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    Gigantour draws Lilliputian crowd in Chicago

    Megadeth / Black Label Society / Device / Hellyeah / Newsted / Death Division – 2013 Gigantour
    Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL

    All photos by Dan DeSlover – Concert Capture

    Megadeth - 2013 Gigantour

    Gigantour has been a heavy metal mainstay since 2005. The brainchild of Dave Mustaine, Megadeth’s frontman, has always featured solid lineups, the current incarnation included. Why then, did only 1200 fans show up for the Chicago date when the tour pulled into Allstate Arena on June 9? Megadeth, Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted and Death Division seemed all but certain to draw a crowd similar to last year’s show at the Aragon Ballroom.

    High school teens are the main demographic for the tour, not exclusively but definitely the primary source of ticket sales. Moving the show outside of downtown Chicago to the only venue that is not equipped with easy metro or rail access was a huge mistake, especially for a weeknight show. By the time Death Division hit the stage at 4:20 p.m., there were about 150 fans that had trickled into the arena. When hometown figurehead David Draiman played with Device at 7 p.m. that number had risen to maybe 700 people.

    Those that did show up were not able to generate much energy during the earlier sets, something metal bands thrive on for their live performances. Hellyeah did get a couple mosh pits rolling, vocalist Chad Gray did his best to work the crowd. Regardless of the crowd size, each band sounded great and put forth an enthusiastic set. Openers Death Division are worth checking out and played with ferocity, if you’ve got tickets to an upcoming show, definitely get there early.

    Newsted’s new outfit came to rock and did just that. The former Metallica bassist has recruited Staind’s Mike Mushok on guitar alongside Jessie Farnsworth and drummer Jesus Mendez Jr. Together they thrashed through new music with that classic hard metal sound that harks back to his days with Flotsam and Jetsam. Newsted is still a beast on the bass, though he did switch to guitar for one song, “Skyscraper,” while Mendez took over bass duty. They also tossed in Metallica’s “Whiplash” for good measure.

    Device had a couple of surprises during their set. The three-piece had gelled as a live unit, definitely a more cohesive sound since their set during Carolina Rebellion earlier in the year. Dope’s Virus and Evanescence’s Will Hunt tour with Draiman on guitar and drums, respectively. It was only a matter of time before they hit their stride live.  Draiman’s voice was strong and he commanded the stage like an emperor. The band was joined by John DeServio of BLS on bass during “A Part of Me,” then later guitarist Geno Lenardo performed for the second half of the set. Filter’s Lenardo was responsible for the spark behind Device’s creation, and the studio guitarist for the album.

    Draiman did a great job representing Chicago. Obvious that some fans weren’t into the spirit, he admonished a couple girls along the rail for not participating in the show. First he reminded them, “The United Center has a show down the road tonight, maybe you should be at the Justin Bieber concert.” Next, he brought up a young fan onto the stage who was obviously having a good time. Draimain said, “This is how you rock, she is singing all the songs and is even wearing the goods.” He asked her if she goes to concerts regularly and her response was, “This is my first concert,” then flashed horns to the crowd.

    Both Black Label Society and Megadeth performed to the largest crowd. Many fans were there for Zakk Wylde’s band, sporting BLS vests and loving every minute of Wylde’s fretwork. Their hour-long set was long enough for the guitar aficionado to erupt into some lengthy solos. Megadeth hit the stage at 9:00 p.m. for  a 90-minute set that culled some songs from their latest album, “Super Collider,” but also went deep into their earlier material with “Peace Sells,” “Holy Wars…” and “Symphony of Destruction.”

    The tour returns to the area next week with a show at The Rave in Milwaukee, tickets are still available.

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    Remaining Gigantour tour dates:

    July 13: Lubbock, TX – Lonestar Amphitheatre
    July 14: Corpus Christi, TX – Concrete Street Amphitheatre
    July 16: Oklahoma City, OK – Zoo Amphitheatre
    July 18: Bloomington, IL – US Cellular Coliseum
    July 19: Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Ballroom
    July 22: Winnipeg, MB – MTS Center
    July 23: Regina, SK – Brandt Centre
    July 25: Calgary, AB – Stampede Corral
    July 26: Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
    July 27: Dawson Creek, BC – EnCana Events Centre
    July 29: Abbotsford, BC – Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre
    July 30: Everett, WA – Comcast Arena
    Aug 01: West Valley City, UT – Maverik Center
    Aug 02: Broomfield, CO – 1st Bank Center
    Aug 04: Fargo, ND – Scheels Arena
    Aug 09: Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
    Aug 11: Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre


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