Megadeth have a lot of DVDs on the market now; from video collections and documentaries, to bonus DVDs, to official concerts like this and ‘That One Night,’ and ‘Rust In Peace Live,’ to their segments on multi-band DVDs like Gigantour and The Big Four, as well as what I suspect are unofficial DVD’s like ‘Head Crusher,’ ‘Alive In USA 2008,’ ‘Megadeth Live,’ and ‘Metal Symphonies.’
When choosing a Megadeth DVD then, you really are spoiled for choice. In my opinion this and That One Night are the two best options, which provide longest concerts with the most definitive set lists, also with the best sound and visual qualities.
Rude Awakening finds Megadeth at the end of the first period in their career, just before the break-up and before the reunion which saw the band traveling back into the territory of Thrash Metal once again, after a series of albums in the nineties that explored different territory.
This DVD was filmed in late 2001 and released in 2002 while the band were promoting their The World Needs A Hero album and features the superb and underrated Al Pitrelli on guitar and Jimmy DeGrasso on drums supporting Megadeth stalwarts Dave Ellefson and Dave Mustaine.
The first thing that needs mentioning about the actual DVD is the quality of the camera work, visuals and editing. To this date Rude Awakening is still arguably the finest and most professional video release from Megadeth. Not being filmed outdoors the makers had a great level of precision and control over everything and the stage set up and lighting helped a lot too in making this one of the best looking band DVDs of the era. Almost a decade on and Rude Awakening still looks fantastic.
The track listing is excellent and covers a lot of the fan favourite material from every album the band had released up until that point except Risk. It also contains a healthy amount of material from the then new The World Needs A Hero record which arguably sounds even better live than on record. The band’s 90s era is well served here too, as much as their 80s output and this really is a great all rounder, especially for Megadeth fans who almost like everything the band put out. Tracks like ‘Peace Sells,’ ‘Holy Wars,’ and ‘Mechanix,’ all sit comfortably beside ‘Trust,’ and ‘Reckoning Day,’ in a diverse but very entertaining set.
Some people have problems with the sound, as Dave’s vocals can be too quiet especially when he gets too far from the mic and on the surround sound mix the guitars aren’t apparently handled very well in the first half of the concert. As someone who has listened to the stereo mix for almost a decade I have never had a problem with the sound, in fact I love it. If you yourself play bass or drums you are likely to love the sound mix.
Apart from the mix, the actual recording quality and timbre of the actual individual components are phenomenal, rarely has a drum kit sounded so amazing live. Something well demonstrated during a phenomenal drum solo during She-Wolf.
All of this of course is only the main concert and you still have a brief and entertaining documentary and bonus concert on top of it. Overall; Rude Awakening is definitely something you should check out if you like Megadeth.