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Gigantour Report from Huntington, WV

Photo of Megadeth

Band Photo: Megadeth (?)

After parking at the pay lot across the street we approach the Big Sandy Super Arena located on 3rd avenue of Huntington, West Virginia. The venue is lovingly referred to as the “civic center” by the locals. On the bricked walk way in front of the doors is a van, not any van but a van fully painted in the cover art of the new Bobaflex album, Apologize for Nothing. Impressive, flashy and showboating, but impressive none the less. This is home state for the band, so why not show off a little. We snap a couple of pictures of the van and we’re off to the window to grab our tickets. I give the lady my name and who I’m on the list for, Bobaflex. She finds the envelope; she slides the package through the slot in the glass. I open the package, as promised my photo pass. Off to a good start to a good night.

These homework assigns have a way of taking a lot out of you; seven hour metal shows can do that to a person. The Gigantour in Huntington was lined up with two stages, Megadeth headlining the main stage and Bobaflex opening on the second. Doors opened at four thirty on a Wednesday afternoon, show starts at five, I leave work early to get there on time. The place was empty, maybe a hundred people in the arena when Bobaflex took stage, the dinky little second stage with shit lighting. Didn’t matter. These guys came to rock their home state and they did.

The smell of fresh keg beer, pizza and hotdogs rolls in from the concessions. People were pouring in through the gates by half way through the set, security checking wrist bands to enter the floor and passes for cameras. Bobaflex rocked the house, playing most of their tunes from the new album, including the single “Better than Me”, plus some old favorites like “Doomwalker.” The natives loved it, the couple hundred people in the audience loved it, they cheered the band off stage. First act of the night sure the hell wasn’t the heaviest, but the energy they came out with got this crowd worked up. They were ready to rock for hours on end. The opening act did their jobs like pros.

It seemed unreal, their set, the first of the night, was so short. It just felt short; they played for like forty five minutes. Then bam, Nevermore. Everyone turns around, the main stage is lit and the band is rocking out their first song. The mob marches towards the opposite end of the Big Sandy. The main stage is lit with colored lights, hung with huge backdrops and blasting out the rock. My ears are already ringing from Bobaflex’s set, my friend offers up a spare set of ear plugs, I tell him “if it’s too loud you’re too old.” Fuck it’s loud.

So I say, “I need a beer”. So we go back to the concession stand to get our Miller Lite and head back to the show. The security guards stop us at the gate telling us we can’t bring beer on to the floor or into the stands. Really this means, “You can’t drink that and watch the show at the same time”, fuck that’s stupid. So we slam our beers right there, buy another and slam it. Fuck, I’m buzzed. So we make our way up into the stands and find a seat and a better view. Nevermore was giving the crowd what they came to see, they liked the music and the way they were pressed into the front of the stage showed their intent. More people were coming in from both gates at the other end of the arena.

The show itself was pretty uneventful. Between Dry Kill Logic and Fear Factory or Symphony X and Dream Theatre, no one got into a fight, there were no stabbings, no shootings; just some foul language and bad jokes, middle-aged drunk women, half dressed college girls, drunk guys from previous bands mingling in the audience. Everyone was really enjoying themselves it seemed, people everywhere buying t-shirts and cds, food, beer, going outside to smoke cigarettes, and going to the bathroom, your standard goodtime metal show. The crowd moved full court every time a band changed, the music kept playing and the game went on, back and fourth.

The music just kept on going and going and going. I really enjoyed hearing Life of Agony live, I was a big fan of River Runs Red, and hearing them play the title track was a treat. Plus hearing the music from their new release for the first time was awesome. Most of the other bands I was unfamiliar with, Dry Kill Logic, Symphony X, I had never heard anything from. Both of them put on good shows on that dinky shit of a stage. Rocking out their brands of metal, with Dry Kill Logic taking a more pounding groove based approach, Symphony X playing more of technical guitar, 80s style with the new metal sound. The audience really liked all the second stage bands, they were happy to have them and treated them kindly. The people rocked just as hard for the small stage as they did the main acts.

I had caught Fear Factory at an Ozzfest way back, like 7 years and I had seen Dream Theater in Denver about four years ago, so I was seeing them for the second time. Fear Factory did a little tribute to Dimebag while on stage, playing about half a Pantera song, which I thought was cool of them. Otherwise I found them to be brute force musicians, hard and heavy, direct and unrelenting. And Dream Theater just takes on a life of their own on stage, the crowd loved them. Their music changes so much, it’s like diversity overload which leaves you buzzed and reeling. I’m not a big fan of the vocal style of Dream Theater but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the music which is exceptional and their live performance was intense, with excellent use of colored lights to emphasize mood and solos.

Then of course came the headliners and organizers of the tour, Megadeth. I’ve never been a huge Megadeth fan, but I was looking forward to seeing them perform live. Let’s face it their metal legends, Dave Mustaine and the whole Megadeth brand. And they did nothing short of impress. Their set started with a blast of a quarter stick of dynamite and six fireballs shooting out of the stage. I could feel the heat from the flames eighty yards from the stage, back in the stands. These guys knew what they were doing and definitely knew how to get your attention. The few hundred people in the crowd were stunned, I don’t think they knew what to do, I don’t think Huntington had seen fireballs on stage before. Megadeth put on great show and the audience responded accordingly; moshing, headbanging, crowd surfing, and one or two girls flashing. All of the standard behavior when confronting metal legends on stage.

At one point in the show Dave Mustaine stopped and asked the crowd how many of them had seen Megadeth play live before? Maybe a quarter of the four or five hundred people held their hands up, I was amazed. Then I remember this was my first time seeing them play live, I had heard Megadeth for years on the radio and MTV, at the houses of friends and their car stereos, but I’d never seen them live. Mustaine was just as surprised as I was; he said “this is the part in the show when we speed it up some”, with fireballs in full force behind them they busted into another metal song. These guys were restless; they played for nearly two hours, ending the show with the four of them, hands clasped together in the air, sparks showering them from the lighting truss above. Unreal, like something out of a movie. Mustaine was very grateful to the audience, very happy to have played this small river city, he thanked us multiple times for coming out and for keeping rock’n’roll alive.

The Gigantour is no Ozzfest; it wasn’t a Warped Tour or Lollapalooza for that matter. Most of the headlining acts hit their peak in the 80’s or 90’s but refuse to quit playing metal, to give up the dream and the life style. And why would they, they all still have what it takes, the endurance and talent to put on a kickass show for hundreds of people at a time. They all still have the creativity and skill to keep pumping out excellent material and take it across America for everyone to see, including to unknown Huntington, WV. If Gigantour comes around again I’d like to be there to see the monsters of metal put on another show, to be introduced to new material and new metal bands. To be part of the unbelievable energy which came to the Big Sandy Super Arena with Megadeth.

You can check out photos from this show in the photo gallery.

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2 Comments on "Gigantour Report from Huntington, WV"

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Anonymous Reader
1. METAL MOM writes:

I know that Dave didn't want us to compare GIGANTOUR to OZZFEST....but...I gotta say:
Except of course for the IRON MAIDEN SET!
In that case they were pretty equal.......as the 2 bands' performances go.

GIGANTOUR was less expensive and more "up close and personal" while Ozzfest was like a huge money grubbing corporation, with a lame sound system, bands that cracked on the fans, too many vendors leeching money and being real jerks, and bands that just didn't have the hardcore metal drive like (most of) the bands at GIGANTOUR. (*None of you OZZFEST fans have seizures over what I say, this is just my opinion, as I am sure you have your own, and most mature people can deal with that.)

This year was my first time to see both Maiden and Megadeth.
It's just that I love 'em both and can't decide which band is really my favorite.
2 different styles...but MEGADETH IS HEAVIER!
They both sounded perfect, even though Gigantour's sound system was way better
than Ozzfests'. Iron Maiden sounds good no matter what!

I have to adimit that the whole Gigantour experience was MUCH better
than Ozzfest....as a whole. Maiden was the only real great thing at Ozzfest, they carried off the whole tour!! Some of the other bands gave "okay" performances at best.

Giagntour had MEGADETH...YEAH! Tha't enough in itself, but the other bands all kicked a lot of a s s too!! (Especially FEAR FACTORY! ) Just by sheer luck, we got front row seats, and "MEGADETH rocks more than the rockingest rock band that ever rocked!!" That's what I told DAVE when I met him. (That's right. Did you?) Yeah, it was dorky telling him that, but it was fun. I made Megadeth laugh! The best thing that I got to tell Dave was that " he was the most talented member that Metallica ever had, and that leaving them behind and forming MEGADETH was the best thing that he ever did!"
Right after I said that, the 15 year old kid behind me yelled, "Yeah, Metallica sucks!!"
Dave couldn't help but smile and say "We rock!" and made a funny little hopping gesture.
That was just the most K I C K- A S S, Coolest moment ever!
(Not that I totally hate Metallica, I just prefer Megadeth.)

Anyway, like I said, GIGANTOUR kicked some serious metal a s s!!!
Ozzfest just kinda laid there until MAIDEN appeared, and then they brought down the house! 40,000 hands in the air and not one A S S in their seat!

Next year I will definately be hitting GIGANTOUR!!!!
& Ozzfest? Well after the disappointent of the show as a whole,
and the stupid crap Sharon pulled in San Bernadino...AND those prices???
....well they better get 2 or 3 phenomenally baddasss bands

Here's to GIGANTOUR 2006

# Oct 14, 2005 @ 11:45 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. GIGANTOUR 2006 fuck yea writes:

there going to be GIGANTOUR every year that would totally rule it be like ozzfest but better or same hos ever drunk more or watever drugs there.

long live metal

# Oct 15, 2005 @ 10:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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