Pop-Break Live: Megadeth at The PNC Bank Arts Center

words and photos by bill bodkin…

Megadeth is severely underrated.

That’s what I came away with on the brisk early May evening as they took their final bows at The PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J.

Yes, Mustaine and company have been one of the preeminent heavy metal bands out there — a cornerstone of the 80s speed metal movement that has remained relevant, prolific and successful nearly 30 years after their debut record. But until you see them live, you can’t really appreciate just how good they are.

Megadeth creates a sonic symphony live — and they do it almost effortlessly. The precision and grace with which this performs is nearly mindblowing. Without even breaking a sweat this band can break into 100mph guitar riffs. Being close to the stage watch Mustaine and guitarist Chris Broderick’s fingers fly furiously over their guitar frets is poetry in motion.

And the best part is, despite the ‘effortless’ performance, you can tell everyone in the band is just having fun inciting thousands of people to headbang and throw the horns up in the air.

The highlight of the set, to no one’s surprise, was the performances of the band’s seminal hits “Peace Sells” and “Holy Wars.” Long, epic tracks rife with lightning quick solos, thunderous drums and bass and that patented Mustaine vocal got the Arts Center on its feet and worked into a frenzy.

Metalheads…put Megadeth on your bucketlist, this is a band you have to see live.

Setlist…

1. Never Dead
2. Hangar 18
3. Wake Up Dead
4. In My Darkest Hour
4. She-Wolf
5. Sweating Bullets
6. A Tout Le Monde (featuring Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia)
7. Head Crusher
8. Trust
9. Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
10. Public Enemy No. 1
11. Symphony of Destruction
12. Peace Sells

Encore:
13. Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
14. Silent Scorn

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites