GIG REVIEW: MEGADETH, AMON AMARTH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES & More Live at First Bank Center, Broomfield, CO
Megadeth, Amon Amarth, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church, and the Butcher Babies. Just let that sit for a few moments; at least I needed a few moments to let it all sink in when I first saw the tour poster. This was by far one of the hottest and most anticipated tours for the United States this year, but unfortunately, it is wrapping up on October 16th in Camden, NJ. I was lucky enough to catch the show on October 1st at the First Bank Center just north of Denver, CO. Fans in Denver were blessed with one of the biggest names in heavy metal of all time, joined by Viking metal giants, thrash metal legends, heavy/power metal veterans (who – by the way – turned away Lars Ulrich in the early eighties), and the American heavy metal band with two incredibly hot front women… what a night!
It started out a little rough. First of all, this venue is beautiful. It’s large, but not quite arena sized – so it doesn’t feel too impersonal while still boasting a massive stage and a large crowd capacity. However, the staff here seemed to be lost from the get go. I have never had so many problems getting a photo pass and getting into a show. It seemed as if the schedule was a little messed up as well, since most of the crowd was still stuck outside in a line when the Butcher Babies went on. Luckily, I made it just in time to snap some photos of this female fronted powerhouse, but the venue was still mostly empty. Also, the stage was about 7ft high, which is by far the tallest stage I have ever seen, and was beyond a pain in the ass to shoot any of the bands.
It pains me to say, but I must remain honest – I really don’t like the Butcher Babies. Their style is not something I seek out in a heavy metal band. That being said, seeing them live, and feeling their high energy and demanding presence made me consider following them more closely in the future. I can’t listen to their albums, but I can confidently say I’d see them live again. Especially from a photographers point of view, what a blast it was to shoot these gorgeous women. The rest of the band seemed to be placed on the back burner, so it would have been nice to see the same high energy from everyone else, aside from the vocalists. Metal Church was next, and definitely one of my favorite sets of the night. These guys were a bucket list band for me, that I never really thought I’d get to see live. ‘Blessing in Disguise’ changed my life, and while I haven’t been keeping up with their newest albums, the guys are sharing their newest release, ‘XI’ with eager fans new and old around the US.
Another band I have never seen live – and never really expected to – Suicidal Tendencies was up next. This band was one of those that just never quite hit my radar growing up. Of course I saw their band shirts and merchandise everywhere, I was never quite hooked in by them. Live though, these guys put on one hell of a show, and literally had photographers chasing them around the stage back and forth the entire time we were allowed to shoot. I have no idea how these guys kept up that chase, but I am happy to say I was able to get some cool shots nonetheless, and had a total blast watching the rest of their set from the crowd. Vocalist Mike Muir walked into the crowd to meet some fans after their set, and I was able to shake his hand – and what a humble and nice guy he was.
Amon Amarth took the stage next with their gigantic Viking ship commandeering the massive stage. It seemed like these guys just toured through Denver, when they sold out the Ogden Theater and had multiple make-shift first aid stations thrown together and three ambulances outside halfway through their set. Let’s just say, they needed a bigger venue, and they really delivered one hell of a show. The set list was a nice mix of their classic hits with a few of their newer tunes thrown in. They had three (or four?) different enormous backdrops and as everyone knows, I absolutely love my Vikings. One of the coolest things for me that night was seeing such great artwork up there, and seeing so many people getting into the Viking theme.
The highlight of the night of course, was Megadeth. The last time I saw these guys, they played a much smaller stage and while the stage still looked great, seeing them on a large stage is how they are meant to be seen. It is no news that Dave Mustaine isn’t really known for super high energy performances. And honestly, this one felt a little lackluster from both him and bassist, David Ellefson. Though, it might be because the guys share the stage with Brazillian prog/power metal powerhouse Kiko Loureiro (from Angra) who seems to run literal laps around everyone. The set was great, and I absolutely love their animations they have going on the many screens behind them, the fog machines, and the giant moving light fixtures.
All in all, I give this show a 3.5/5 stars. It really has nothing to do with the bands themselves, despite the quite tame Megadeth performance, but the venue really dropped the ball it seemed. This venue isn’t really well known for metal shows, as I have only seen pop stars and country acts play it – and maybe this is why. I read multiple start times online, and it seemed as if no one really knew what was going on. Had I been stuck in the line outside the venue after the show started I would have been pretty pissed. I am glad I was able to convince the venue staff that I was there as press, and even had proof of confirmation from the band’s labels that they didn’t seem to buy at first, but after all the chaos and running around – I had a good time!
So if your city is on that list, make it out! This lineup is legendary, and all of the bands totally killed it.