By Sean Palmerston; Concert Photos by Adam Wills
It is not every day that a major concert happens down the street, at least not for me. Despite the fact that my house is literally seven blocks away from my city’s hockey arena, Copps Coliseum, there are maybe two or three concerts a year that spark my interest enough that I want to go. And out of those, maybe one a year will be metal or hard rock. Well, it’s only February and we just had a doozy when Gigantour touched down at Copps on a chilly Wednesday night.
Of course, one of the things about having a show so close to home means that I can go home for dinner and eat with my wife and kids, something I can’t do when going to most shows in Toronto. Because of this, I actually just got to my seat when Lacuna Coil were finishing their set, but Adam Wills has assured me they were decent.
After a quick changeover Volbeat were next up on the bill. This Danish group has come quite a ways in the past five years. Already festival mainstays in Europe, the opportunity to open for Metallica’s Death Magnetic North American tour really opened doors for this band, to the point that their newest album has outsold the latest offerings from both Motorhead and Megadeth in Canada. Their live show drew songs from all of their albums, with noticeably large cheers for “Guitars, Gangsters and Cadillac Blood” and a cool Johnny Cash cover. The absolute coolest thing for me about Volbeat’s set was just getting to see Hank Shermann play live again. The longtime Mercyful Fate guitarist has been their touring guitarist for Gigantour and although they didn’t play any classic fate, the set-ending instrumental cover of Slayer‘s “Raining Blood” was pretty damn cool anyway.
You can always count on a solid set by Motorhead and once again the legendary trio did not disappoint. Despite now being a senior citizen, Lemmy still comes out and kicks major ass each and every show. The band’s set list hasn’t changed a lot over the course of the past year of touring, with the band sticking mainly to their tied and tested hits, but there were a few curveballs thrown into the set, including “Going To Brazil” and “The One To Sing The Blues” next to “Bomber”, “Stay Clean” and the like. Michael from Volbeat came out and joined the band for “Killed By Death”, which was very cool to see and a nice lead in to the final two songs of the night – “Ace Of Spades” and “Overkill”. Easily the best set of the night.
Megadeth were the final band of the night, as is always the case with Gigantour performances. After a quick set up the band came out with a subdued opener, choosing to start their set with the semi-mellow “Trust”. Not the song I would pick to get the crowd riled up, but it didn’t seem to be a problem for most of the metal heads in attendance. Things got a little bit more active soon enough, with “In my Darkest Hour” and “Hangar 18″‘s early set spots getting things moving down on the floor. As usual, the band was in great form. Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick are one of my favourite guitar duos in thrash metal still and Dave Ellefson seemed to have no trouble locking in with Shawn Drover.
My main problem with Megadeth’s set on this evening was in the vocal department. I am not sure if he is having problems with his voice right now, but Mustaine’s vocals were mixed very low in the mix, coming across more like a whisper than his usual snarl. Like I had said previously, the quartet were bang on musically and they played a nice mix of songs this night, including “Foreclosure Of A Dream”, “A Tout Le Monde” (with Lacuna Coil’s Christina Scabbia) and “Peace Sells” to finish the set. Vic Rattlehead made a brief appearance during the latter, but it was so brief some might have missed it. Ending the set on a high note with “Holy Wars”, Megadeth played a sold workmanlike set but after the great support sets by both Volbeat and Motorhead this just was not their night.