CONCORD, Calif. — Lamb of God and Megadeth brought their Metal Tour of the Year to the Concord Pavilion on Thursday, where headbanging and battle vests were the order of the day. Concord, specifically, may not be the birthplace of thrash metal, as Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe said—he was likely speaking for the entire East Bay. Yet attendees showed the thrash spirit with a circle pit in front and an increasingly large mosh pit on the lawn at the back of the amphitheater.
Lamb of God, who released a new self-titled album last year, played newer tracks and featured all the components of the quintessential thrash metal show, even giant flame jets across the stage. Bassist John Campbell looked quite a bit like a wizard. In Blythe’s words, the band wanted “to fuck this place up,” and it delivered.
The other headliner was the legendary Megadeth, which was completely on its game with arrangements as tight as ever for a band that’s been around for nearly 40 years. Frontman Dave Mustane showed he can still shred, too. The band’s production videos were extremely well-done, with animations somewhere between “Heavy Metal” and “Metalocalypse.”
Trivium preceded the headliners. Corey Beaulieu was a virtuoso on the guitar and lead singer Matt Heafy had command of the crowd and the stage, even if the mix wasn’t particularly generous to his vocals. Heafy used the classic tactic of pitting the Bay Area attendees against a recent Los Angeles crowd to build energy (there were only two California show on this tour) and of course it worked.
Opening the show was Hatebreed, who joined the tour as a late addition after In Flames had to drop out due to COVID-19-related visa issues. Besides the actual performance, another highlight was a story guitarist Wayne Lozinak told about his own first time seeing Megadeth, with King Crimson, in 1985. He didn’t have the money for the show, so he went to an album signing just to meet Mustaine, who gave him VIP tickets. That said, his closing sentiment that, “For some of us, staying at home and living in fear is worse than getting the fucking disease” is a dangerous sentiment to give to a packed house of people while the disease is again killing thousands per day.
Hatebreed also released a new record in 2020 and highlighted several tracks during its time on stage.
What they played:
The Threat Is Real
Conquer or Die!
Poison Was the Cure
Symphony of Destruction
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Lamb of God:
Walk With Me in Hell
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
Set to Fail
New Colossal Hate
Laid to Rest
— Daniel J. Willis
Follow photographer Nathan McKinley at Instagram.com/memories.by.mckinley.