Megadeth | Lamb of God | Trivium | Hatebreed – Portland, Oregon – September 4, 2021 – Moda Center

It’s been a long, long, 18 months since the last time I was at a concert. Five hundred and fifty-five days to be exact. The last live concert MIRP attended was KoRn at the Moda Center, February 27, 2020. As a big KoRn fan, I am thankful that I was able to go to that concert. Unknowingly, that would be the last show for over a year. A silver lining to this pandemic is that we are reminded that tomorrow is never promised, life can change and things that we took for granted can be taken away, so we must live each day to the fullest and enjoy the happy moments in life. With that in mind, I did my best to take in every detail I possibly could of the show that evening. 

We arrived at the Moda Center a little over an hour early to show start time and already there is the longest line I have ever seen at this venue that expanded to the side of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It didn’t matter though. We were going to a live concert! Friends that I haven’t seen in over a year find me and we embrace. Oh how I have missed what I consider my Metal Family who are people we primarily see at concerts. These people that you bond with over music, and grow into friendships make events like this all the more special.

Eventually, we get up to the front and in order to get into the show, not only do you need a ticket, be wearing a proper mask, but also proof of a COVID vaccine card or a negative COVID test that was done a couple days prior. Unfortunately, some concert goers did not have the latter so were not able to attend. This is a different world we are all trying to navigate through. Having my vaccine card at the ready though, I must have checked my wallet at least 5 times while waiting in line to make sure I had it, I was in! You couldn’t see it because I was wearing a mask but I was grinning ear to ear. 

So excited I went to find my seat, saw a few more familiar faces and more embraces on my way which just continued to fill my heart. Finding my seat close to stage left, I take a moment, looked around the arena slowly filling and smiled. This is one of my happy places for sure. Being surrounded by people who love metal, who are excited and ready to headbang, sing and throw those horns up to the sky!

First to take the stage is Connecticut’s own, metalcore band Hatebreed! I’ve never seen them live before but they make my playlist for sure for my pre-work drive and bike riding. Let me tell you, Hatebreed set the bar high! The guys practically ran on stage, said “Lets fucking do this” and kicked off their set with ‘Empty Promises’ from their 1997 album Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire and then rolled right into ‘This Is Now’ from 2003’s album The Rise Of Brutality. It was an early start for me on the road of losing my voice singing along to ‘This is Now’, which the lyrics rang some truth for the time we are currently in. Singer Jamey Jasta talks for a minute saying how excited they are to be here, opening for the iconic Megadeth and to be playing for a big audience because usually, if they play a festival they get put on a side stage. (Whoever plans that needs to change where they put Hatebreed because they bring the energy!) He states they want to pay homage to another band that has influenced Hatebreed and helped pave the way for them and that is Slayer, they do a ‘Ghost of War’ cover which in my opinion was amazing! To give an example of how excited the men in Hatebreed were to be there, Jamey takes a moment to I think fulfil a dream he has had for a long time. He gets the audience to start a wave! Yes he points to those sitting in the seats stage left and says ‘I’ve always wanted to do this’ and gets that wave going. I couldn’t stop smiling.  Of course they played their popular ‘Looking Down the Barrel of Today’ and ‘Destroy Everything’ and the pit was perfect. I’ll be sure to not miss Hatebreed the next time they come to Portland. 

Next up was one of my personal favorite bands, hailing from Florida, the heavy metal band Trivium! Even though it pains me to say this because they are one of my favorite bands, I feel like this was not one of Trivium’s best sets. Don’t get me wrong, the music hit hard and was amazing, for some reason the energy just seemed to fizzle a tad. I think this mainly has to do with the fact that Hatebreed just set that bar high for the evening and something musically seemed to be just a little off. Still, Trivium never disappoints in bringing the epicness of heavy metal that fills the stage. Showcasing more of the new music they have recently put out, they start their set with ‘In The Court of the Dragon’ which if the title of the song doesn’t scream epic the music certainly does. Singer Matt Heafy takes a moment to recognize that Trivium has not been to Portland in a few years and actually, the last time Trivium was in Portland, Matt was not because his beautiful twins were being born! (Definitely the best excuse ever to miss some tour dates) That show was at The Crystal Ballroom with Light the Torch and Avatar which Howard Jones and Johannes Eckerstrom respective singers for those bands filled in for Matt. So it was even longer since Matt Heafy took the stage in Portland so he was overjoyed to be here and it showed. Trivium did play one of my personal favorites off their The Sin and the Sentence album, ‘The Heart from Your Hate’ which I sang my heart out to. Trivium ends their set with the ‘oldest’ song on the set list, the heavy hitting ‘In Waves’ from the 2011 album with the same name. Great song to end the set. Trivium is one of those bands that I do my best to not miss every time they come to town. 

Following Trivium was the first headliner, a staple to the heavy metal genre, a band that formed from Virginia in 1994, the mighty Lamb of God! Personally, I’ve seen Lamb of God about 5 times, maybe more and I feel it is not an official Lamb of God show, unless at least one person in the pit is dressed like Jesus. I am not sure if this happens at every Lamb of God show across the United States, but if it doesn’t, it should. So thank you to whomever comes to the shows dressed like Jesus, it is appreciated. Before they took the stage, there was a huge curtain that covered the front with the Lamb of God logo shining on it. The beginning of the single ‘Memento Mori’ from their 2020 album of the same name plays, and right when the heavy starts, a loud boom sounds, the curtain drops, and the men of Lamb of God command the stage! Followed by ‘Ruin’ off that same album, the pit thrashes with the heavy metal heartbeat of the music that Lamb of God delivers. From one heavy hit to the next, ‘Walk with Me in Hell’ not only is a crowd favorite, but Lamb of God brings the pyrotechnics with this song which just adds to the theatrics. Lamb of God’s thought out set list gives us a taste of the heavy hitters from their discography. Every member was giving it their all and putting out the energy that they were receiving from the audience. Randy Blythe especially, with his high jumps and entrancing headbanging with those long dreads, the energy just filled the arena showing us why they are a staple in heavy metal and a headliner. With little to no breaks in between songs, we as fans get all the songs we love. Including ‘Now You’ve Got Something to Die For’, ‘512’, ‘ one of my personal favorites ‘Laid to Rest’ and they ended their set with the 2006 single off Sacrament, ‘Redneck.’ I definitely lost my voice singing along with these songs.

Now to get ready for the iconic, legendary Megadeth! I’ve never seen them before but I do know that they have paved the way for many bands, they should be respected and the music they create has longevity. If you have not heard of Megadeth, you have probably at least heard of Dave Mustaine, the founding father of this legendary band that formed in Los Angeles back in 1983. That was before I graced this Earth but time seems to have been generous to Megadeth. Dave Mustaine’s skill on that guitar is astonishing! The music and technical skill this man can do with a guitar, I feel honored I was able to watch it. A curtain covers the front of the stage again to give us that extra feeling of anticipation and surprise. The curtain drops and the beginning to ‘Hangar 18’ starts as the members slowly take the stage, one by one with the final member being Dave Mustaine. The crowd was so loud that for a moment, I couldn’t hear the amazing music. After a few songs, Dave Mustaine takes a moment to address the crowd saying that he could hear us backstage during the other bands and he wished he was out here with us. He also said that bands come out and ask “How are you doing out there?” and that he isn’t going to do that, instead he said “I am doing good. I feel great. I just wanted you to know that” then says they have a lot of songs they want to share with us and they are just going to get to it. Later, Dave takes a moment to say that he really likes Oregon, it is one of his favorite states. As this is my first time seeing Megadeth, I would say that the musical stylings of Megadeth do differ from the previous bands that opened the show but, even so, listening to Megadeth live, you can tell the influence Megadeth has had in the bands that opened. Inspirational and timeless. Instead of feeling like I wanted to run, sing loud and burst with excitement like I did for Hatebreed, Trivium and Lamb of God. For Megadeth, I just wanted to watch and admire it. Of course there were many times that the horns flew up, head banging was necessary and the overall environment was to be taken in. We even were graced with the sighting of Vic Rattlehead. The Megadeth mascot that embodies the phrase “see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil.” Because Megadeth has been around since 1983, their catalog of picking the right songs for a set list was huge. We did get to hear the greats such as ‘Tornado of Souls’, the classic ‘Symphony of Destruction’, ‘Peace Sells’ and Megadeth ended their set with ‘Holy Wars.. The Punishment Due.’

Each band that came on stage that evening took a moment to acknowledge that they were all happy to be there, they were happy we were all there, they wanted us all to be safe, and thanked the other bands. Every member of the bands that played tonight, were just as excited to be there as we were. Even though masks covered the faces of the concert goers, you could tell people were smiling. Just happy to be doing something ‘normal’ and to be around people that share the love of metal. I for one will not take another concert for granted again. I sang along, head banged, took selfies, threw my horns up, I didn’t care if I looked silly, forgot the words to songs, I was just so excited to be there. If you’ve made it this far into reading this review, I commend you and thank you. I had a lot to say because I missed this so. Long live metal!


Photos by Jer Dimes