Aptly named, the Metal Tour of the Year featuring legendary band Megadeth and Lamb of God, gave devoted metal heads (about a third of whom were wearing masks, which were more in evidence in the concession stand and merch lines) a hefty dose of old and new school hardcore rock.
“Houston it’s hot out here, are you ready to go on a walk with me?” Blythe called out as flames shot out from all around the stage. “We came here to Texas to one thing, and one thing only, fuck this shit up!” The energy in the pavilion doubled as Blythe set up the third song, "Walk with Me in Hell."
Blythe demanded a circle pit then went into "Now You've Got Something to Die For" He took time to encourage the crowd to follow their own path in the world, holding high his signature nonalcoholic beer. The singer has had his past struggles with alcohol abuse and now promotes a cleaner lifestyle. Those in attendance could purchase the beer at the concession stands, along with a special edition Megadeth beer.
“This isn’t officially a metal show unless I see an old school circle pit.” Gesturing to the crowd, acknowledging the absence of lawn seating. “I don’t care if there's 10 of you, fuck that shit up!” said Jasta. The small portion of the crowd that was in the pit dutifully formed a circle and typical metal mayhem ensured.
Next up was Trivium, a band with a different take on metal. Front-man Matt Heafy has become a well-known figure in the technological community with his success in Twitch streaming during the pandemic to stay in touch with fans. Now on tour he’s been using the platform to give his followers a behind-the-scenes look at tour life.
By the time Lamb of God hit the stage, it was a crowd singalong as the band played all of their most popular songs as the audience belted out the lyrics. The band exited the stage after only 40 minutes, but quickly returned to finish their hour, closing out their set with their 2006 hit, 'Redneck,' coinciding with the 15th anniversary of their album Sacrament.
“I was scared this was never going to happen again, take a moment to look around. Look at you all! Put your hands together for yourselves god damnit!” Blythe called out.
Starting off strong with "Hangar 18," the five minute-plus song consisting of mostly back-to-back guitar solos, was the perfect start to the last set of the night. Backed by a wall of guitar amplifiers, the old school band took over, running up a collection of classic metal hits including, "Sweating Bullets," "Holy Wars" and "Peace Sells..."
As the night came to an end, Dave Mustaine thanked all the bands that performed earlier in the night, “but most of all I want to thank all of you!” The band joined hands in the air and took a bow before waving goodbye.