The Runner – Online Edition: February 22, 2012
There were drunks. There were stoners. There were friends at the Gigantour.
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The fourth installment of the popular heavy metal festival reached the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre, bringing thrash forefathers and alternative newcomers together Monday night. Denim-clad fans came from far and wide, showing off international tour shirts and wearing patches like war medals to illustrate their worldwide dedication to metal.
The 8’000-seater arena was cut in half – at times, it seemed there were more fans at the merch booths than in seats. But the undersized turnout still likely did more damage than your average Abbotsford Heat hockey game, which means it was a good metal show.
Italian gothic metal group Lacuna Coil opened the show with a six-song set that included 2006’s “Our Truth”, 2009’s “Spellbound” and new songs “Upsidedown”, “Kill the Light” and “Trip the Darkness”. The band’s two vocalists, Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, traded off verses, and Scabbia showed off her powerful contralto vocal range.
How many of you listen to CFOX? Do they play Megadeth? … That’s what I thought.
Denmark’s Volbeat followed their act with a headlining-worthy performance of its own. Jon Larsen gave his drums a primal pounding as the band opened with “A Warrior’s Call”, which started a decent moshpit on the floor. The rest of their set contained songs like “Fallen”, “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood”, and their Johnny Cash tribute, “Sad Man’s Tongue”, with baritone lead singer Michael Paulsen not once stumbling over his trademark tongue-twisting lyrics.
No Sleep ‘til Abbotsförd
About 3,000 fans packed the arena before Motörhead took the stage. The English speed metallers brought their standard tour set list, kicking off with four tracks from their two 1979 albums, Bomber and Overkill. They opened with the title track of the former, followed by “Damage Case”, “Stay Clean” and “Over the Top”, as well as “I Know How to Die” off their latest album, The Wörld is Yours.
The diehard fans at the front chanted along word-for-gravelly-word with Lemmy through “The Chase Is Better Than the Catch”, and marvelled at Mikkey Dee’s frantic drum solo during “The One to Sing the Blues” atop his riser.
Despite playing second-to-last, the band more than proved their headlining ability and stayed true to their high-volume slogans “Deaf Forever” and “Everything Louder than Everything Else.”
“You like rock ‘n’ roll, don’t you?” asked Lemmy before Phil Campbell fired up the guitar part for “Going to Brazil”.
They closed with their three biggest tunes: “Killed by Death”, “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”. Yet by the end, the seated crowd was largely still seated.
Megadeth Sells, We’re Buying
Surprisingly, just about everybody who didn’t stand for Motörhead stood for Megadeth when the headliners came out with their go-to opening song, “Trust”. The band changed up the Abbotsford show’s set list, prompting for the double-kicking “Foreclosure of a Dream” off 1992’s Countdown to Extinction and “Hook in Mouth” off 1988’s So Far, So Good… So What!
After founding frontman Dave Mustaine pointed out that drummer Shawn Drover is Canadian, the band descended into the chant-along “Head Crusher” and the Grammy-nominated “Public Enemy No. 1”. The crowd wasn’t as into the show as expected, but moshers – both shirted and shirtless – embraced the new songs, jumping around on the beer-stained floor. (One security-evading fan got onstage during “Five Magics” and dove headfirst back into the crowd, soaring over the lengthy photo pit for a brief spectacle of mind-blowing, likely drunken athleticism.)
Bassist Dave Ellefson and lead guitarist Chris Broderick synchronized their headbanging during “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” and “Guns, Drugs & Money” from 2011’s TH1RT3EN. Marking the end of new tracks, the band performed the underrated “Ashes in Your Mouth” with a dual solo by Mustaine and Broderick.
About an hour into the show, Mustaine invited Scabbia of Lacuna Coil for a spine-chilling duet rendition of Megadeth’s famous ballad, “À Tout le Monde”, sparking a few lighters that were held high. Even though the AESC had become a sweaty, smokey hotbox of marijuana and B.O., there was something romantic in the air with that song.
Following the moshpit-doubling “Symphony of Destruction”, Mustaine looked around menacingly with a grin.
“How many of you listen to CFOX? Do they play Megadeth?” he asked, receiving a mixed reaction. “That’s what I thought.”
Ellefson strummed the bass intro of “Peace Sells”, and after a brief offstage break, the band returned for the encore, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”, attacking the senses with thudding bass, strobing lights and aggressive pushing and shoving in the pit.
At the end of the night, the band received a headbanging ovation, and Mustaine took the microphone one last time before they left.
“You’ve been great. We’ve been Megadeth. Goodnight.”