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DVD Review: Gigantour 2005

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Last year Dave Mustaine sought to put together a package tour that was affordable for the fans and had a strong focus on heavy metal musicianship. He wasn't just putting together a tour of the most popular bands — he looked for bands that displayed first rate musicianship, and bands that he was a fan of. I think he succeeded.

I attended one of the shows in August of last year, it was one of the best shows I have yet attended. Besides featuring some of my favorite bands, it was just a great environment, five or six hours of pure metal bliss. This DVD brought me right back to that day. The first disk is nearly 90 minutes of music recorded at their stop in Montreal, Canada. In between each song are clips of interviews with the bands. You hear from Dave Mustaine about wanting to put this together, and other bands about how much fun they have had on the tour and how they came to be included.

The DVD puts together highlights from the show, featuring loud, in your face metal, swirling pits, and bands that are clearly putting their soul on the stage. Ninety minutes of metal thrashing madness.

First up is Bobaflex with "Better Than Me." The song shows why they are a name to keep an eye on. Raging energy on display, they put on a show, and makes me a bit upset that I missed them. They are followed by Dry Kill Logic, a band that continues to impress. I have seen them live a couple of times, and they keep getting better. They have two songs here, with "Lost" and "Paper Tiger" marrying old school thrash and new school hardcore.

The third band on the disk is one of those bands I was very much looking forward to seeing live, Nevermore. This band is a bright spot of the current metal scene, screaming leads, shredding riffs and a singer that has a singularly powerful and unique voice. They are represented by a pair of songs, "Born" and "Enemies of Reality."

Then there is Symphony X, a band I had heard of, and was anticipating live. They did not disappoint in their combination of technical precision and heaviness. They are in the Dream Theater school, although I think Symphony X is a bit more to the heavy end of the spectrum. Their performances of "Inferno" and "Of Sins and Shadows" were spectacular. I really need to seek out more music from them.

Next was a band that I remember appreciating years ago — but now, they don't really do much for me. Their representation here, like when I saw their set early on, is high energy, but I just don't care for the music. They have two songs here, "The Day He Died" and "Love to Let You Down."

At this point we move towards the headline acts. First up is one of my favorite heavy acts, Fear Factory. I have been a fan of them for many years, and their live performances never disappoint. This was the first time I had seen this lineup live. You see, their guitar player left, the bass player became the guitar player, and a new bass player joined the group. Here they play the title tracks from their then upcoming album and the last album, "Transgression" and "Archetype," respectively. They proceeded to tear up the stage with their brutally heavy, industrial flavored sound.

Now for the co-headliner, and prog masters Dream Theater. This is another band I have seen before, but it was entertaining to see them in a different setting. This heavier setting had the band focusing on their heavier material, as evidenced here by "Glass Prison" and "Panic Attack." Both of these performances were phenomenal, displaying their prowess with their instruments.

Finally, the final act of the day, and the master of ceremonies, Megadeth, closes out the concert. They are represented by three songs, "She Wolf," "A Tout Le Monde," and "Kick the Chair." This is not my favorite lineup for the band, but they still know how to put on a great show. They tore the stage up on these three sets, complete with flames.

This disk is a great companion to my memories of the show, but it is not without its flaws and omissions. First off, two bands are not represented. First is The Dillinger Escape Plan, admittedly not one that I care for, but they do not have any representation here. The other is Anthrax, who replaced Dream Theater for a week of shows. Both of these acts should have had at least one song included, but I guess you can't have everything. The other questionable matter is song selection and length. I am sure they could have, and probably should have, included some more music, since a disk can hold more than 90 minutes of material.

Also, the song selection could have been better. For example, I would have liked to see Fear Factory's "Cyberwaste" and Nevermore's "Poison Godmachine" or "This Godless Endeavor." For Dream Theater, They should have included "Pull Me Under" in addition to what is included, and Megadeth's "Holy Wars" or "Peace Sells." It is nice having these lesser represented tracks live, but I would have liked some more "classic" cuts.

Audio/Video. The audio is presented in three flavors, 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital, and 2.0 Dolby Digital. It sounds good, all of the bands are represented well with good mixes, although I would have liked a bit more crowd noise. The video is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. It looks very good, nothing to complain about.

But wait, there's more!

There is a second disk containing a near 50 minutes behind-the-scenes of the tour. This takes a look at all the aspects of the tour. Included are bits on the band's instrument techs, living on a bus, the use of pyro, moshing, and cover songs. The cover songs section includes a complete performance of Pantera's "Cemetery Gates" by Dream Theater with additional vocals from Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory and Russell Allen of Symphony X — plus Dave Mustaine shreds the final solo. This peek into the tour is excellent, showing the ups and downs and taking you into the bands' lives. Very nice addition to the concert disk.

Bottomline. Very good, if imperfect companion to the masterful metal tour. If you like metal, and/or you like any of these bands, you need to add this to your collection.

Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Nice Review…I am dying to go see the new Gigantour 2006 because Opeth will be there. They put on a phenomonal live show.

    I can only guess you were talking about Life of Agony when you mentioned the band you don’t like anymore. They once brought in the singer from Ugly Kid Joe to do the vocals *Smirk*.

    The new bassist for Fear Factory is also the bassist for Strapping Young Lad.

    If you like the covers that DT does, you should check out Ytsejam Records-Official DT Bootlegs. Dream Theater performs the whole “Number of the Beast” album as well as the whole “Master of Puppets” album in concert and you can buy these CDs from that site.

    I can definitely appreciate Dave Mustaine but Megadeth hasn’t released anything powerful since “Rust in Piece” and with this quasi original line-up he is using, they could never pull off those tracks(Holy Wars,Tornado of Souls,etc).

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    Thanks Guppus, and thanks for the comment on the Pendragon review, as well. I have found my appreciation of music becoming better from unlikely sources, film scores and black metal, if you can believe that.

    Yes, Life of Agony was a big disappointment. I liked Ugly Kid Joe for the comedy act they were, I thought they did a good job with Cats in the Cradle. I saw Whit Crane with another band, Medication, and thought they were pretty good.

    The new Gigantour lineup doesn’t excite me as much, although Opeth would be awesome to see. You may also like to know that I have given Strapping another shot, and I really like the album I got, SYL.

    As for Megadeth, I saw them when Al Pitrelli and Jimmy Degrasso was in the lineup, and thought that version was better than the current, but nothing will match the Menza/Friedman years.

  • http://Idiot Mega_cof

    The concert was good, Decently great bands… DT puts on some wicked covers yes.

    Anyway’s as for megadeth I have seen them 4 times with the new lineup and they play tornado of souls and holy war’s flawlessly!!!
    To Whom Thought this quasi lineup could not play those 2 songs well your wrong.. Way wrong!! They play them great Glen Drover actually plays tornado of souls better than friendman IMHO!! He does great and the last bassist I seen them with was JAmes Mcdonough and he was good.. This new Lomenzo guy.. I worry but surely he can play it all without a problem also=-) LATER DROOGS

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Hey Chris… Film scores & Black Metal are a perfect way to fully appreciate music! Try some Fantomas “The Director’s Cut” and for Death Metal(Unfortunately,not Black Metal)try Gory Blister.

    As for Megadeth Live nowadays,I would have to hear it to believe it. I saw the Rust in Peace Tour and it’s that what Marty played in Megadeth was so simple for him. Kinda like watching Yngwie play. Kinda like watching Andy LaRocque shred up and down the scale with so much ease!! I would have to guess, but it must’ve been painful watching the new guy really “Pull It Off”!! Sorry, but I don’t think most people can surpass Mr. Friedman… Try Again:)

  • Andre

    Nice overall review. A couple of songs you mentionned wanting to see in there rather than the actual set present were not played. Nevermore for example only had a set of some 30 minutes max and did not play This Godless Endeavour (not in Montreal where I saw the show anyhow and where it was film), I suppose that the length of the song would have cut too much in their very small time slot. I agree that some of the track choices could have been better, I guess they picked A Tout le Monde for the fact that the crowd being mostly french-speaking folks reacted/participated more during the chorus. I am surprised to hear that the final product did not include Anthrax though, as Dave had mentionned that they were going to film them a few nights later to add them to all the footage they were getting in Montreal. Dillinger Escape Plan was a on-show in Montreal though and did not do the last few nights of the tour as one of their member got hurt along the way. A shame as they were one of the bands I was definitly looking forward to see that night.