Megadeth, Stone Temple Pilots (War Babies) at the Lane County Fairgrounds 02/17/1993
My pal Jerry and my then girlfriend Nancy attended this show together. Jerry had just gotten out of the marines and was driving some crappy old red car from the '70s. The doors didn't lock so he secured the vehicle by pulling the buttons out of the handles. I rode to the show in the back seat where he had miscellaneous MREs scattered about. I went wearing just a t-shirt because I knew it would be hot once we were inside. We got there early enough that we had to stand in line. Being the middle of February it was fairly cold outside and we had to huddle up in line to stay warm.
Nancy was really excited to see the Stone Temple Pilots as she was a fan of "Sex Type Thing" which was their big breaking single at the time. When they came out they really sucked bad. I couldn't believe how terrible they were. After the third song or so they said something along the lines of, "Thank you, we are the War Babies!" and it became clear that they weren't STP at all. If you ever have the opportunity to see the War Babies in concert, realize that it is not an opportunity and rent a movie instead. Apparently STP were having problems with Scott Weiland and his heroin abuse even then and had cancelled many dates on the tour. It was disappointing but I didn't really care since I was primarily there to see Megadeth anyway.
After the War Babies things started to get really packed. We were trying to work our way to the front of the crowd so we could be really close. Nancy managed to get right up to the front row next to the barrier and there was one row of people between us. I asked the guy in front of me if he could let me by so I could stand next to her. "I'll let you have any spot but mine" was his reply. I have no clue what the heck that is supposed to mean but he certainly didn't budge an inch in any direction. By the time Megadeth came out to start their set I had been pushed back a row or so.
As tightly packed as it was, as soon as Megadeth began playing, things went insane and the crowd pressed in even tighter. Half way through the first song I looked at Nancy and she was in miserable shape. She had dark lines down both cheeks from where the intense amount of sweat was making her makup run. It also looked as though she was screaming in pain. By the time the second song started, she was hurting so much that she got the security guards to pull her out over the barrier. Her legs were pinned by the crowd so she rotated around to face the crowd and brought her knee up into the pinning guy's chin, which allowed the security guards to pull her free. I had no idea where they would take her, I honestly thought she might be going out on a stretcher, she looked close to death. I frantically tried to get forward to follow her out. It was no use. The crowd was just to tightly packed. Jerry was right next to me and saw what I was trying to do. He pointed to indicate he was going to put me up so I could crowd surf up to the front but that was also too diffficult with how packed in we were. There was a huge guy on the other side of me and Jerry tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Help me get him up!" With a linebacker on one side and a fresh marine on the other, it was easy for them to hoist my 120 pound frame up over the crowd. In fact it was so easy that I pretty much just flew up into the air right over all the rows in front of me. A observative security guard saw me flying through the air and effortlessly caught me under the armpits and set me down. "Where'd she go?" I screamed. I doubt he heard what I said due to the volume but he motioned toward the right side of the stage, probably just telling me to get moving. I ran that direction and just as I exited that side of the barrier I saw Nancy crashed against the wall. I went over to her and she was beaten up a bit, but generally ok. I let her rest there for a song or so until she felt ready to stand again. At that time we decided to find a place to stand closer to the back.
We enjoyed the next few songs quite a bit. One thing that was sad during their performance was right when Marty Friedman came forward to play the guitar solo in "Hangar 18." He started into it just like he was at home practicing, no emotion whatsoever. About two seconds into it he got this look on his face like, "Oh crap, I'm at a show," at which time he started headbanging like it was the last solo he'd ever play. It was both hilarious and very lame at the same time.
The next main part of my memory of this show is one of the most surreal things I've ever seen at a concert. One second we are standing there enjoying Megadeth's live performance, then a mere instant later, it was like Megadeth were simply gone and instead there were about thirty people on the stage with about half the people beating the crap out of the other half. What had happened was the barrier broke and people started mobbing the stage. The people who were mobbing the stage were receiving the smackdown from the security force who were following them up there. The effect is perhaps hard to imagine and just as hard to describe accurately. Just imagine a film camera pointed at the stage filming a concert. Then the same camera films a riot on that stage. They take the two pieces of film to the editing room, cut them in half in the middle, and splice the two ends together. That was what it was like. One frame, you see the band playing, the next instant, the stage is just crawling with people beating the crap out of each other. An announcer came out once the stage was under control. He informed us that the barrier had broken which created a very unsafe situation. He explained that "Mr. Mustaine" himself didn't want anyone hurt and was cancelling the rest of the show to avoid any injuries. I got the feeling that Dave Mustaine probably had nothing to do with the cancelling of the rest of the show but that was that. Show over.
If you watch the VH1 Behind the Music special featuring Megadeth, you will hear them talk about that show. Marty Friedman describes beaing able to hear the barrier break and how it sounded like a very loud CRACK! Dave Mustaine then goes on to explain that he went out to his bus at that point and swallowed a bunch of pills. He passed out and they rushed him to the hospital where he died, and was resuscitated. Right here in Eugene, Oregon, at Sacred Heart General Hospital (where I later worked for a few years), Dave Mustaine died. Watch the VH1 special, it's available on DVD. Or just ask me to play it for you next time you're at my house ;)