The heavy metal giants forever fronted by singer, guitarist and co-founder Dave Mustaine released Unplugged in Boston last week, previously only available to fan club members, from a live 2001 radio broadcast in a fully stripped down 10-song 45 minute set that by all means shows incredible musical depth beyond the headbanging chords that carry the band’s fully plugged in songs.
Recorded at Bill’s Bar in Boston, MA and hosted by radio station WAAF, Unplugged in Boston introduced Megadeth’s new album (at the time) The World Needs a Hero from which the band played three songs. Well-rehearsed and constructed, every song kept the base of the original, delivered the same intention but in a wholly different metal experience that probably gave those in attendance a once in a lifetime memory barely translated after the fact.
Mustaine boasts some pretty stellar vocals on this release maybe because he doesn’t need to compete with the meat of drums and electric guitars. He probably won’t got down in history as one of the all-time great metal singers, but Mustaine’s natural vocal ability really stands out with some serious range on “Time: The Beginning” and “Use the Man” and even better acoustic guitar licks for “Dread and the Fugitive Mind,” “Almost Honest,” “She-Wolf” and the all-time Megadeth classic “Symphony of Destruction.”
Unfortunately, Mustaine and the crew (including guitarist Al Pitrelli and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso) cut it short for “Holy Wars” which felt like it was just getting started before blending right into “Almost Honest.” But, you just might listen to the version of “Trust” on this album as much as the regular version from 1997’s Cryptic Writings as well as “Time: The Beginning” from 1999’s Risk. In addition to his dynamic bass lines, band co-founder Dave Ellefson contributes a few prominent background vocals that compliment Mustaine while adding a welcome layer to songs like “She-Wolf” and the Alice Cooper sounding “Moto Psycho.” None of the aforementioned three remain with Megadeth.
A fun, quick-paced record, that sounds raw and authentic – even emotional sometimes – Unplugged in Boston proves a deeper profundity to Megadeth even if the previous 15, and forthcoming 16th studio album, fails to sway. Megadeth and heavy metal in general don’t hold a wide audience reach, but give Unplugged in Boston a listen because you just might get a new perspective beyond the typical stereotype.
Megadeth Unplugged in Boston Songs:
- Dread and the Fugitive Mind
- Time: The Beginning
- Use the Man
- Holy Wars: The Punishment Due
- Almost Honest
- Moto Psycho
- Symphony of Destruction