who opened the show with an aggressive onslaught of face-melting guitar riffs, pounding bass and thunderous double kick drum, which quickly whipped the crowd into an energetic frenzy. Havok’s set was fast and furious, and they left the stage to deafening applause—a perfect aperitif for the evening’s next course.
Children of Bodom’s opening catalyzed their fans, who sang along almost as loudly as Alexi Laiho’s screams and roars. With their high-energy stage presence and head-banging pace, Children of Bodom fueled the crowd onward through a full set that spanned the last 20-plus years of the band’s studio work. As Laiho saluted the crowd, throwing the “slayer” to their fans, he was greeted with the same gesture—even from the seven year-olds who were down in front. Who would’ve known that heavy metal concerts could become family outings?
Children of Bodom wrapped up their set with a heartfelt thank you, and bassist Henkka Seppala made sure all of the young fans got guitar picks before exiting the stage. The room buzzed with suspense, barely able to handle waiting for Megadeth to go on. The moment drummer Chris Adler (on loan from metal band Lamb of God) popped up behind his kit, the whole room exploded, and as the rest of the band came on, legendary frontman Dave Mustaine went straight into the opening song off of the new album, Dystopia: “The Threat is Real.” After giving a taste of the new album, they traveled back 25 years to “Hangar 18″—one of Megadeth’s greatest songs—which caused the whole venue to erupt.
The set was packed with fantastic songs, both new and old. They performed classics like “Symphony of Destruction” and “A Tout Le Monde,” and ended the show with “Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying” and “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” as their encore. They completed the set, in classic style, with sincerity and grace, bowing to the crowd as Mustaine played air guitar while walking offstage.
Megadeth has ruptured ear drums for 30 years, and while that may be some serious tenure, they show no signs of letting off on their iconic sound, which has gained them a reputation as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. A salute to them for giving such a memorable performance. Dave Mustaine is a god.