MD2: Mega-Disaster Revisited
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
April 2nd 2010, Los Angeles CA
Whoever the almighty forces are, it's pretty clear that they don't like the fact that I'm an insanely dedicated Megadeth fan, the fact I'm always prepared to wait hours and hours in line to get into their shows and always ready to travel across international borders to see them perform, money permitting. I'm pretty sure you'll agree with this should you choose to read the remainder of this article. This sure would be a roller coaster ride for all you readers out there.
Megadeth decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their epic masterpiece effort 'Rust In Peace' by doing a 30-day tour across North America along with fellow California thrashers Testament and Exodus. On top of that they reunited with long time former bassist and co-founder David Ellefson. The show in my town was the last of the tour, at the Hollywood Palladium. I can't even express how much this show meant to me and how eagerly I was waiting for it. On top of all this, I found out on the morning of March 31st that this particular event would be filmed for an upcoming DVD.
So I reached the venue at 10.30 AM and was glad to know that I was only the ninth person in line. It's always great to hang out with other people who have the same dedication. They are the people who really care enough to be spending this much of time waiting in line. The first two people in line were a couple who even slept the whole night just to be the first in line. The guy used to play in a local thrash metal band called Exmortus and is a friend of mine. Kudos go out to him and his wife for doing what they did. So it was fun talking to him and to other people who started joining the line behind me. It was a great atmosphere. This is how it should be like at all shows, but sadly it doesn't happen and I miss that. Barring a few of the really big names, great bands including Kreator are forced to play at small venues like House Of Blues, where there is hardly any queue before the doors open. The sheer feeling I get after I've waited a number of hours in line, seeing the band finally hit the stage, is the most ultimate feeling you'll ever get at a concert. Nothing beats that.
Time was moving along quite swiftly and it was 4 o' clock before I even realised it, which meant that it was almost time for my interview with David Ellefson. Now, I had done 75 interviews before this one, but this really meant the whole world to me, to be able to talk one on one for a good 15 minutes or so with the co-founder of Megadeth. For me he is the most important member in their history along with obviously Dave Mustaine. So I went to the backstage entrance and waited for their tour manager to escort me inside. In the meanwhile, Chris Broderick walked up to me and said hello, asking me how I've been. He's one of the nicest guys I've ever met and it's always good to catch up with him. The last time I met him was at NAMM in January, and the fact that he remembered me then, acknowledged my review of their December gig and thanked me for it, means a whole lot. I do what I do because after all I'm just a fan who is passionate about the bands and about metal. So when bands themselves appreciate that, it's more than anything I could ever ask for.
Anyway, the interview went really well. David really opened up and spoke at length to deliver some great answers to my ten questions. As you might have read, the interview had its laughs as well. It was an absolute pleasure and honor to talk to him. After the interview I said goodbye to him, wished him luck for the show coming up and exited the area. I also met Shawn Drover along the way, a really down to earth guy and always willing to talk. I got back to my spot in line at close to 4.45.
The will-call window opened at 5 o' clock. This is where I was supposed to pick up my ticket from, as my name was supposed to be on Megadeth's guest list. They told me that the list will be available only after doors open. I was already upset about that, because it meant that I waited in line for basically nothing at all. I did have friends in line with me, those whom I let cut in with me and I asked them to save a spot for me in case I didn't get to go in with them at 6 o' clock when the doors would open. The doors opened. Everybody in line got in, including my friends, the ones who basically took my spot. There was no list yet. I waited till 6.30. They finally had the list. I went up, showed my ID and asked for my ticket. The girl on the desk told me my name wasn't on it and I should call up my contact to check. I called up the Megadeth manager and she told me she was never given my name for the list. Even though I told her that I interviewed Ellefson and my name has to be on the list, she said that the ticket, interview and photo lists are separate and there is nothing she could do about it, unless I call the person who originally hooked me up with the credentials. I didn't have that person's cell number and she was in a different time zone so there was no way she would pick up her office phone. So the verdict from all this was, I wasn't getting into the show. I repeat. I wasn't getting into this show.
Rob Shay from the Megadeth staff walked up to me while I was waiting outside, and told me that he remembered me because my Broderick interview was up on the official website not so long ago. I told him everything and he promised to me that he would look for Ellefson backstage and see if he could do something, then come back out and get me in. I also met Courtney and Linda from the Iron Maidens at the box office. They had backstage passes and Courtney told me she would talk to David and call me within an hour if she is able to do anything. Again, thank you Courtney. But as it turned out, I was standing outside when the show started and I was standing outside, crying, even after Exodus were done playing. Todd from Live Nation was kind enough to understand the situation and gave me a wristband, but told me I had to wait until just before Testament start playing. I really appreciate what he did and if you're reading this, I'm ready to do whatever you need from me in the future. But in the meanwhile, Rob Shay came back out to check on me, as he had promised, and gave me his wife's ticket to get me in to the show. I really can't thank him enough. There are people out there who can't even pull off a simple task of transferring the correct guest list. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody, because whoever's fault it was, in the end it affected me deeply and nothing will ever change that. But it's great that the band members and their staff have been incredibly nice to me over the past few months.
Anyway, so I got in at around 8 o' clock, to obviously find the GA floor full of massive shitloads of people, all of whom came to the venue after me. I couldn't find my friends because they were right in the front row, on the rail, while I was 30 rows behind. At a huge floor like that there was no way I could have even managed to do that and even if I did, with the kind of pushing and shoving for spots going on, my friends wouldn't have been able to save a spot for me anyway. I knew that I wouldn't get on the rail for this show, despite waiting 8 hours for it and I knew that the people who cut in line with me would be there for the whole show at my expense. I don't blame them for that. They had their own tickets, even though I got tickets for some of them, they got their (my) spot on the rail and they enjoyed the show! Anything wrong with that? No sir!
I let out all my frustration when Testament played their first song by going straight into the mosh pit. I really enjoyed that. It's something I never do at shows because I go to shows to watch the band on stage from as close as possible, sing along and bang my head with the music. But this was a different experience. What ruined it for me though was when I left the mosh pit and tried to get to the front few rows. It was so brutal in there that I fell down flat on the floor multiple times and lost my wallet in the process. This happened during the third or fourth song. After that I couldn't enjoy the rest of their set, at all. I just wish I hadn't realised about the wallet at that time.
I don't even know what they were playing because my mind wasn't even on the music. I knew before the show that they would play the whole Legacy album, and then some. They will probably never do it again, and I'll never get to see it properly. People tell me, 'Hey, things happen for a reason man'. Well, if you ever find out the reason why ALL THIS happened to me, please feel free to call me, text me, email me, add me on facebook, myspace, twitter or however you may please.
There was a loud roar in the crowd when the Megadeth Rust In Peace art filled the stage backdrop. The old school Black Sabbath intro started ringing in our ears just as they were about to hit the stage. Hardcore fans would know that this is the same intro they used on the original tour back in 1990 and it was just surreal. It was like a trip back in time. Exactly like my MD1 experience in Vancouver, whatever happened before this was a thing of the past, even though I'll never really forget it. Once the music starts, it really takes over and my mind and body are out of my control from then on. Same thing happened here as well as they went on with playing three songs to open the set before going into the Rust In Peace set in album order, also playing a few more songs to end the show after that. My chances of getting on the upcoming DVD are not as great as they really SHOULD have been, but what can one do when everything goes against you like that! Having said that, I still hope I make an appearance on the video.
I was singing along to every lyric and head banging to every note of the music that was being played on stage as I managed to get up to the third row. The highlight of the night for me was when Chris came over to our side and while playing a solo, looked directly at me, probably recognised me and said 'What's up!!' Other than that, I can't express how much I enjoyed David Ellefson's performance and stage presence. It was a treat to watch him. He is The bassist who belongs in Megadeth and nowhere else. If people really argue that he wasn't an important member, it means they are new fans that just started listening to Megadeth. When he played the intros to 'Poison Was The Cure', 'Dawn Patrol' and 'Peace Sells', I cried with sheer joy and disbelief every single time. I never thought I would be able to see him do this.
The show ended, an amazing performance by Megadeth yet again and they proved that they never disappoint their fans, bringing out their most classic line-up in such grand style. But the trouble for me wasn't over. I looked for my wallet after almost everybody left the venue, still didn't find it. When I went to the parking lot to meet up with my friend, a guy whose car I kept my camera and recorder in, I found out that he had cracked his head open while surfing his way out of the pit and left way earlier with the car to the hospital. So I had to wait till the next day to get that stuff back.
I think I should stop now. I'll get back to you with MD3 after the American Carnage show at the Long Beach Arena featuring Megadeth, Slayer and Testament. I hope you enjoyed reading.
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