[phlipcam video] Megadeth + Slayer @ the Tsongas Center

It doesn't get any more metal than that. For the sake of sidestepping repetition, I'm just going to throw that sentence out there this one time and you can mentally insert it following every sentence from here on out. Because when it comes down to it, it really doesn't get any more metal than Saturday's clinic in thrash at the Tsongas Center by way of Slayer and Megadeth.

The occasion for this meeting of metal minds was to mark the 20th anniversary of Slayer's Seasons In The Abyss and Megadeth's Rust In Peace. The recently trending concept of playing entire albums front-to-back is growing increasingly irritating thanks to it's uncanny ability to suck the element of surprise from a live show. But it actually worked on this night, not only because both albums in question preside on such a lofty pedestal, but also because both move at such breakneck speeds. It's resoundingly difficult to assume the role of pretentious music critic when your head is moving at 120 BPMs (bangs per minute).

First up was Megadeth, who opened their set with "Holy Wars", signifying a run through Rust before moving onto the foolproof crowd pleasers. A perfect indicator of the classic ferocity of their set can be found in the fact that they only played one song recorded in the past twelve years and it's called "Head Crusher" and Dave Mustaine prefaced it by informing us that the song is about crushing people's heads in a vice. Megadeth give off a serious classic rock aura. Not in the hokey sense that a band like Aerosmith cheeses out on a nightly basis. But rather in the sense that you're witnessing something legendary, with Mustaine absolutely shredding his V-shaped guitar and literally bowing down before his fans, who reciprocated his appreciation by punching their metal horns as hard as their shoulder sockets would allow.

It was immediately clear what we were in for when Slayer took to the stage, before they even played a note. Jeff Hanneman wearing catcher shin guards and Kerry King using a 10-pound linked chain as a belt were both telling clues that Slayer would not be fucking around on this evening. And after opening with a pair of motoring cuts from the recent World Painted Blood, they got right into Seasons and eventually wrapped the set with the blistering threesome of "South of Heaven","Raining Blood" and "Angel of Death" that threatened to rip the roof off of the Tsongas Center. There's a reason Dave Lombardo is regarded as one of the best metal drummers of all time. While the other three members get off on berating their instruments as hard as possible, Lombardo works the whole kit and conducts the changes as proficiently as any drummer I've ever seen live.

As for the crowd, I was initially sour that I couldn't get seats down on the floor which in turn would've gotten me better footage to share here. But then about midway through the Megadeth set, from the safety of my rafter seat, I witnessed a 400-pound monster of a man, who eerily resembled Ethan Suplee's character from American History X, pick up a fellow concert goer, place the unfortunate bystander sideways along his shoulders, and proceed to spin around like a helicopter, à la Bruno Sammartino circa WWF 1975. And for the first time in my life, I was thankful to be in the cheap seats.

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