MEGADETH at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt Pleasant, Michigan

September 24, 2021
Senior Photographer: Ed Gorski
Senior Writer: Christopher Williamson

The Heavy Metal Tour of the Year

Mt Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle


After nearly two years of empty venues, no live music, and a pandemic that swept the face of the globe like a California wildfire, there was a great deal of curiosity as to what the music scene would look like when bands returned to their rightful home on the stage. On Friday, September 24th, at Soaring Eagle Casino Ampitheater, any doubts were immediacy laid to rest when Hatebreed kicked off the Metal Tour of the Year bill with a face shattering set that included fan favorites Destroy Everything, Looking Down The Barrel of Today, I Will Be Heard, and a crunching cover of Slayer’s Ghosts of War. Jamey Jasta is one of the most underrated frontmen in Metal. With his Bruce Dickinson-like energy and his us against the world attitude, it’s no wonder that he had the venue jumping around and fired up. Definitely required seeing next time they hit Harpo’s or the Machine Shop.


After a twenty minute break, Trivium took to the stage and thundered through crushing opener In the Court of the Dragon. Trivium hammered home the message that Hatebreed had opened with: “it’s been two fucking years, let’s do this!” Matt Heafy commanded the stage while roaring through an incredible set list including: In Waves, The Catastrophist, and What The Dead Men Say. This was a set that embraced metal and embraced the idea that we are all back together again. Trivium is an amazing live band and they continued to uphold that standard at Soaring Eagle.


By the time Trivium exited the stage, there was a palpable energy in the air. Any questions about how fans (and bands) would handle the post pandemic return were soundly put to rest as the night was filled with the sight of heads banging, devil horns piercing the night sky, and the looks of unadulterated joy that can only be found at a metal show. These only became more pronounced as the lights dropped, and Lamb Of God Frontman Randy Blythe started the slow crawl of Memento Mori hidden behind the giant Lamb Of God banner draped across the front of the stage. By the time the pyro kicked in and the banner dropped, there wasn’t an ass in the seats. Randy Blythe stalked the stage scowling and daring anyone to take a seat. The adrenaline level only increased with follow up Ruins before Lamb of God lit up the stage with pillars of fire during crowd favorite Walk With Me In Hell. It was evident that it wasn’t just the crowd that was here for healing. At one point Randy took a moment to smile at a fan before replacing it with a scowl and stalking off to hype up some other part of the crowd. Following Walk With Me In Hell was new song and possibly new fan favorite The Resurrection Man, whose breakdown is bound to cause a few speeding tickets. After ripping through more fan favorites like Vigil, Now You’ve Got Something To Die For, and 512, Lamb of God put one more boot to the face of this raucous crowd with a high energy version of Redneck. After two years, it was hard to to imagine where the energy was going to come from for one last set.


A brief survey of the crowd revealed a large group of people who had left it all out there for Hatebreed, Trivium, and Lamb of God. There were a few questions as to whether the crowd had much left to give. When the Megadeth backdrop lit up and a recorded vocal version of Prince of Darkness pierced the silence, there was no doubt about the energy level. After all, this is why we were all here. After a pandemic, a bout with cancer, a surprising lineup change, and the ever looming specter of time, one of the founding fathers of thrash metal was about to grace us with his presence. As Dave Mustaine took to the stage ripping through the opening of Hangar 18, the sense of elation from the crowd was off the charts. Finally, Megadeth had returned and they were making it known that they were here to kick ass and take names. Dave was in fine voice and his trademark snarl was in full glory. As with every Megadeth set, Holy Wars, Hangar 18, She Wolf, and Symphony of Destruction all made an appearance. Also included were The Threat is Real, Dystopia, Conquer or Die, Peace Sells, and a fantastic version of Sweating Bullets. This ain’t about the set list though, this is about the triumph of metal over cancer and the resurrection of live music in a post pandemic world. They say that music heals and watching Megadeth rip through their set, there was no argument against that. As the night came to a close the crowd was charged and excited, but they were also thankful. Their heroes had returned and for one night, in the middle of Northern Michigan, all was well with the world.