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Last Night: Gigantour at the Long Beach Arena

Better Than: Watching the American Idol Finals.

Download: "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" from Megadeth's Myspace page

PhotobucketShred is still alive and continues to thrive as the Megadeth curated band, Gigantour unleashed the demons of heavy metal at the storied Long Beach Arena. Megadeth is one of the original titans in speed metal and thrash. They headlined a night that included a copious amount of custom guitars and searing solos.

First up, sludge-like guitar riffs emanated from Matt Pike (guitar/vocals) as High on Fire romped through their set like a dinosaur on a vicious rampage. "Devilution" was scorching. I had to check that my earplugs were still in place because the volume was already screaming.

Despite what you might think, Job For a Cowboy is not a country band. Signed by the pioneering Metal Blade records, Job For A Cowboy surgically slices your eardrums with double bass drum blasts and scalpel sharp guitars. "Knee Deep" induced mass vertigo as the song had enough tempo changes to make your head spin.

PhotobucketThe chants for Children of Bodom started minutes after Job For A Cowboy finished their set. Alexi Laiho (vocals/guitars) had his custom ESP signature guitar blazing as the crowd ate up "Hellhounds on My Trail." Janne Warman (keyboards) had me in stitches by playing the intro to Van Halen's "Jump" before one of their songs.

The Swedish metal band, In Flames, increased the ferocious pace of the evening with a dueling guitar tandem that jackhammered through "Disconnected." The band members could not help but smile as Anders Friden (vocals) implored the crowd, "Scream For Me, Long Beach!" as a nod to the classic Iron Maiden Life After Death album recorded in the very same arena.

Smoke crawled across the stage and a black tarp fell in dramatic fashion as Megadeth charged out of the gates with "Sleepwalker." Dave Mustaine (vocals/guitar) had his winged custom signature Dean guitar wailing as the band methodically played
selections from their new album United Abominations before closing out the night with "Holy Wars...Punishment Due" which ranks in my top ten list of the best metal songs of all time.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias:I have the Megadeth album "Peace Sells..But Who's Buying" on vinyl circa 1986.

Random Detail:The guitar technicians played classic Iron Maiden riffs while tuning the guitars for Megadeth as another nod to playing at the Long Beach Arena.

By The Way: I never get tired of hearing guitar solos at a breakneck pace.

View more photos of the concert here.

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