Gigantour 2 [DVD]
Image Entertainment (4/22/08)
“Gigantour is the spirit of heavy metal captured in a festival. It was about people going there, and the musicians being treated with respect, and an audience feeling like they’ve been treated with respect. And everybody walking away—the entertainers and the entertained all in agreement that it was a great environment.”
With Ozzfest down to one show this year, Gigantour seems a worthy successor to be the summer festival to carry the torch of metal to the masses. While on face value there appears little difference between the two tours, Ozzfest tried to pack a lot of bang for the buck, shoehorning more than a dozen bands into the course of a single head-banging day. Many a year it seemed quantity ruled over quality, though with so many bands from which to choose, concertgoers still got their money’s worth in the end.
Gigantour, on the other hand, always seems to value quality above quantity. The 2006 incursion featured eight bands, including headliners Megadeth and Lamb of God (who shared top billing). Rounding out the tour was a mix of classics, rookies and thrash galore. Unknowns The Smashup and Sanctity shared the stage with Into Eternity and Arch Enemy, new legends Opeth and the legendary Overkill.
“The spirit of Gigantour is based around guitar playing.”
The Gigantour 2 DVD collection is a mixed bag of sorts, and is split into two sections: concert footage and a behind-the-scenes documentary. (While the runtime is 66 minutes on the DVD, it runs closer to two hours taking into account both parts of the disc.)
First the playlist: he early openers get a track each (“Effigy” from The Smashup, “Beneath the Machine” from Sanctity and “Severe Emotional Distress” from Into Eternity). Everyone else gets two songs, except for Opeth (whose “The Leper Affinity” runs nearly 10 minutes and is the only featured track for them) and Megadeth (who get three, with “Take No Prisoners”, “The Scorpion” and “Washington Is Next!”).
The sound is superbly mixed, offered in full surround (there are a couple of times where the drums sneak into the rear speakers and fully envelope the listener). And everything is presented in widescreen—the colors are sharp and the blacks solid (no pixels here).
The special feature (read: aforementioned behind-the-scenes documentary) is almost as long as the music presented. There are interviews with each band on a variety of topics, while everything is held together by Mustaine as he talks about the concept of Gigantour and offers plenty of stories and tales from the tour. There’s also some nice stuff mixed in about setting up and interviews with others associated with the production (merchandisers and various techs).
And now for the negatives.
First and foremost, the director is a maniac. There’s constant cutting from camera to camera, which makes sense during, say, the strobes during Overkill’s set. But it’s almost constant for the whole show, so you can never focus on anything (“Well, there’s the guitarist… no, the bassist… no, the drummer… no, the singer… the audience… the singer…” and so on). Then, they discover split-screen technology somewhere in the middle of Megadeth’s set, and we then get that feature being used ad nauseum.
There’s issue with censoring some, but not all, of the material on the DVD. Almost every other word is faded out when Lamb of God tries to get a circle pit started (and the camera never even shows the pit?!), but nothing is edited out of later interview segments, and an explicit Megadeth track is left intact. It’s a small point, but very noticeable and annoying.
After that, the play list itself is a little questionable. There’s no flow or cohesiveness to the disc because songs were picked at random and a fade is used to transition each track. (I’m more of a fan of complete concerts, or at least chunks of live performance, for what it’s worth.)
“Severe Emotional Distress” is a fantastic song, but I’m thinking that Into Eternity had to have done something a little more accessible for this type of collection. And what’s with “The Leper Affinity” for Opeth? The band had to have done “Ghosts of Perdition” during the set.
“Vigil” and “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For” were nice picks for Lamb of God, but the CD version of this collection features “Redneck”, too. Surely there had to be room for one more track.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not all negative. Arch Enemy tear up the stage with “We Will Rise” and “Nemesis”, and Overkill’s “Rotten to the Core” is a raucous number.
As a bonus, Megadeth’s “Peace Sells” is also included as a bonus feature, but why not include it on the proper set, especially when it features the entire tour lineup joining the band onstage for the end of the song?
So, to sum up, while this isn’t a perfect package, it’s easy to overlook the bad when there’s enough good to enjoy. What is included here is presented in a nice package, the sound is clean and clear, the picture is fantastic and overall it offers a nice glimpse into the tour (something that we never got from Ozzfest, apart from the 10th anniversary set). Mustaine puts a lot into putting this tour together each year, and if it doesn’t become a bloated form of itself with a temporary corner on the market, and the same thought process and decision making goes into putting together the tour each year, Gigantour will most certainly continue to leave a mark on metal fans.
Tags: Lamb of God, Megadeth