Megadeth - Caesars Windsor 2023 c: Dan SavoieWhen Megadeth’s frontman, Dave Mustaine, unleashed his iconic growl in a guttural rendition of “Hangar 18,” not a soul in the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor on September 21 could have guessed that the vocal cords producing that sound had recently battled tongue cancer. Returning to the stage with their Crush The World Tour to support their latest album, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!, Megadeth not only defied medical odds but also delivered a performance that celebrated the band’s 40th anniversary with a level of mastery that can only be honed through decades of artistic evolution.

Long revered as titans of thrash metal, Megadeth appeared more like legends reborn. Mustaine’s virtuosic guitar playing, something fans feared they might never witness again, was back and as ferocious as ever. He led a setlist overwhelmingly influenced by albums Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction, and Peace Sells, punctuated by a lone track from their new album — “We’ll Be Back,” an anthem that seemed to encapsulate Mustaine’s arduous journey and triumphant return.

 

Megadeth is no stranger to Caesars Windsor. The band had appeared in 2017 during the Dystopia World Tour, setting a record for what was most likely the loudest performance at the Colosseum up until that point. Yet, this was far from a rinse-and-repeat performance. The band, a mix of the new and the familiar, featured a lineup that matched the evening’s larger theme of renewal and persistence. Returning bassist James LoMenzo, whose musical journey began with White Lion in the late ’80s, brought an energizing dynamic to the group. New guitarist Teemu Mäntysaari, stepping in for Kiko Loureiro, was nothing short of a revelation. His nimble fingers danced across the fretboard during complex numbers like “Tornado of Souls,” displaying an astonishing level of skill that hinted at the promising future of the Megadeth lineage.

Megadeth’s encore, the apocalyptic “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due,” served as the period at the end of an emphatic statement about the band’s past, present, and future. The multi-generational crowd roared in approval, not just for a performance well-executed, but for a milestone reached, a challenge overcome, and a legacy that continues to expand.

Biohazard - Windsor 2023While the audience could have been content with a Megadeth-only bill, the stage had already been set ablaze by opening act, Biohazard. Perhaps one of the most surprising pairings in recent concert history, Biohazard shattered the Colosseum’s habitual tranquility with their punk-infused ferocity. The band, whose members average around 50 years in age, ripped through an explosive setlist centered on their seminal albums from the early ’90s. Bassist Billy Graziadei, at 54, defied gravity with high-energy leaps and jumps, as if the spirit of punk itself propelled him off the stage. Their performance shone with a heartfelt cover of Bad Religion’s “We’re Only Gonna Die,” a fitting prelude to Megadeth’s theme of survival against all odds.

In an era where bands often vanish into obscurity or become caricatures of their former selves, Megadeth and Biohazard offered a masterclass in longevity, resilience, and artistic integrity. For one night in Windsor, Ontario, the Colosseum was transformed into a cathedral of sound and storytelling where new chapters were added to epic tales that continue to unfold.

All photos by Dan Savoie

Megadeth

Biohazard

Megadeth setlist:

  • Hangar 18
  • Dread and the Fugitive Mind
  • Angry Again
  • Wake Up Dead
  • Sweating Bullets
  • Dystopia
  • A tout le monde
  • Trust
  • Tornado of Souls
  • Symphony of Destruction
  • We’ll Be Back
  • Peace Sells

Encore:

  • Holy Wars… The Punishment Due

Biohazard setlist:

  • Urban Discipline
  • Shades of Grey
  • Down for Life
  • Tales From the Hard Side
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks
  • Love Denied
  • Retribution
  • We’re Only Gonna Die (Bad Religion cover)
  • Punishment
  • Hold My Own
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