Megadeth and Ministry Co-Conspire in Denver / April 12th 2008 / The Fillmore and The Ogden

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By DJ Hippie

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It was a glorious night for heavy music in Denver as two titans of the scene performed separate shows in what could easily qualify as one of the best nights ever for Colorado’s metal and industrial faithful.

The night was also a convergence of political protest with the well-thought political teachings of Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and the straight-out hatred for the current administration that is conveyed by Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen. Revolution was thick in the sleepy Colorado air.

The day actually started at 2pm with the launch of the 2008 North American run of Gigantour at The Fillmore with blistering bands like Children of Bodom and High on Fire warming up for the might of Megadeth. The Fillmore was packed and sweaty with a mix of younger fans and a smattering of old school “metal heads.”

Megadeth launched into attack mode immediately by opening with a three-song salvo of “Sleepwalker,” the classic and mostly instrumental death-groove of “Wake up Dead” and the surprising choice of the Rust in Peace classic “Take No Prisoners.”

After a quick welcome to the pleased crowd the band roared into “Skin O’ My Teeth” followed by the lyrical mastery of “Washington is Next” and the anti-war “Gears of War” from Megadeth’s latest and highly regarded album United Abominations.

Other highlights of Megadeth’s set were a moving version of Megadeth’s eerie ballad “In My Darkest Hour” and the anti-drug musings of “Burnt Ice.” As I was leaving the show to head up to the Ogden the familiar bass line of “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying” wafted through the late-night air. Megadeth had once again created a frenzied air of rebellious energy that makes them such an important band.

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Photo by Soren McCarty

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The energy at the Ogden was more sinister and dangerous. The crowd was older as skinheads, biker gangs and newbies mingled to the hard-edged, industrial sound of Ministry. As I entered the venue Al Jourgensen was completing Ministry’s main set consisting of material exclusively from the band’s Bush-bashing album trilogy — Houses of the Mole, the astounding Rio Grande Blood and the finality of The Last Sucker – that represent an amazing piece of work by Jourgensen but one that has caused a big debate among the band’s devoted fans.

Billed as the Ministry’s last tour and promising a career-spanning setlist, and a $50.00 ticket, many fans were displeased with the lack of classic material from the band’s landmark albums like Psalm 69 and The Land of Rape and Honey. Despite that, the show was completely sold out as the crowd eagerly awaited the band’s return to the stage.

I had never seen Ministry live, but finally seeing the dark energy that the band is famous for was enough of a rush for me. Although, if I had paid $50.00 dollars for this show I would probably have been displeased as well. As Jourgensen and company retuned to the stage the frontman introduced former Fear Factory singer Burton C. Bell to the crowd and then belted a fevered version of “So What” as the crowd cheered with pleasure. Jourgensen then turned the vocals over to Bell and played guitar as Burton growled the lyrics to the bands best known song, “New World Order,” “Just One Fix” and the band’s flagship song “Thieves.” I would have much preferred to hear Jourgensen, but apparently the man has a habit of messing with his own legacy.

The band then exited the stage briefly and quickly returned to give the crowd an encore of covers from the band’s pleasing new album Cover Up. The band belted out a version of “Roadhouse Blues” and ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid.” The last song of the night was a surreal take of “Under My Thumb,” a Rolling Stones’ classic, which was complete with black and white balloons with Ministry’s logo dropping from the ceiling of the Ogden.

The fact that the night ended
with a Rolling Stones classic was somehow appropriate as they, along with others, co-conspired to start this fabulous but sometimes flawed mess that we commonly call rock and roll.

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Photos by Soren McCarty

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