I have never been the biggest fan of the whole speed/thrash metal genre, but Megadeth have always managed to infuse just the right amount of hooks and melody into their own particular brand to make it supremely listenable. Megadeth's Countdown To Extinction album is what first got me into the band, and I have been a fan ever since. This album was a major turning point for the band, exposing them to a much wider audience via a more radio-friendly mix of songs. I usually find myself turning to that mid-period commercial stuff, like Countdown and Cryptic Writings, more often than I do their earliest thrash classics.
I was eager to pick up this new DVD after being impressed by Megadeth's performance on last year's mighty Gigantour DVD, which only provided an entirely too brief three songs from their skull-crushing headlining set from that 2005 tour. Although that DVD was just a teaser, That One Night gives you a full 17 songs from their explosive performance in front of 25,000 rabidly enthusiastic Argentineans, who jumped and sang, in unison, to every single lyric and guitar riff that poured out of Dave Mustaine. What is it with these crazed South American concert fans? I thought the Rush In Rio crowd was insane, but this crowd essentially provided Megadeth with their very own 25,000-strong choir. What an entirely different atmosphere from the Montreal, Canada crowd that witnessed the Gigantour DVD show – not that they were slouches or anything.
That One Night was filmed at Obras Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 9th, 2005 during Megadeth's short "Blackmail The Universe Tour" of South America and Puerto Rico, which came on the heals of their longer "Gigantour" North American tour. The DVD kicks off with some brief behind-the-scenes footage of Mustaine entertaining a group of lucky fans outside his hotel, with acoustic renditions of some of his beloved classics. This merges into the concert footage, which was already a few seconds into the show's opening number, "Blackmail The Universe". This was a disappointing way to start the video, since I always like getting a few minutes of the pre-show buildup, just before the lights go down, the crowd goes nuts, and the band first takes the stage.
Along with the title track, the band eventually play two more songs from their latest album, at the time, 2004's The System Has Failed, which signaled a triumphant return to form for a band that many had left for dead after Mustaine was forced to disband the group in 2002 after being diagnosed with severe nerve damage to his left arm. This would be the first Megadeth album to not feature founding bassist Dave Ellefson. Long-time guitarist Marty Friedman was also unable to reach a contractual agreement with Mustaine, so he simply soldiered on without them, enlisting three new band members.
This performance certainly proves that this new incarnation of the band is a force to be reckoned with, especially guitarist Glen Drover. He seemed to be so at ease playing Megadeth's most challenging leads, it was as if he is simply playing air guitar. Hopefully he will be as impressive in the studio on the band's forthcoming new album United Abominations. Bassist Jimmy MacDonough has since left the band to be replaced by James Lomenzo, who is best known for his work in White Lion and Black Label Society.
This was an inspired performance by the band – especially Mustaine. He appeared to be genuinely blown away by the incredible response from the crowd, and he showed his appreciation by altering the lyrics of "Coming Home" to reflect Argentina, instead of his home state of Arizona. The set list was not quite as satisfying as the Rude Awakening DVD, but this could have been remedied if they had only included the whole set from the show. During the show, they played "Skin O' My Teeth", "The Scorpion", "Die Dead Enough", "Angry Again", "Train Of Consequences", "Of Mice And Men", and "Sweating Bullets", but for whatever reason, did not include them on the DVD. It's not like there wasn't enough room on the disc either, since the DVD only included one song's worth of bonus material.
Along with a vastly superior production, you also get many great performances that separate this DVD from Rude Awakening. As with the Gigantour DVD, "A Tout Le Monde" was a definite highlight of the show. "Set The World Afire" takes you back to 1988's So Far, So Good… So What!, and provides a virtual thrash clinic for all of you thrash-metal wannabes out there. "I'll Be There", from 1999's Risk, provided a welcome midpoint melodic break, before getting to the two pulverizing new The System Has Failed tracks, "Something That I'm Not", and "Kick the Chair". The show ends in grand fashion with an all conquering performance of "Holy Wars", which proves that these old guys can still hold their own amongst the heaviest that the world of thrash has to offer.
Although both Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and DTS mixes were provided, they were not the best. The bass was very low in the mix, and this was particularly noticeable during the killer intro bass riff to "Trust", where all you could hear were the keyboards in the background, and then when the first power chord was launched, it was like the guitarist was mixed ten times louder. For some reason Mustaine's vocals were mixed in stereo across the two front speakers, instead of in the center channel where they belong. All you get through the center channel is the drums. The crowd was also ridiculously loud in the mix, but they were such an integral part of the show that it would have sounded more artificial to mix them out. If you can overlook those issues the surround tracks provided a pretty accurate representation of the stadium concert experience.
The video, on the other hand, was nearly flawless. The anamorphic widescreen presentation is crystal clear, and the color and details looked amazing. Michael Sarna's camera direction was outstanding, providing a great variety of camera angles, with all of the changes paced perfectly. Unfortunately, the only bonus feature you are going to find with this DVD is an alternate take of "Symphony of Destruction" – they couldn't even manage to throw in a measly booklet either.
That One Night captures an electrifying performance from one of the true legends of thrash-metal, even though they are now down to just one original member in Mustaine. This is a little easier for fans to swallow though than, say, a James Hetfield-only Metallica, since Mustaine has always been the sole leader and creative force behind Megadeth. He may as well change his last name to Megadeth. Hey, I like that – Dave Megadeth.
01. Blackmail The Universe
02. Set The World Afire
03. Wake Up Dead
04. In My Darkest Hour
06. Reckoning Day
07. A Tout Le Monde
08. Hangar 18 & Return To Hangar
09. I'll Be There
10. Tornado Of Souls
12. Something That I'm Not
13. Kick The Chair
14. Coming Home
15. Symphony of Destruction
16. Peace Sells
17. Holy Wars