It’s been a big year for nostalgia all the way around. Between all the reunions and full-album performances happening these days, it’s almost getting hard to keep score. The overwhelming certainty among all the rediscovery is that there were some damn fine albums released years ago – albums that truly work best in their entirety as opposed to a couple of singles with a heavy dose of B-side material.
By far one of the most influential albums from the thrash era was MEGADETH’s 1990 epic RUST IN PEACE, an album that broke the conventions of the genre and presented it’s songs in movements; carrying with it a political theme that is just as relevant in 2010 as it was two decades ago. Already repackaged in an excellent 2004 “remixed and remastered” edition by Capitol (w/bonus tracks), new listeners are still discovering the album for the first time.
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the album, Megadeth (currently guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine, drummer Shawn Drover, and guitarist Chris Broderick) welcomed back longtime bassist David Ellefson and embarked on a month-long trek to perform RUST IN PEACE in it’s entirety. Recorded and filmed at the Hollywood Palladium on March 31, 2010, RUST IN PEACE: LIVE captures the legendary band on the final night of the tour.
The DVD edition of the concert gets right into the meat of the matter, skipping the usual build-up and anticipation of a Megadeth show, with Mustaine greeting the crowd and ripping promptly into the opening notes of “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” on his signature “Flying V,” customized with RIP graphics via the crew at Dean Guitars.
With only 50% of the original RIP-era lineup present on the DVD, the performances are remarkably accurate with Broderick and Drover doing an excellent job of performing the parts originally played by drummer Nick Menza and guitarist Marty Friedman.
After tearing through the nine-song RIP setlist concluding with “Rust in Peace… Polaris,” Mustaine simply states “And that was RUST IN PEACE,” before quickly exiting the stage – an edit that makes it appear that the concert was coming to an abrupt end – only to see the band return with a shirtless Mustaine graciously thanking the crowd for their love and support amidst a reprise of “Holy Wars,” complete with band introductions.
The missing link between the previously-noted abrupt end the to main performance appears to be presented here with performances of classics from the Megadeth back catalog. “Skin O’ My Teeth,” “In My Darkest Hour,” “She-Wolf,” “Trust,” “Symphony of Destruction,” and “Peace Sells” are all here – sending the crowd into a thrash-induced frenzy.
Also included is an 8-minute behind-the-scenes featurette from the day of the show. Combining fan interviews, crew set-up, and a rare peek at the band in the hours and moments prior to their performance, this reel captures the excitement of the fans in contrast to the business of the band.
In a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment, viewers can catch a glimpse at the actual set list for the evening, revealing that RUST IN PEACE was actually played in the middle of a set which began with “Skin O’ My Teeth,” “In My Darkest Hour,” and “She-Wolf,” concluding with “Trust,” “The Right To Go Insane,” “Headcrusher,” “Symphony of Destruction,” “Peace Sells,” and then the reprise of “Holy Wars.”
Having already released numerous live albums and DVD’s, listeners may notice variations in the songs that might lead them to prefer certain performances over the ones presented here. There’s times on RUST IN PEACE LIVE that things sound a little bit “off” in terms of vocals or instrumentation, but that’s the beauty of a live recording – getting to hear the minor imperfections that come with a legitimate live performance.
I would have preferred to see the concert presented in the order in which it was played, along with the curiously omitted “Headcrusher” and “The Right to Go Insane.” While the focus here is on the RIP album, seeing it bookended between other Megadeth classics would not have been a bad thing.
Presented in widescreen with a 5.1 Dolby mix, the visuals are crisp and the sound as it should be. The Blu-Ray release is set to be in 1080p with a 5.1 DTS Master Audio Track.