When fans gathered to watch Megadeth take the stage at Wacken Open Air yesterday, there had been hints that something exciting was going to happen during the band’s set. In a not-so-subtle Instagram post, Dave Mustaine said the band had a “special surprise” along with a a photo of himself and former Megadeth axeman Marty Friedman from when they shared a stage in Japan back in February.
The guitarist stuck around for three songs in total near the end of Megadeth’s set, ripping through the Cryptic Writings single “Trust,” the Rust in Peace classic “Tornado of Souls,” and the Countdown to Extinction hit “Symphony of Destruction.”
As you may recall, this is actually the second time this year that Friedman’s joined Mustaine and company on stage, with the first time being when the band played the Budokan in Tokyo back in February. Much like his appearance yesterday, he stuck around to play three songs and that was that.
Friedman was a member of Megadeth from 1990 to 2000 and was featured in some absolutely iconic albums: Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia, Hidden Treasures (EP), Cryptic Writings, and Risk.
Ever since his reunion with the back this past February, Friedman’s talked about that experience. In one interview with Guitar World, he admitted that the toughest thing about getting on stage with the band is remembering his solos and performing them well.
“If there was any challenge at all, I guess it would be playing the solos the way the fans remember them, which is something I wanted to do. My playing has evolved so much since those songs came out, and there are so many nuances I would naturally do differently now.
“I had to resist the urge to play it like I would in 2023 and stick to the original way. For example, in a couple of those songs, I entered the solo on the downbeat, with the first note being the root of the chord. I would definitely avoid both of those things now, but apparently, I was fine with it back then.”
Who knows if we’ll see this happen again sometime in the future? Given Mustaine’s track record in dealing with his former bandmates, any positive outcome is definitely a welcome change of pace. Then again, Mustaine did recently say Friedman’s “the only one that’s ever amounted to anything,” so maybe it’s not much of a stretch after all.