Royal Arena, Copenhagen - 2018

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As Judas Priest was aiming to lay the land down with their comeback/reunion/whatever tour, they had to have a strong act to have their back. Or front, as it were, they played first after all.
The band they had handpicked was none other than Megadeth, and this immediately set some thoughts in motion. First, was Dave Mustaine going to be in the mood to deliver, and secondly, if he was, had Judas Priest brought along too stiff a competition?

“How are we doing tonight Copenhagen?! Let’s hear you!”
- David Ellefson (bass)

Megadeth’s show opened with the Prince Of Darkness clip they’ve used for a while now, music combined with spoken word, and as soon as that was over, the band spilled out on the stage, surprisingly placing David Ellefson in the middle, and Dave Mustaine to one side. On the other side, we had Kiko Loureiro on guitar, and in the back was Dirk Verbeuren on the drums. Which means the latest line-up has held strong now for a few years - as far as I’ve seen, they’re good musicians, but they haven’t been able to burn through as much as personalities yet. Then again, this is a personality dominated band in the frontman, so what are you going to do?

What you are going to do, is step up your game, which is exactly what Loureiro and Verbeuren did! Both of them delivered lively, playful, and engaging performances - Loureiro was, for good reason, a bit more outgoing towards the audience, but they were both clearly enjoying themselves. And Loureiro was a perfect poser, doing rock poses left and right!
In contrast Mustaine and Ellefson were certainly taking things a bit easier. They didn’t do a bad job, they were just more laid back, didn’t rock out quite as much. They also seemed to be in a pleasant mood, although they could’ve been a bit more engaged if you ask me. Apparently, Megadeth had played a stellar solo show in Malmö just before this, so maybe they had worn themselves out there?

There wasn’t much talking going on between songs, which at first seemed a bit odd to me, but late in the gig, Mustaine would explain that they had an hour to play in, and they didn’t want to waste it with jibber-jabber - a good reason if ever there was one.
Musically, we got a mostly old-timey best of setlist, with a couple of songs from the latest album thrown in. The biggest surprise came towards the very end of the show however, where the band delivered a blistering Mechanix - the very first time I’ve ever heard this song live!
Royal Arena managed to deliver a surprisingly good sound for the band, which was only hindered by a distinct lack of vocal volume. To begin with, the vocals were nearly inaudible, and it took a long time - several songs - before there was something done about this. It never got what I’d call good, but it did help on things over the course of the show.

“Do you guys still like singing with us? I’ll listen to make sure.”
- Dave Mustaine (vocals/guitar)

If Mustaine was hard to hear, the same could not be said for the large audience. Here the action was lit from the start. Heads were being banged, arms were raised high, and voices were raised even higher. I saw no moshing or anything of the like, just good old rocking out, fists clenched and horns raised.
In response to this, the band let us in on some of the fun of course. During Sweating Bullets, the crowd got a section to shout “hey” over and over, and in Peace Sells, the crowd got to take the chorus by themselves. The guest visit of Rattlehead during Peace Sells didn’t pass by unnoticed either, that’s for sure!
Between all of this, there was of course all the singing that the band didn’t have to ask for, made all the easier because of the direction of the setlist.

It was a somewhat humble Megadeth we were presented with this night, calmer than usual, but still proving to pack a good punch when need be. Megadeth was a strong opener - whether or not they’d manage to outdo Judas Priest still remained to be seen.


Prince Of Darkness
Hangar 18
The Threat Is Real
Take No Prisoners
Sweating Bullets
Tornado Of Souls
Symphony Of Destruction
Peace Sells
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due

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