The “Metal Tour of The Year,” leg two, featuring some of the biggest bands in metal, Megadeth, Lamb of God, Trivium, and In Flames, is just about to wrap up today in Canada. We were fortunate to catch it in its second to last week, as it hit Portland, Maine’s Cross Insurance Arena on May 12, 2022, to play before a nearly sold-out audience!
One of the godfathers of melodic death metal, Gothenburg’s In Flames started the night off strong, with a set that would include material both old and new! Right from the get-go, they threw in the golden oldie “Cloud Connected” off of 2006’s Come Clarity. Although the band has seen some lineup changes over the years, the old material still hits hard, and the newer stuff also seemed to go over very well. During a wholesome moment in their set, frontman Anders Fridén paused between songs to shout out a 6-year-old girl with her dad in the mosh pit as “the coolest thing he’s seen this tour!” before continuing on with the track, “Call My Name.”
In Flames closed their set with fan-favorite, and Guitar Hero 3classic, “Take This Life,” and the crowd responded with the biggest mosh pits of the night thus far.
Trivium picked up where their Swedish tour mates left off, with a blistering set that would be weighted heavily on newer songs from their recent release In The Court of the Dragon, opening with the title track and “Like a Sword Over Damocles.” Frontman Matt Heafy had to pause the action during their second song in an attempt to break up a fight in the mosh pit, telling the crowd that it’s ok to mosh but fighting has no place at a metal show, saying “We’re all brothers here.” Once resumed, Heafy—no stranger to commanding crowds—easily got the audience whipped back into a frenzy!
Tonight was a sort of hometown show for the band, or at least for lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu, a Dover-Foxcroft, Maine-native, and the assembled fans definitely did their best to wish them a warm welcome back to the state, circle-pitting crazily to “Throes of Perdition,” and jumping like mad to “In Waves.” On this night, news of the passing of legendary vocalist Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder was still fresh. As a touching tribute to Strnad, Trivium had been blasting TBDM tracks during the set change-over and dedicated their song “Rain” to him.
After a brief stage change-over, Richmond, Virginia’s finest, Lamb of God took to the stage to perform a career-spanning set, kicking right into “Memento Mori,” off of their 2020 self-titled release. Frontman Randy Blythe was a blur of dreads as he head-banged around the stage, towering over the crowd while growling out each word. For their part the audience returned every ounce of energy the band put forth right back to them, pitting and crowd surfing and shouting the lyrics along with Blythe.
LOG would go on to bring out all the hits, starting next with “Ruin,” before unleashing a ridiculous amount of pyrotechnics during “Walk With Me In Hell,” and through much of the remainder of their set. In the final moments of that song, Blythe hopped down from the stage to get up close and personal with the audience up on the barricade. The night continued with more fan-favorites “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For,” “512,” “Vigil,” and “Laid To Rest.” He closed their set with a dedication to Strnad for the song “Redneck,” exhorting the crowd to speak to someone if they were feeling depressed before launching into the track.
By now, fans had definitely gotten their money’s worth, but there was still Megadeth to look forward to! After a bit of a delay, the band emerged to a stage backlit by tall LCD panels to give an amazing performance that started off with some serious shredding during “Hangar 18.”
Frontman Dave Mustaine thanked the audience for coming, letting them know he was going to keep the talking to a minimum so they could play more songs before continuing with “Dread and the Fugitive Mind,” from 2001’s The World Needs a Hero. The rest of the set was a bit of a blur—it’s hard to register time or even look away when witnessing such a legendary act—but would go on to culminate in a barrage of iconic songs including “Sweating Bullets,” “Tornado of Souls,” “Symphony of Destruction,” and “Peace Sells.”
Mustaine and his cohorts closed with the guitar riff stew that is “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due,” to a delighted roar from the audience. This was truly an epic night of metal!