Last Friday, those wholesome middle aged men from Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer rolled their wagons into Big D, the first stop on the second leg of the "Clash of the Titans" tour. Since I have a passing interest in all three and the $20 ticket price seemed just too good to pass up, I jaunted over to the Superpages.com Center in hope of a spectacle. It was all a bit under-whelming. There was maybe 3,000 in attendance in a venue that can hold three times that.
My unscientific research proclaimed the obligatory black t-shirts favored Slayer 70%, Megadeth 15%, Anthrax 2% and 13% other... Pantera was well represented. And the jackass wearing the Rod Stewart t-shirt? What can I say? He was beyond ridicule. Myself sported a rather fetching "Ride the Lightning" shirt which I have had for about 20 years and I am pleased it still fits and I got several compliments from the youngsters, one of whom proclaimed to me "I wish Metallica was here, man!". Well, me too, but James and Lars are pricks and so be it...
The Superpages.com center is an amphitheater, half covered / half open to the elements. Not a bad place at all with plenty of elbow room. It is adjacent to Fair Park and it was interesting to see the metalheads crossing paths with the fried turkey leg crowd heading into the Texas State Fair.
Anthrax came on at 7pm, played for 40 mins and were better than I hoped or remembered. Some minor mosh pit action and some low energy head banging. Grade: B
Megadeth played for maybe an hour and 15 mins, sounded great and while Mustaine is a bit of a prima donna (changing shirts, the ridiculous double-neck guitar), their set was solid and enjoyable. The first half was a bit bland for me, only later did I realize they had played Rust in Peace in its entirety. The second half was better - maybe because I knew Symphony for Destruction, Peace Sells... etc. Decent mosh pit, good crowd energy. Grade B+
And so it was on to Slayer. I have some of their stuff, a live CD and a few other bits and pieces and I was hoping they would burn up the stage. They didn't. I counted 38 Marshall amps. It was a sea of noise. I felt like I was inside the engine of a huge locomotive that was never greased and was overheating. About half way through, I moved back and sat on the grass near the rear of the amphitheater and the sound was significantly better. I could actually make out the lyrics and hear the bass. The first several songs focused on their new material Seasons in the Abyss, which I will not rush to buy based on the live performance. By the time I relocated they fired up Raining Blood, South of Heaven, Angel of Death and the show was much more enjoyable... I think for the most part the audience was pretty much riveted to their standing spots by the sheer jet blast of noise. There was no discernible slam pit and the metal heads were statue-like. Grade B-
Much better review than I could ever write is here -
So after a couple of the $12 beers and a perusal of the $40 concert t-shirts, I empathized with my young "And Justice For All" friend, wishing that grizzled old Metallica were part of the line up. While it was not the worst $20 I have ever spent, something was missing.