Gigantour Comerica Theatre Saturday, February 25
I'm no metalhead, but I recognize dedication when I see it. I spent last night at the Gigantour, featuring Megadeth, Motorhead, Lacuna Coil, and Volbeat, packed into Comerica theatre with people from all generations, cloaked in the blackest of black, all with a shared desire to have their eardrums raped by machine-gun drumming and shredding guitars.
As I walked into Comerica Theatre on a seasonal Saturday evening, I took note that the red shirt I had on was way too colorful and made me stick out like Waldo in the crowd of dark shirts. Turns out I had no need to worry: Regardless of my lack of long hair and tattoo sleeves, I was welcomed into the fascinating and fast-paced world of metal.
Following sets by Lacuna Coil and Volbeat, metal god Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead took the stage. After plowing through "Bomber," guitarist Phil Campbell asked the crowd, "Do you want us to play even fucking louder?" Of course the crowd did, and of course, so did Motorhead. The English band, who are considered to be the godfathers of metal, played a few songs from their newest album, The World Is Yours. The first of these songs they played was, "I Know How to Die," and the moshpit on the floor grew to the largest size it had been all night. After "The Chase Is Better than the Catch," the three metal gods took a pause to have a drink and raise their cups in cheers to the crowd, which was fitting considering the majority of people last night were just as interested in the beer they were pounding as listening to the drums that were pounding. Speaking of drums, how about Mikkey Dee? The band's drummer was alone on stage during, "The One to Sing the Blues," and he executed the best drum solo I have ever seen for a solid three minutes. His drum set was raised high above the stage, and after I watched his arms flail at incredible speeds and accuracy, I understood why. Mikkey Dee is a drumming god.
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The band continued to rock Comerica with "Killed by Death," where I witnessed a man getting carried out of the moshpit by security with what appeared to be a broken leg. Yup. Badass. The crowd was electrified when Lemmy announced the second-to-last song, "Ace of Spades," arguably heir best known song. The headbanging continued, the moshing continued, and they ended their set with "Overkill." After the band finished the last song, Lemmy in all of his Lemmyness reminded people, "Don't forget us. We are Motorhead. And we play fucking rock 'n' roll." They took a bow, and the crowd went nuts.
Motorhead played for nearly an hour and vibrated the walls of Comerica with 11 of their songs. Part of me wonders how the hell Lemmy still does what he does after all of the drugs and alcohol he has injested over the years. Another part of me was a little disappointed that the iconic band didn't get a little more time on stage. I mean, come on, it's Motorhead.
At 9:40, the lights behind the curtain illuminated the shadows of the all mighty Megadeth as the drumming began for the song, "Trust." Clearly this is the band folks are here to see -- there were almost as many Megadeth shirts as there were people. Everyone made it to their seats to watch the band as they went through songs from the 13 albums they have had over their career. They played songs from their new album, Thirteen, including the most known, "Public Enemy #1."
The 10-time Grammy nominees (never won), sounded good and still moved around and head-banged pretty well considering they are in their 50s. Christian Scabbia of Lacuna Coil came back on stage to sing a duet for, "A Tout le Monde," which appeared to be a crowd favorite. Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick left the stage on four different occasions throughout their set for about 30 seconds at a time, which did seem to break a little bit of the metal momentum. After pleasing the crowd with "Symphony of Destruction," and "Peace Sells," they said goodnight and walked off of the stage. The thousands of headbanging fans, however, weren't done with them yet, and chanted, "MEGADETH," enough times for them to come back on stage for "Holy Wars." Their energy was great, and they played for about an hour and15 minutes. The fans came to see Megadeth, and that is exactly what they got, and everyone seemed to be very pleased with the show.
Lacuna Coil was the first of four bands to play and they walked on stage at exactly 6:30, as scheduled. The six-piece is fronted by female vocalist, Christina Scabbia, and came armed with confidence and stage presence, as they began to play songs from their album, Dark Adrenaline. Comerica was only about half full when they started, and people slowly trickled in as the three guitarists shared licks. The people brave enough to be on the floor closest to the stage began bouncing like popcorn, one by one, in approval to what they were hearing from the Italian metal band. The most noteworthy of the songs was "Trip the Darkness." The song is catchy, but the vocals could have been cranked up a bit. Oh, well, opening-band blues, right?
Something has to be said about the crew working on this tour. The transitions between bands were impressive and very timely. Lacuna Coil ended their set at 7 p.m., and by 7:15, the stage was set for Volbeat. Hailing from Denmark, the band came on stage and the crowd was a little more welcoming (there was a decent number of Volbeat shirts in the crowd). The band tore into "A Warrior's Call" and almost all the seats were abandoned The same people who were bouncing during Lacuna Coil had morphed into the moshpitting metalheads I expected to see.
Lead vocalist Michael Poulsen demanded the crowd create a mosh circle as he yelled, "I know you guys can do it." And everyone followed orders. I was pleasantly surprised to see an acoustic guitar on stage as Poulsen asked the crowd if they knew who the Man in Black was. Shortly after the masses screamed back to the stage in unison, "Johnny Cash," they began playing "Sad Man's Tongue." The band began with a few seconds of a traditional version of the song, which very soon got kidnapped by a rapid thumping Volbeat version of the song that the band plays often.
Gigantour did not disappoint. It was over four hours of heart-pounding metal. I walked to my car after the show, and listened as people were talking about how badass the show was, and what parts were their favorites. I came to the street my car was parked on, and there was a girl clad in black sitting on a curb vomiting an obnoxious amount. I looked at her with concern, and with her Megadeth bandanna and a drooling stream of vomit dripping down her chin, she gave me the devil horns and said, "Metal." Metal indeed, Phoenix. Metal indeed.
Motorhead "Bomber" "Damage Case" "I Know How to Die" "Metropolis" "Over the Top" "Chase Is Better than the Catch" "The One to Sing the Blues" "Going to Brazil" "Killed By Death" "Ace of Spades" "Overkill"
"Trust" "Wake Up Dead" "We the People" "Hangar 18" "Sweating Bullets" "Public Enemy # 1" "Whose Life" "Guns, Drugs & Money" "Ashes in Your Mouth" "Angry Again" "A Tout le Monde (with Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil)" "Watch Me Lose Control" "Symphony of Destruction" "Dawn Patrol" "Peace Sells"
Last Night: Gigantour (Lacuna Coil, Volbeat, Motorhead, and Megadeth) at Comerica Theatre.
Personal Bias: I've never owned a Megadeth CD, and don't consider myself a big fan of metal. I went in to the show with admiration for Lemmy, and mostly because he is such a hardcore badass.
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The Crowd: 30- to 40-somethings and some younger folk, dressed in black and ready to headbang.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I would love to have Lemmy's baby," said a guy with a mohawk.
Random Notebook Dump: Goddamn, my ears hurt.