[27 March 2007]
It might be quite a mystery to the casual fan why the band’s 2005 concert in Buenos Aires, of all places, should be titled ‘That One Night’ and made into the latest release from the Megadeth vault while the wait is on for their upcoming album, United Abominations.
The correct answer to this, for the record, is that it was at this show that Dave Mustaine, heart and soul of the Megadeth spirit (and now only original member), announced that another of their many scheduled breakups throughout their 20-year history, in which they helped define American thrash metal, was false. At any rate, it’s obvious the concert was memorable enough to be special by any band’s standards; as the “intro” to the DVD documents, the band step off a plane to a crowd of disciples that follow them wherever they go, and later that night they play at the open-air Obras Sanitarias stadium. Tickets seem to be thoroughly sold out.
The entire performance, a sort-of “greatest hits live”, is superbly filmed, focusing on both capturing the facial expressions of the band members in mid-solo and the flashing light show, and the reaction of the bordering on over-enthusiastic crowd, who seem to know every word of every song, juxtaposing this with occasional footage of an incognito acoustic performance for fans earlier in the day. And the music has never sounded better, proving that age has not got the better of Mustaine. The interplay between guitarists is the true focus of the set, a very ‘thrash metal mix’ – even vocals take a back seat to his heavy duty fret-playing. There is not a lot of time-wasting talk to be heard; instead the crew let the metal speak for itself, one song flowing into another.
The numbers from ‘90s Rust in Peace without doubt get the biggest cheers: “Hangar 18” (and sequel “Return to Hangar” which follows) are done with fury that just wasn’t apparent in the sub-par production of the studio albums, and announced with a big smile on Dave Mustaine’s face, while “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” serves as the finale, but cuts from the rest of their catalog are just as big a highlight, going right back to 1985’s vitriolic Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?.
“A Tout Le Monde”, the band’s straight-faced contribution to the French language, is a crowd favorite to end all crowd favorites, and features snappy zooms on each guitarist in turn; a special extended solo allows some serious crowd working in “Wake Up Dead”, “Peace Sells” is an obligatory singalong, and the subdued “Darkest Hour” provides reflection and a momentary lull in the mass-moshing and frantic shredding. Only “I’ll Be There”, which seemed written as an uplifting power ballad where it originally appeared on Risk, doesn’t quite shape up with the rest: the band seem a little bored, and Mustaine less energetic than usual; which, in all fairness, can happen when you’re performing a song about being in it for each other and you’re the only founding member left of your band.
That One Night: Live in Beunos Aires is nonetheless essential concert footage for metalheads on all fronts. All bases are covered, altogether too well filmed, produced and delivered to be a quick cash-in, as many of its kind are; and, as Dave Mustaine notes, it is weird to have a crowd sing guitar parts to you – weird but flattering. With this much fire in him live, one can hope that Megadeth’s new studio album will be groundbreaking when it’s released in the near future. However, until that rather shaky milestone in the band’s history is reached, this DVD expertly captures all the inspiration of the real deal: making you want to go back and listen to the music. And, also unlike many music DVDs which sit on the shelf after first viewing, Live in Buenos Aires will be watched again.