|Megadeth, Soulfly, Arch Enemy &
Caliban - October 22, 2006
Sydney, AUS - Hordern Pavilion
My Gigantour experience started out much earlier than the 5:30 pm opening venue time. A little over a week ago I started to get excited to the fact that I was going to be seeing Arch Enemy for the first time, I would be seeing Max Cavalera for the first time since the Sepultura Chaos A.D. Tour of 1994 in the same venue and I was going to witness another line-up of Megadeth within eighteen months time. As a long time lover of so many metal bands to see three of my favorites all in one place on the same night was always going to be amazing. Of course Caliban was another international name on the bill but more about those guys later.
On the morning of Oct 22nd along with a good friend of mine, I attended Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott's guitar clinic, which was held in Annandale just on the outskirts of Sydney. The in-store appearance was scheduled for 12:30 pm and of course started a little later than expected. When Michael arrived there was a crowd of about sixty metal fans, fans of all ages. Fans who have been around not only to witness the latest creation of Arch Enemy, but Arch Enemy's earlier successes before Angela joined and of course there were the diehard fans there who remember and loved Michael's work with legendary metal band Carcass.
Michael sat down on a stool no more than two feet away from me Krank amp stack behind him and resting his signature model ESP on his lap. The first thirty to forty minutes was spent answering fans questions. Anything anyone wanted to know Michael was more than happy to answer. I found this time as a great opportunity to ask Michael a whole bunch of questions. Enough actually that it could have resulted in a mini interview. I asked Michael why it had taken the band so long to initially set up an Australian tour, he answered jokingly saying "we didn't know the place existed", then when on to say that offers had been made over the years but nothing ever really eventuated until last December when the band first toured Australia. I also asked Michael how they chose the set list that was perfect for all fans and for the band. A question he really enjoyed. Michael said that many fans are only familiar with the last three Arch Enemy albums so the majority of songs are compiled from those albums. He also went on to say that after so many years they have played all their songs live and no one songs work better in the set for the fans and band!
Throughout the course of the Q & A Michael was quite contempt sitting their dabbling on his custom ESP. Many fans asked about tuning, using various pedals onstage etc and whilst answering those questions he would play examples using songs such as 'Dead Eyes See No Future', 'Nemesis' and 'Ravenous' to name a few.
At one point Michael had asked if anyone in the crowd knew any Arch Enemy songs and offered them the floor and his signature model to shows us a few riffs. No one took up the offer which was unfortunate but I took it as a great opportunity to ask Michael about the recent competition the band held in the United States where a seventeen year old fan joined the band onstage to play 'Ravenous'. Michael commented how amazing the guy was and how funny it was. He went on to say that the guy who won never even intended on entering the competition, that he was there to drop off friends who convinced him to try out. During the Q & A one fan asked Michael if he had listed to much extreme Australian metal, Michael answered saying "AC/DC, Rose Tattoo" I laughed my ass off at that. Let's face it if you're in a rock/metal band anywhere outside of Australia chances are you're going to know about Rose Tattoo and you must be from another planet not to know about Ac/dc. I thought that was one of the great answers of the afternoon.
Once the Q & A was rapped up and Michael had stopped playing his killer looking ESP signature model we all formed a line where Michael signed a bunch of promotional posters and posed for photos. We thanked Michael for his time and told him we would be seeing him in a couple of hours at the next in-store appearance which was to feature the whole band.
So, we left Annandale and headed back into Sydney's home of heavy metal Utopia records where I caught up with some friends old and new, talking about the clinic we just attended and metal in general. Utopia which has recently relocated is now in a great location and is set up really well for in-store appearances. The store had plenty of staff on hand to handle the three hundred strong crowd that was there to meet Arch Enemy.
We were about halfway in the line-up which was moving through the store pretty fast while Arch Enemy's Live Apocalypse DVD blasted in the background. It was awesome to finally get to meet the whole band and although we only got a few mins to get some items signed it was great to see them all up close and of course to get a photo with Angela. Man, I tell ya Angela looked amazing up close and I still can't believe she's so small. Throughout the whole in-store Angela sat there with a smile on her face happy to pose with all fans who asked for photos. All the guys were just as equally cool and were more than happy to pose for photos. Once we had our Arch Enemy items signed we stayed around for about twenty minutes to take a bunch of photos of the guys then decided to head down to the Hordern Pavilion for what was going to be a night of Melodic Mayhemic Metal Music.
When we arrived the line-up to get in the doors was already quite long, so we decided to go and sit down at the pub across the road where I met up with Andy and Biscuit from Aussie metal band Lord. We sat around having a chat for a while before deciding that we would go and join the end of the growing line to get in the gates.
When we did finally get inside Caliban, who were first on the bill had already played most of their set. We caught the last two songs and I have to say I was really surprised with these guys. Before the show I can't say I really knew too much about these guys but from what I heard they were okay. Caliban played to a pretty decent sized crowd who all seemed to be enjoying them.
Second band up for the night was the one band I was really looking forward to seeing...Arch Enemy. By the time these guys took the stage the venue had a good three thousand strong metal fans ready to go crazy. The crowd started chanting Arch Enemy... Arch Enemy and not too long after the lights dimmed and the band kicked off the opening chords of Nemesis. The crowd was instantly going nuts as pits opened all around and Arch Enemy fans surged to the front with full force. Onstage the band was floorless, tight and loud. Everything I expected from these guys was delivered in the forty five minute set they gave to Sydney fans. Angela sounded absolutely amazing. For such a small women she has such a massive voice and stage presence. Arch Enemy's set consisted of many of the bands better known songs such as 'We will Rise', 'Dead Eyes See No Future', 'My Apocalypse' and 'Ravenous' which was my highlight of their set. Sometime during the set one of my shoes has become loose and at one point all I was thinking was I'm about to lose my shoe and my foots gonna get crushed. Luckily that didn't happen but it was just a reminder of how psychotic the crowd were down the front. Lighting and sound was fantastic for these guys and the crowd loved every minute that Angela and the guys spent on that stage. No doubt for me Arch Enemy owned the Hordern Pavilion that night and was the highlight band for many of the punters that purchased tickets. I walked away from Arch Enemy's set totally dehydrated, with one hell of a sore neck and very sore throat!
Third band of the night was Soulfly, and for me it was somewhat surreal to see Max Cavalera for the first time in twelve years in the same venue I had originally seen him in on the Chaos A.D. Tour. I was really excited to see Max back in Australia. The crowd also excited were chanting Max's name until the lights dimmed. Soulfly hit the stage with 'Babylon' which is my favorite song from the Dark Ages Cd. Not only did I want to hear that but it was by far a fantastic choice for an opening song. The guys hit the stage hard and within minuets I had lost what was left of my voice. It was fantastic to see Bobby Burns onstage, knowing only six weeks earlier Bobby had suffered from a minor stroke. For those who didn’t know that, onstage Bobby never showed it. He was rockin' out as hard as the other guys were. Marc Rizzo was really amazing to watch onstage. I was really disappointed with the fact that Bobby and Marc never really crossed over to the opposite sides of the stage during the set but to see these guys live is certainly an experience. Musically the band was tight, Max's vocals were killer and the lighting was great. Soulfly did a really decent set including Arise Again, Back To The Primitive, The Prophecy and Bleed which also featured Max's son Ritchie who joined Soulfly onstage and man he sounded great! By far the biggest applause of the night went to two songs 'Roots Bloody Roots' and 'Refuse/Resist'. Oh my fucking god how insane was that? My neck, my throat gone my back, smashed, crowd surfer mayhem, mosh pit central. No doubt that the Sepultura tracks were the highlights for many of Max's fans. Hearing 'Refuse/Resist' was so weird for me. I closed my eyes for a moment and was transported back to 1994. It was fantastic. In all I really enjoyed Soulfly but like most people would have loved to have seen Andreas, Paulo and Igor on that stage too. In saying that and in all fairness to Soulfly, the band were fuckin' awesome, I loved their tracks and I loved the trip down memory lane hearing max sing Sepultura songs live once again. Soulfly have to be witnessed live. They tore it up!
Between sets I kept going outside to get some air and grab a bottle or two of water. During this time I ran into many friends which was great, we all had a chance to catch up, talk about the show thus far etc. By the end of Soulfly's set I was done. I wasn't really sure how I was going to endure ninety minutes of Megadeth. Mustaine and the guys hit the stage running opening with the title track from "The System Has Failed" I was very worried that I was about to witness the exact same Megadeth show I had seen no more than fifteen months earlier. That was not the case at all. Firstly the sound was much more equalized then the last Megadeth gig and the lighting show and backdrop looked phenomenal in comparison. It had been sometime since I had witnessed such a great light show for a heavy metal band and it was a really nice change. I chose to really sit back and enjoy Megadeth's set, not going down the front to get smashed around we stood off to the left on the floor and observed the five thousand strong crowd raising metal horns every chance they had. The one thing I noticed quite a lot through out Megadeth's set was Dave would often walk off to the left hand side of the stage talking to a member of his crew. It was obvious that he was having problems with his monitors or something. What I found amazing was how unprofessional Dave was about it. To be honest I was really in two minds when it came to Megadeth live in concert. First thought is how bored I was. Soulfly and Arch Enemy had me hanging on every minute and yet the long drawn Megadeth solos just bored me. In saying that….. If I looked at the show from the point of view as a long time Megadeth fan then it rocked. I had heard many people state they were bored by Megadeth and I can understand 100% why they would say that, but as a fan I really loved the set-list. Some of the highlights for me were 'Wake Up Dead', 'Symphony Of Destruction', 'Peace Cells But Who's Buying', 'Mechanix', 'Skin O My Teeth', 'In My Darkest Hour' and the brand new track 'Washington Is Next'. I really enjoyed hearing the new track live. I would have loved to have heard Dave interact with the crowd a little more. I really love the fact that Megadeth are a band that just hammers out song after song, but I think he would get an even bigger reaction if there was more interaction with the crowd.
Overall the whole day gets one massive HORNS UP from me. There were many highlights from through out the day that I will remember for quite some time! The merchandise all seemed to be really cool too and was reasonably priced as were the ticket prices. Would I go to another Gigantour festival again? Probably, of course it would depend on hat bands were on the bill. I'd like to hope that in 2007 Gigantour makes its way to Australia again. I guess only time will tell!
Reviewed By: Cameron Edney