JAMES LOMENZO MAKES STRONG RETURN TO MEGADETH LINE-UP
Date: September 4, 2021
Venue: Moda Center
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Reviewer: Ruben Mosqueda
Photos: Mike Lewis Photography
YouTube Videos: Andrew Shaner
Megadeth and Lamb of God returned to Portland, Oregon on September 4, 2021 for a sold-out show at the Moda Center. While each have been to the Portland metro area in recent years, this is the first time the two bands have toured together across North America since 2006’s Gigantour. Dubbed ‘The Metal Tour of the Year’, it also featured Hatebreed, who where added shortly after In Flames dropped out. This turned into a huge break for Trvium who were elevated from the first act the bill, to second with an extended set. This is one of those tours where if you’re not in the arena by 5:30 pm, you’re late.
Lamb of God:
I’ve become a huge Lamb of God fan over the years. Their aggressive hybrid of hardcore, thrash and with a touch of punk, really hits the spot. In the past decade, they’ve stepped into the role that Pantera left vacant and they carry the torch proudly. Singer Randy Blythe’s ability take command the stage and win over the audience, even with the most cliche and predictable banter, is second to none. Drummer Art Cruz who has had a few tours and an album under his belt, filled some big shoes with the departure of Chris Adler in 2018. He is the heartbeat of Lamb of God and has revitalized the band. Cruz and bassist John Campbell are a ‘groovetastic’ rhythm section that is bookended by the guitar tandem of Mark Morton and Willie Adler. Lamb of God performed a co-headlining set, but it was an abridged 60 minute set, a far cry from what they do when they’re the headlining act. They were just getting warmed up, when it was over. Included in the set “Walk With Me In Hell,” “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For,” “512,” “Laid To Rest,” and “Redneck.” I cannot wait to see them doing a proper headlining show again.
Lamb of God’s setlist:
01. Memento Mori
03. Walk With Me In Hell
04. Resurrection Man
05. Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
06. Set To Fail
07. New Colossal Hate
11. Laid To Rest
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine’s throat cancer battle has been well publicized. He was given a clean bill of health in October of 2020. Also, well publicized was David Ellefson’s extraction from the band, at his own ‘hand.’ A loss for sure, but anyone that has followed Megadeth over the past 35+ year career knows, Megadeth is pretty much Mustaine. The ‘new’ bass player is James LoMenzo who’s been in the band before, though I didn’t have great memories of those tours he did in the past. Fans had two questions going into this tour. How’s Dave’s vocals? And how’s LoMenzo the second time around?
Dave’s never been a traditional vocalist. He’s more of a ‘snarler,’ but you knew that. Having said that, his voice is about what it’s been over the course of the past three to four tours. Surprisingly, Mustaine’s voice improved two to three songs into the set, which was amazing, considering the rough vocal start. And LoMenzo? He’s seamlessly slipped back into the line-up, like he’s been in the band for the past decade. What’s different about Megadeth on this tour, possibly influenced by LoMenzo’s return, is that everyone is mobile and moving across the stage. There’s choreographed poses ala KISS, Judas Priest or Accept. It’s different given the band members have for the most part stood in the respective spots on the stage. It wasn’t expected. The addition of the LED screens playing footage corresponding to the song performed or music video footage, was an excellent enhancement to the live performance. Guitarist Kiko Loureiro is the best guitarist Mustaine has enlisted since Marty Friedman. Drummer Dirk Verbeuren is an absolute beast pounding away, above the stage, perched on top stacks of guitar cabinets.
Megadeth performing “Symphony of Destruction” live at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, USA on September 4, 2021:
It was a ‘hits’ set this time around. No surprise new tune from the forthcoming album ‘The Sick, The Dying And The Dead’, was injected into the set. We did get “Hanger 18,” “Wake Up Dead,” “Tornado of Souls,” “Symphony of Destruction,” “Sweating Bullets,” “Peace Sells,” and “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due.” As Mustaine introduced “Holy Wars,” he noted “This song was relevant 20 years ago. It was relevant 10 years ago. It was relevant last week.” The ended with a final bow before disappearing into the shadows.
01. Hangar 18
02. Wake Up Dead
03. The Threat Is Real
05. Sweating Bullets
06. Conquer Or Die!
09. Tornado of Souls
10. Symphony of Destruction
11. Peace Sells
12. Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Megadeth performing “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” live at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, USA on September 4, 2021: