Megadeth reunited with lead guitarist Marty Friedman, who played on the group’s platinum and multiplatinum Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction albums, among others, during their performance at Tokyo’s famed Budokan venue on Monday night. He joined the band toward the end of the set, which was livestreamed, for renditions of the deep cuts “Countdown to Extinction” and “Tornado of Souls,” as well as one of the group’s biggest hits, “Symphony of Destruction.”
Playing alongside Megadeth’s current lead guitarist, Kiko Loureiro, Friedman replicated his acrobatic, fiery solos note for note on each track. The group opened the segment of the set with a video of Friedman playing in the band before launching into “Countdown,” which featured the guitarists harmonizing the backing melodies. “Ladies and gentlemen,” frontman Dave Mustaine told the crowd, “please welcome my dear friend, Marty Friedman.” For “Symphony,” Mustaine chose to sing into a mic on the side of the stage to give Friedman more of a spotlight. The two musicians hugged at the song’s end before Friedman exited the stage.
Mustaine announced the reunion a couple of weeks back in an exclusive Rolling Stone interview. “When Marty said, ‘Hey, I can play at this gig,’ I thought, ‘This is so magnificent,’” he said. “It’s gonna be so much fun to get Kiko and Marty together, because they’re both geniuses on guitar. So this is like a gigantic birthday and Christmas present for me.”
“It has been a long time — 23 years to be exact since I’ve been on the same stage with Dave Mustaine making music,” Friedman said in a statement. “We’ve both taken drastically different paths since then. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m extremely proud of the part that I played in Megadeth’s history and legacy. I’m also very, very proud of the band’s many great achievements and continued success in my absence. For right now, I just feel immense joy and some serious adrenaline. I am looking forward to playing with Megadeth at this very cool place, the Budokan.”
Since exiting Megadeth over creative differences, Friedman went on to become a celebrity in Japan, appearing on hundreds of television shows there. He recently became a Japan Heritage ambassador and composed and performed “Japan Heritage Official Theme Song.”
Megadeth livestreamed the Budokan concert, which featured a career-spanning set list, with rebroadcasts planned for different time zones. The pay-per-view event will also be available on demand for a couple of days following the performance.