Megadeth: Rust In Peace Live (DVD/CD)
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
Release Date: September 7th, 2010
Studio: Shout! Factory
Date Filmed: March 31st, 2010
Venue: The Palladium, Hollywood CA
Run Time: 80 minutes
My rating points:
When Megadeth embarked on their monumentally historic Rust In Peace 20th anniversary tour across North America earlier this year, the fans knew that they were in for a rather special treat. But in addition to that, the band pulled a major surprise out of the bag when it was announced that the final night of the tour in Hollywood would be filmed for a DVD release. Here is that DVD, ready for release, and this is an exciting time for the fans.
The DVD cover art, by Los Angeles photographer Kaley Nelson, shows the outside of the Palladium with the marquee reading 'Megadeth - Sold Out'. It's simple yet artistic in the sense that seeing the cover and opening the DVD case symbolizes stepping inside the Palladium for a live Megadeth experience.
'You all know why we're here, right? Here we go!' yells Mustaine as the DVD starts off with 'Holy Wars ... The Punishment Due', the first song of the album being celebrated here. Even though this wasn't the first song they played that night, it makes perfect sense to lay focus on the Rust In Peace material above all else.
Aided by a multitude of cameras that offer a variety of perspectives, the live Rust In Peace experience continues. Having said that, editors Keegan Martin and Mark David have done an excellent job. The video cuts from one shot to the next at a low rate, making it easy on the eye, giving viewers at home the full chance to enjoy a particular shot of the musicians performing their parts. For me this is an extremely important aspect of a live DVD that promises the first-row experience. If you are in the first row at a concert, do you shift your eyes around every half a second? No! There are quite a few DVDs out there that are edited at a disconcertingly fast pace. This isn't one of them. In fact, throughout the DVD, they've made every effort to highlight the standout elements in each song while giving sufficient amounts of footage to all four members, and not just the highly esteemed frontman.
Even though the focus is on the band, as it should be, they've not shied away from showing the crowd rocking out and screaming away, including the odd crowd surfer. Not only does that represent the true energy and brutality that was packed in plenty inside the Palladium that night, but also proves how the band, through sheer music, induces those qualities into its fans. If you were there that night, look out for your appearance in the video. 'And that was Rust In Peace!' shouts Dave Mustaine, as the band finishes playing the title song. The main content of the video doesn't begin the same way as the concert did, but it sure ends that way, with a reprise version of Holy Wars. According to what Ellefson said in an interview I did with him, the reason for doing this reprise version despite having played the full song earlier in the set is to tie in with the whole Rust In Peace theme, and after watching this entire thing, you would concur.
Coming to the sound mix, the most noteworthy thing here is that they've kept with the 'live feel' of the performance, even when the guitar solos are not exactly note-per-note perfect and there doesn't appear to be any sort of 'doctoring' at all, something that bands often do to mask their errors. Not to say that the solos weren't done correctly, it's just that there was a little improvisation going with some of them, and that's perfectly fine. Also adding to this live feel are Shawn Drover's drums that have a very distinctive sound, specially when compared to the original record. Rounding it off, David Ellefson and Chris Broderick on backing vocals give it a rather fierce edge overall. So while many say that the original album has the most 'perfect mix' out of all Megadeth albums, almost too perfect for its time, the band and the mixing crew here have succeeded in giving the fans a unique live version of it.
The bonus content features six songs from other albums played that night, starting with 'Skin O' My Teeth' and ending with 'Peace Sells'. This is followed by some very rare behind the scenes footage interspersed with shots of the tremendously anticipative fans that waited outside the venue for hours on end. This is a great build-up that gives a glimpse into what a band like Megadeth does before a big show, and as a viewer sitting at home your excitement is bound to soar, specially if you're one of the lucky few who were there and get to see yourself in this footage.
Special mention has to be made of David Ellefson's return, which makes this DVD of already epic proportions even more special. With due respect to the previous two bassists James LoMenzo and James MacDonough, two very skilled performers in their own right that did a great job in Megadeth, if as a fan of the band you have any complaints about Ellefson's return, you've got to be kidding me. Watching Ellefson playing Dawn Patrol, Poison Was The Cure and Peace Sells are some of the major highlights of the entire performance.
The only blemish here is that the two Endgame songs played that night, Headcrusher and The Right To Go Insane are missing from the DVD. I for one was very much looking forward to see these on video, as obviously they've not been featured on any of the previous DVDs. I somewhat understand why they didn't include these, as this is supposed to be a "Rust In Peace plus other fan favorites" package, but if they deemed those songs fit to be part of the live set, the same should have been the case with the DVD set as well. I'm pretty sure these were filmed, so I hope they are released as part of a bonus feature or collectors' edition somewhere down the road. Also, I would have liked to see more interviews with band members in the bonus footage, this being such a historic tour, to get to know what it means to them.
As an attending fan that night, this is a great way to relive it, taking a closer look at what the band is doing on stage and how the fans (may be even yourself) in the crowd are reacting to it. As for the other people, it's a unique chance to make you feel like a part of it. The most interesting aspect of this DVD is, it can be viewed in two ways. One is in the given order, watching it how the band wants you to watch it, and the other is to get the whole 'I feel like I'm there' experience (bar the Endgame songs), for which I would suggest watching it in this order:
Overall, this endeavour by Megadeth and their crew headed by director Kerry Asmussen to bring a live rendition of the band's landmark Rust In Peace album to your living rooms, ipods and car stereos will go down as an excellent one, appreciated and treasured by fans the world over. It's befitting that it was filmed in Los Angeles of all places, right where Megadeth began.
This is a breathtaking perspective to a technically brilliant yet face-smashing band, live in concert, delivering a piece of their most celebrated history.
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