Sound: If you weren't able to attend the 2nd annual Gigantour (which included the likes of Lamb of God, Opeth, Arch Enemy, and of course, Megadeth), you get an opportunity to experience it vicariously through a new live DVD compilation. Gigantour 2 features a batch of the strongest performances from a date at the BankAtlantic Center in Florida, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how each band originally got noticed by the metal master himself, Dave Mustaine. While there will be some of you out there who feel certain songs should have made it on to the video, the makers of Gigantour 2 did a decent job of showing a well-rounded overview of the concert.
As the headliner, Megadeth is certainly considered the main attraction, but interestingly enough Mustaine doesn't necessarily steal the show. Don't get me wrong -- the band definitely is an absolute marvel to watch in terms of the guitar work between Mustaine and Glen Drover. It's just that there are other performances that are a lot stronger in the stage presence department. Take No Prisoners, The Scorpion, and Washington Is Next! are included in the Megadeth show, and you also get the bonus of Peace Sells as an extra. If anything, the DVD does show the professionalism that Megadeth exudes during a concert, and it's amazing how easy they make it all look. Seriously, Drover looks like he's just strolling through the park when he tackles an insanely hard solo.
If you're looking for a bit more energy and charisma onstage, check out Arch Enemy or Overkill. These 2 bands deliver vibrant performances in very different ways. Witnessing Arch Enemy's beautiful frontwoman Angela Gossow sound like a demon from hell is startling, but fascinating. Then you've got old school metal band Overkill, which truly makes you feel like you have been transported into the heyday of metal in the 1980s. From the incredible riffs of Dave Linsk to vocalist Bobby Blitz Ellsworth's over-the-top persona, it makes for a memorable show.
If you're a lover of all things guitar, Gigantour is truly a dream come true. Song after song on the DVD is dedicated to amazing riff work, with Lamb of God one of the biggest highlights (particularly in Something To Die For). Opeth is just as strong, but you also get to see the Swedish band's softer, slower side during their performance of The Leper Infinity. It adds such a nice contrast to the full-on distortion in every other song and definitely makes Opeth stand out more from the other bands. // 9
Content: Besides the 13 live performances, there is a bonus section that answers plenty of questions about the tour and how the bands came to be involved with it. Dave Mustaine provides commentary about the bill, and he's incredibly complementary to the younger bands that are basically getting a huge booster by being on Gigantour. It also gives some interesting details about the highs (desperate concertgoers receiving a miracle all-access pass) and lows (a beer gets tossed on to a console and ruins a good portion of the concert), and it's a pretty honest, no-frills look at what actually happened on the tour. // 8
Production Quality: The concert footage isn't necessarily glitzy or even that polished, but I think that it would be safe to assume that Dave Mustaine would primarily be concerned with the musical quality -- and that's very much present. It's fantastic to see each band member getting equal camera time, something that seems a rarity these days. There are so many live videos that become all about the frontman, but Gigantour 2 is dedicated to giving each player his due. // 8
Overall Impression: There are going to be people out there who think a particular band should have been able to have a few more songs added to the playlist, but the makers of Gigantour 2 kept a fairly decent balance. I'm not sure if they actually captured Megadeth's most energetic moments onstage, but Mustaine and Drover honestly just have to solo the whole time to make it interesting -- and they do that in full. The bonus documentary features some great behind-the-scenes material and interviews with everyone from Lamb of God to the stage manager to the production assistants. This is a DVD that definitely hasn't forgotten about the little people, and that was one of the most refreshing aspects to it all. // 9