My Conversations With Megadeth (Rock Cafe, Tallinn, Estonia, 28.06)
|Event:||Megadeth: TH1RT3EN World Tour 2012|
Megadeth - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 28.06.2012 by Ivor (45)
"We came here with zero expectations," Dave Mustaine said to the guilty looking crowd listening to the fifty year old Megadeth frontman. "The last time we played in Estonia, it was just the four of us on stage, and what looked like about four of you out there," he continued with a cunning wink. It was like being chastised by your dad for getting drunk. Kind of serious, but not nearly as serious as mom would wish.
I remember that last ill-fated Megadeth gig. It was in Haapsalu (i.e. the middle of nowhere, for you non-Estonians) in the courtyard of a medieval fortress. Which was cool. The band performed to a crowd consisting - not exclusively, but mostly - of zombies. Which was uncool. I recall the first three or four rows having been the centre of the action, with the rest of the people lazily watching the band from a distance, lured to the show with promises of cheap barbeque, beer, local folk metal superstars and handicraft, of all the fucking things. It seemed as if most people were unaware of Megadeth's significance in the heavy metal scene. I can only imagine how baffled the band must've been at the lukewarm reception they surely hadn't deserved.
This time things were different though. Trading in the castle ruins for a tiny venue in Tallinn, Megadeth had agreed to play an exclusive gig for just 900 fans. Cramping more people between Rock Cafe's walls would've been tricky as the place was packed, admittedly to a lesser degree than the organizers had hoped. But judging by the blood, sweat and Mustaine's (somewhat) elevated mood, it was clear that the Estonian audience had made up for their failure to rock the last time around.
"Hey, you. Yes you - more rocking. Now."
With a venue as small as Rock Cafe and with a band as big as Megadeth, you'd have to suck at promoting pretty hard to fail at filling the house. They had brought in Nevesis as local support, as the Estonian hard rockers are currently enjoying considerable popularity in the Estonian scene. The ticket price had been capped at an agreeable 39 €. By putting Megadeth in a hot little box, the organizers had considerably lowered the risk of failing the event - a strong concern in a country of only 1.3 million.
But to say that the Tallinn show was a mere exercise in risk management would be a grave underestimation of what actually happened that night.
I'm not sure how many people have had the chance to see Megadeth in such an intimate setting but I imagine it can't be that many as the band is, for all intents and purposes, kind of a huge fucking deal. The merits of seeing them perform to what is essentially a handful of people are many. A strange silence filled the room between the songs every now and then as the crowd waned from heat exhaustion and dehydration in the dangerously under-ventilated space. I should add for the record that denim on denim, while super-sexy on me, tends to have a capacity for soaking in sweat not wholly unlike that of a sponge.
Given the hellish conditions, it all felt less like a concert by a rock legend and more like hung over metalheads dying (albeit loudly so) at a bar on a quiet afternoon after a vicious night out, with Megadeth playing in the background, filling the ever-so unappreciated four o'clock slot. Megadeth. At a bar.
What I'm getting at here is that this was cool. This. Was. So cool.
Pictured: my actual distance from Chris Broderick's crotch
More so, it felt personal. Between the songs Dave was telling me how he spent the day in Tallinn taking his wife to expensive shops. Poor Dave. I was about to tell him that he should've gone to that one little shop I know around the corner but before I could get a word off he lunged into another fierce gallop of a riff - possibly "She-Wolf". Or "Public Enemy No. 1". You know, Megadeth stuff. I also wanted to go and get him a beer but that was a little difficult as I always had someone's elbow in my ribs and somebody's hair in my face. "Fine, we'll grab one later," I said and started jumping around to "Hangar 18". He was telling me (as he does) about his President's recent shenanigans. "What? He's sending guns to Mexico!?" someone gasped from the back row. "I mean you all know I have my experience doing drugs, but I never sent guns to anybody," Dave shrugged, almost going on to add "whatever, here's some more metal." Fuck yes there was.
So. Much. Metal.
"Hey, Mr. security boy," Mustaine said, his speech interrupted by a guard telling someone to climb down from his friend's shoulders, "it's OK." He went on to explain the guy, in words I failed to catch, how it's cool that people go to their shows to rock out. Megadeth one, security zero. Good on you Dave, good on you.
I watched a smiling Dave Ellefson bang his head in front of an amp set, completely tuned in to the music. I saw Chris Broderick nodding an approval to a fan in the pit, probably for nailing a chorus dead on. And then it dawned on me - old though as they may be, Megadeth will probably keep on doing this for a long, long time. And why wouldn't they, as there's not a lot of old school stars out there capable of pushing on with the vigor of a crack-fuelled freight train. Flawlessly, and with considerable fury, the band tore through a selection of their classics as well as newer additions, from "Peace Sells" and "Trust" to "Never Dead" and "Whose Life (Is It Anyway?)". And without fail, the crowd followed them to every single note.
What really helped Megadeth channel all that force was the fact that Mustaine came off as a really nice chap as opposed to a raging old asshole, without being quite as family friendly as, say, Metallica. Although he never really dropped that Mustaine gaze of mild arrogance, I think his "thank you" to the attending fans was sincere. And while my conversation with Megadeth didn't extend into the backstage I wouldn't be surprised if, after a small moment of silence, Ellefson, with a towel on his head said "fuck that was good. We need to do a bar tour!" Yes. Please do.
01. Never Dead
02. Head Crusher
03. Hangar 18
06. Poison Was The Cure
07. Sweating Bullets
08. A Tout Le Monde
09. Guns, Drugs & Money
10. Whose Life (Is It Anyway?)
11. Public Enemy No. 1
12. Symphony of Destruction
13. Peace Sells
14. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due
I don't think there's a person in Estonia who, either voluntarily or involuntarily, hasn't seen Nevesis live. While nothing revlutionary, they look great and sound good. Although I was somewhat underwhelmed by their performance that night, in part due to high levels of Megadeth-anticipation, they do deserve a small tribute in the form of a bonus gallery (courtesy of Ivor). I mean just look at them mosh! Beautiful.
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