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Megadeth

Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater, Sunday, Oct. 31

The comeback album was a disappointment, and the farewell tour was no phenomenon, either.

Megadeth's Blackmail the Universe tour made a special stop at Casino del Sol's AVA on a chilly Halloween evening, playing to a half-capacity crowd. Their 90-minute set covered the entire band's catalog, and the stage was stripped down--a backdrop was the only stage prop.

Frontman Dave Mustaine has stated plans of embarking on a solo career after this final Megadeth tour. The only problem: This was no Megadeth tour! This was the Dave Mustaine Band, fronted by the legendary ax-man with three hired hands.

Case in point: Before playing "Something That I'm Not," Mustaine started off with, "The next song I'm going to play ... ." Funny, I always thought a band consisted of more than one person.

Another example of this tour being all about Mustaine came from the band's lighting--spotlights were only put on Mustaine, while the rest of the boys played in the dark.

Another annoyance for the majority of the performance was the lack of powerful sound. At best, Megadeth sounded like they were playing in mono, with nothing amplified over the top. Of course, Mustaine's guitar and vocals were the sounds most detectable to the naked ear. The chugging guitar riff intro of "Train of Consequences" could not be heard from the soundboard, and backing vocals during "Reckoning Day" sounded as if the mics were turned off. During "Symphony of Destruction," bass lines in between guitar breaks were also not heard. It was not until "Trust" was played toward the end of the set that the band's sound coalesced.

Nonetheless, the crowd was really behind Dave and the boys for the entire show. When Megadeth kicked into its third song, "In My Darkest Hour," fists were pumping in the air, and heads were banging in unison. The crowd also took over vocal duties for Mustaine during the chorus of "A Tout le Monde." Mustaine took note of the ecstatic crowd, taking time to show his appreciation throughout the night.

Although not dressed up for Halloween, like many members of the crowd, Mustaine did share his idea for a costume: Axl Rose around the time he was arrested at Sky Harbor Airport.

Bay Area thrash metal legends Exodus opened the night with a brutal 45-minute set, the main highlight of the evening.

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